Mistakes

Why Make All the Mistakes, When We Can Learn from Others?

There are “tried-and–true” networking techniques that are so simplistic they seem that they cannot be really effective.  Many times, we try to re-evaluate, improve upon and complicate them.  Why make all the mistakes, when we can learn from others? An experience I had once while on vacation reminds me of how we try to make some things harder than they really are.

I was in Hawaii enjoying the surf when, unbeknownst to me, the water became thick with Portuguese Man O’War jellyfish.  Suddenly I felt a stinging sensation across my chest.  I wiped my chest with my right wrist and arm and lifted my arm up out of the water.  I saw the tentacles dripping off my arm and followed them with my eyes about 8 feet away to the body of the Man O’War jellyfish.   With mounting alarm, I shook the tentacles off my wrist back into the water and quickly swam out of the surf to the shore.

I ran up to the first hotel employee I saw, a cabana boy, who was serving drinks to a sunbathing couple just off the pool deck and urgently exclaimed, “I think I’ve just been hit in the chest by a Man O’War jellyfish!  What should I do??”

“Are you feeling any pressure in your chest?” he wanted to know.

“No, none at all,” I replied anxiously.

“Okay, okay, here’s what you need to do.  Go on over to the market off the lobby and ask for some vinegar and meat tenderizer.  You’re going to want to spray the vinegar onto your chest. Shake the meat tenderizer onto the same spot and rub it all around.  You’ll be fine,” he assured me.

Well, I must say that I was less than impressed with this bizarre advice.  He was entirely too calm and that was entirely too easy to be a real solution – not to mention that it was just plain strange.  I figured he was doing a version of “let’s goof on the tourist,” so I moved on to ask someone else for help.

I spotted a hotel employee standing not too far off and gingerly jogged over to him, urgently repeating my exclamation, “I’ve just been hit in the chest by a Man O’War jellyfish; what should I do?!”

He said, “Are you feeling any pressure in your chest?”  Oh boy, I thought, next he’s going to tell me to get some meat tenderizer!  I thought he was kidding, or maybe I was in a bad dream and just couldn’t wake up.

“No, I’m not feeling any pressure in my chest,” I reluctantly responded.

“Okay, then go over to the market off the lobby and ask for some vinegar and meat tenderizer.  You have to get that on your chest and rub it around and then you’ll be just fine,” he said reassuring.  I felt anything but reassured.

By this time, I thought that maybe I better find someone who might really know what to do.  I headed up to the lobby, thinking that the hotel manager would be a good choice to get a straight answer from.

There at the front desk was a mature gentleman wearing a badge that read: “Hotel Manager.”  Surely, I thought, this guy’s not going to “goof on the tourist.”  I walked up to him and repeated my mantra about the jellyfish strike.  He looked at me with grave concern and said, “Are you feeling any pressure in your chest.”  “No,” I replied, “I’m not feeling any chest pain.”  “OK, good,” he said.  “You need to go down the hall to the small market and get some vinegar and meat tenderizer and put them on one at a time and rub them thoroughly into your chest.”

Finally, I said what I’d been thinking all along… “You can’t be serious, right?”  This is a joke, right?”  “No,” he reassured me this was not a joking matter.  “You need to proceed to the store immediately and apply the remedy.”

Reluctantly, I headed down the hall to the store just knowing that they were all back there laughing at the goofy tourist who was actually going to do a self-imposed “meat rub” on his chest.  I was sure they had some barbecue grill going for when I returned to the lobby all slathered up with vinegar and meat tenderizer.

Entering the small market off the lobby, I  started my search for char-grilled products when I started feeling short of breath.  Suddenly, very quickly and forcefully, I began to experience a crushing weight on my chest.  Was I having a heart attack?  Great!  I’m having a coronary after wasting so much time talking to members of the hotel staff, who were trying to get me to rub meat tenderizer on my chest.  I walked out of the store and staggered to the front desk, which by now was very busy with new guests checking in to the hotel.  I made eye contact with the hotel manager and almost immediately, dropped to the ground, clutching my chest, barely able to gasp “Man O’War!”

