Promote from Within

In this video, I explain how it can benefit both business owners and employees when business owners promote existing employees from within the company whenever possible as opposed to hiring outside individuals to fill higher positions.

In almost 30 years of running my international networking organization, BNI®, I have largely taken the approach of hiring new employees to fill lower level positions and then promoting them over time to higher and higher positions. To exemplify how this has proven beneficial, I tell the story of an employee I hired over twenty years ago as a receptionist who is now the third highest ranking executive in my company.

I firmly believe that actively looking for opportunities to promote people from within a company not only increases morale within the entire company, it also motivates employees to grow their skills and experience and perform at an increasingly high level.

What is your opinion on promoting from within a company as opposed to hiring from the outside whenever possible?  Do you have a story about an employee or employees you have promoted who have proved to be irreplaceable assets to your business?  I’d love to hear from you so please share your thoughts and experiences in the comment forum below.  Thanks!

Secrets to Success & Business Growth

In January, BNI® (Business Network International), the worldwide referral marketing organization which I founded in 1985, will be celebrating its 30th anniversary.

In light of this, one of the organization’s franchisees incredulously asked me how I’ve managed to consistently keep the company growing each year and how it’s possible that the BNI continues to steadily achieve higher and higher feats of success.

I made this video in answer to this question and in it I outline my secrets to growth and success step by step.  The great thing about what I explain in the video is that you can apply the same business tactics I used to your own business. 

After watching the video, I’d love to hear your thoughts about BNI, the business strategies I discuss, and/or how you are