What happened next was a total blur.  I seem to remember a small child yelling and pointing at me as I lay there in my bathing suit, gasping for breath.

“Look mommy, there’s a man on the floor.”  The mother said something about staying away from people who do drugs.  I looked over and tried to say no, not drugs – jellyfish! But all that came out was gibberish.

The paramedics rushed to the scene.  Finally, I will be receiving the medical attention I needed. After determining what had happened, the paramedic opened his life-saving kit and I knew he was about to pull out a defibrillator.  I made my peace with God and I braced myself for the big jolt.  Instead, he pulled out – yes, you guessed it – vinegar in a spray bottle and some Adolf’s meat tenderizer!  He then proceeded to spray the vinegar and then sprinkle the meat tenderizer on my chest, and thoroughly rub the mixture around.  Within seconds, literally seconds, the excruciating pain began to subside.  Within a couple minutes, it was almost completely gone.

What I thought was a big “barbeque joke” on the tourist turns out to be a well-known cure for some jellyfish strikes.  You see, the meat tenderizer contains the enzyme papain, which breaks down the toxin proteins and neutralizes them.  It sounds too simple to be really effective, but it is, in fact, one of the best things to do in that situation.

Thinking back on it, I am amazed at how many people gave me the solution before I had to learn the hard way.  Sure, who’s going to believe a cabana boy?  I mean, what does he know, right?  And the hotel employee – OK, maybe there’s the start of a pattern here but, I have a doctoral degree – I’m “smart,” and these guys have just got to be kidding me… right?  And then the hotel manager as well… OK, I admit it, at that point, there’s just no excuse.  Why did I not figure out these guys knew what they were talking about and I did not?

Do not make one of the biggest mistakes that people in business make. Listen to the people who have experience.  I assumed that I just had to know better… and the truth is, I didn’t know better.

There is nothing like experience.  It beats education every day of the week.  The only thing better is a combination of education and experience… or a willingness to learn from other people’s experience. There are many basic referral marketing and networking techniques that any good businessperson knows to be effective.  They don’t try to look for something more complicated or involved because they know from their own experience, as well as the experience of others, what works in business and what doesn’t work in business.

Throughout your life, you may read things that seem too simple to be effective. Ideas that you’ve heard before.  Don’t dismiss them.  Embrace them.  Although these ideas may be simple – they are not easy.  If it they were easy, everyone would do them – and they don’t!  Great networkers learn from other people’s success.  So, go get that vinegar and meat tenderizer and learn from other “masters” that sometimes the simplest ideas can have the biggest impact.

BNI is 33 years old TODAY!

BNI® is 33 years old Today!

BNI is 33 years old TODAY! The official kick-off of the first BNI group was January 8th, 1985.

33 years ago, I put together about 20 people in a small coffee shop in Arcadia, California for the very first meeting of BNI® (Business Network International).  Furthermore, the original organization, “The Network”, was run from a small bedroom which was converted into an office inside my house in La Verne, California. I recognized back then that I had struck a chord within the business community.  We don’t teach networking in colleges and universities anywhere in the world, and business people are hungry for referrals. They simply had no viable way to generate them regularly back in 1985.

In some ways, it seems like yesterday.

BNI is 33 years old Today!

Please watch my special 33rd birthday message video by clicking here.

In light of BNI’s 33rd anniversary, I share the story of BNI’s surprisingly accidental beginnings. Furthermore, I open up about my astonishment at just how successful BNI has become. A must-watch video for BNI members worldwide!

What are you going to do today, that your future self will thank you for?

Please answer this question in the comments below.

christmas

Merry Misner Christmas

I hope you take a few minutes to watch and enjoy this video. I shared a fond memory from one specific Christmas in the Misner family that really stands out in my mind. When I watch this video, it makes me shake my head and smile all at once.  I really had fun recording this. I got to reminisce a bit and furthermore reflect on the joys, the stresses, and all the wonderful, challenging, unforgettable, and irreplaceable memories that are made each year by families around the globe during the holiday season.

A Merry Misner Christmas Video

With this video, I’m taking a break from my regular educational business/referral marketing videos. I’m taking a few minutes to spread some holiday cheer and wish a very Merry Christmas to those around the globe who take part in observing Christmas Day.

On behalf of Beth, myself and the entire Misner family, we wish you a Christmas full of joy and hope. May your heart be filled with the joy of giving. It is the “Givers Gain” expression of the love in your heart and the kindness in your soul.

I hope this video stirs up some great holiday memories for you and if you’d like to share any of your standout funny, heartwarming, entertaining or unforgettable family holiday-time stories, I’d love to hear them–please share them in the comment forum below.  Thanks!

Merry Christmas to all from the Misner family!

quality

While Quantity is Important, Quality is King in Networking

The more people you meet at an event, the more successful your networking efforts are–and that’s simply not the case.  Instead, the quality of the connections you form is much more significant than the quantity of connections you make.

Networking is not a numbers game.  It’s more like a people puzzle.  It’s about building relationships with the close people in your network.  That means that it’s about finding ways to interconnect the relationships you have to build a powerful personal network.  In order to do that – you actually have to have a fair number of quality relationships in that sea of contacts.

If your network is a mile wide and an inch deep, it will never be successful.

Instead, your network needs to be both wide and – in places, deep.  That is, you need to have a wide set of contacts but some of those need to be connections that go deep.  Therefore, the quality of your network is just as important, if not more important than the quantity of your network.  This doesn’t mean that quantity isn’t important.  It is important.  The thing is that a small network of quality people limits your success.  However, a large network with multiple quality relationships makes for a much more powerful, personal network.

It is a little like your left hand and your right hand.  Both are really important. But one is generally stronger, more powerful, and generally used more than the other. You can’t accomplish what you want as easily without both.  However, one is the stronger hand.  This is similar to the quantity vs. quality argument in networking.

Click here to listen to a personal story about this comparison

I believe that it is NOT, what you know, or who you know – it’s how well you know each other that counts.

Strong relationships take simple “contacts” and turn them into powerful “connections.”  It doesn’t really matter if I have an amazing database of people with many phone numbers.  What really matters is if I can pick up the phone and ask some of them for a favor and they take my call then are willing to do that favor.

Who's In Your Story

Who’s In Your Story?

I share a personal story about someone who has impacted my life, my high school football coach, Art Hiett.

Click here to watch this video

Who’s In Your Story?

A BNI Foundation-USA Video Contest!

WHO: When you were growing up, did you have an adult (teacher, coach, mentor, NOT immediate family) who significantly influenced your life? Then, we at the BNI Foundation want to hear from YOU!
 
WHY: We want you to share your story with us so we can share it with the world so people will see and hear the huge impact that adults can have on kids!
 
WHAT: So, tell us in a 1 minute or less video, about the person who inspired you, possibly even changed the trajectory of your life when you were between age 6 and graduating from high school. We especially welcome stories in which a small gesture or action made a big difference, showing how easy it can be to help our youth, without always spending a ton of time over many years. It does NOT need to be professionally filmed or edited. Just grab your phone and press record.
 
WHEN: May 18 – June 15, 2017
 
WHERE: U.S., Email your video contest submissions to: marketing@bnifoundation.org
 
– Subject Line should read: Who’s In Your Story? Video Contest
– Email should include:
  • Name
  • Location
  • Video (1 minute or less) embedded or attached
  • Link to Google Docs/Drive platform for downloading video
 
HOW: (RULES): All submissions must:
– Be NO more than 1 minute long
– State, at start of video, your name & location (city & state)
– Be received by 11:59 pm (Eastern Time) on June 15, 2017
– Be a spoken testimonial of how this special person positively influenced your life
– Include a signed photo release consent form (downloadable here)
 
BONUS WHY: (PRIZES): 3 Overall Winners
– 1st prize – 2 days in Austin, TX for winner + 1 guest (1 day to be spent with Ivan & Beth Misner), including airfare and hotel!
– 2nd prize – $75 Amazon Gift Card
– 3rd prize – $50 Amazon Gift Card

 

Seuss

Dr. Seuss’ Birthday – NEA Read Across America Day

Today, March 2nd is the birthday of Dr. Seuss.

Today the BNI Foundation is supporting the National Education Association’s “Read Across America Day”. Therefore, go find a classroom and volunteer to read a Dr. Seuss story to the students. For example, in this video, I share a story about reading to my kids when they were younger, the Dr. Seuss classic, “And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street“.

Dr. Seuss’s very first book for children! 

Originally published: December 21, 1937

From a mere horse and wagon, young Marco concocts a colorful cast of characters, making Mulberry Street the most interesting location in town. Most noteworthy, Dr. Seuss’s signature rhythmic text, combined with his unmistakable illustrations, will appeal to fans of all ages. Finally, who will cheer when our hero proves that a little imagination can go a very long way. Now over eighty years old, this story is as timeless as ever.

My First Business

My First Business, a personal story

Beth and I own a property management company (this would be a good story to share someday). We’re in Galveston setting up a new property for lease. Therefore, we were walking through a Home Depot to get what we needed to make the property ready to lease. We were walking by these house numbers and out of the blue, she started this video about my first business.

As a 14-year-old, I started my first company to help a neighbor sell his stick-on house numbers he manufactured. I took over his sales of reflective numbers and I hired a sales team. However, I did so well, I made him tired and he consequently went out of business

Please watch this video about how I eventually launched my entrepreneur spirit by the numbers.

Chernobyl Cheese

Chernobyl Cheese – defined as cheese that can survive a nuclear disaster.

I’ve been wanting to write about my “Chernobyl Cheese” experience for a while now. Since my wife and I are currently working on the final draft of our Misner Plan recipe book, I thought this might be a good time.

Back in 2013, we transitioned from our home in Southern California to a home in Austin, Texas. In late 2014, we moved all of our remaining furnishings out of the Southern California home. I checked the contents of the refrigerator to make sure it was empty. Much to my surprise, I discovered a small, opened (but resealed shut) bag of sliced cheese which had been sitting in the back of a drawer in the refrigerator for a year! An entire year!!! The “sell by” date was September 7, 2013!

I thought to myself, “don’t look at it – it’s going to be a petri dish in a bag.” I need to go out and get an HAZMAT suit before I handle this infectious item. But, I couldn’t help myself, and I peeked. I was expecting to spontaneously utter some line out of Apocalypse Now like… “The horror, the horror.” But, instead, to my surprise – the cheese looked great! Not a single fungal-like substance to be seen. Actually, it looked as fresh as the day we bought it.

How could that possibly be? Real cheese doesn’t hold-up in a refrigerator for a year – even if it is in a zip-sealed bag. The answer – processed food is not real food. It may have some food-like ingredients but it certainly doesn’t behave like real food does. Real food typically doesn’t last in a fridge for more than a year. One of the fundamental elements of the Misner Plan is: “Eat real food.”

For those of you following my journey into health, be on the lookout for our upcoming book: Healing Begins in the Kitchen, which should be released in a few months.

We seriously considered naming the book “Cure Yourself Before You Kill Yourself,” but the lawyers didn’t approve of that title!

I’d love to hear your food- or health-related stories. Comment below.

monorail

Technology and My 8-Year-Old Self

It was a crowded day at the Toronto airport as I was walking to my gate recently. On the way, I heard a soft but steady swooshing sound coming up behind me. I looked up to see a red monorail drive on by above me. I immediately had a monumental flashback to my first visit to Disneyland circa 1964. I was roughly 8 years old and was in awe of all the amazing things that I witnessed, most of which was in of the Tomorrowland exhibits.

monorail

The Disney monorail was the first daily operating monorail in the United States. In my flashback to my early visit to the park, I remembered wondering if something like this would ever be commonplace. It was amazing to see it operating in Toronto and going right through the building much like it did in Tomorrowland many years ago.

As I stood there watching the monorail go on by, I realized that during that same visit (or one soon after), I also spent time gawking at the first ‘push button’ telephones and first ‘touch screen’ computer monitor (it had 9 sections and all you could do was play tic tac toe). The push button phones transitioned into daily use in the following decade but the touch screen technology took many more years to become commonplace.

It makes me want to go back to Disneyland to see what the future holds for the next generation. What technology did you first see at a Disney Park or World Fair? I’d love to hear about your experience.

Halloween

In celebration of Halloween, I’d like to share a “scary” networking experience I heard about from a friend:

 There are many ways that I’ve seen networking partners abuse the relationship, but the following “scary”story is absolutely one of the most glaring examples of this situation. 
 
A woman I know was invited to attend a Halloween costume party of an associate who used to belong to a networking group in which she also participated.  They once had a long-term working relationship, and so out of respect, she decided to dress up and attend.  When she got to the door, she looked through the window and noticed that people were arranged in a semi-circle listening to a presenter in front of an easel board.   When she stepped in, it was very obvious that the “party-goers” were being recruited for a business opportunity.  As resentful as the woman felt, she and other mutual friends found it difficult to remove themselves from the “Halloween party” despite the fact that the only refreshment being served was the company’s pumpkin spice diet shake!  
 
Never, ever mislead your networking partners (for that matter – never mislead anyone).  Trust is everything when you are talking about relationship networking.  Inviting these people to a “Halloween party” which turns out to be a business opportunity is not being honest with the very people with whom you want to build a trusting relationship.
 
All of these faux pas directly relate to good people skills.  The prevailing theme of this ghostly tale is to treat your referral partners (or potential referral partners) with professionalism and care.  Make sure to respond to them quickly, don’t treat a networking opportunity like a cold-call, and don’t abuse a networking relationship.  Instead, treat your referral partner like you would a #1 client.  Use networking opportunities to meet people and begin the process of developing a genuine relationship.  Lastly, always network in a way that builds credibility and trust – be candid in telling your referral partners what you need and what you’re asking of them.  Do these things and you’ll help to avoid some serious mistakes in relationship networking.
 
Happy Halloween!

Conquering the Fear of Rejection

Fear is a powerful driver in most people’s lives. It dictates what we take risks on, it makes us hold back, and it even hinders us from reaching our potential.

The fear of rejection is an emotion that many of us carry in our personal lives, but it can very easily seep into our professional one as well. We all come to that nexus point in our lives: we can do something, or we can do nothing. The fear of rejection almost held me back from promoting my book, The World’s Best Known Marketing Secret, because I was worried some book stores wouldn’t want to carry my book. But you know what I realized?

Some will, some won’t–so what?

Watch the video below for more on conquering the fear of rejection.

Better Yourself by Asking Questions

questionNo matter who you are, or what you do, there will always be something that you are not an expert in. As businesspeople, we are always working on honing our craft, profession, and interpersonal skills. Part of this never ending journey to better ourselves is asking questions to those who may be able to help us along the way.

Last week in the BNI Podcast, I started a new segment called “Ask Ivan.” Simply by emailing in, listeners of my podcast will be able to submit any question they would like to hear me answer. Shortly after launching the new segment, it occurred to me that podcast listeners aren’t the only ones who may have interesting questions. Readers on IvanMisner.com are just as likely to have burning educational questions.

Whether you have a specific question about referral marketing, would like me to discuss a segment from one of my books, or are curious about anything networking related, your question could be featured in a future blog or vlog.

As networking evolves, the questions on the minds of businesspeople around the world evolve, too.  That being said, be sure to send in your questions to askivan@bni.com and include your city and country. There is no such thing as a stupid question!

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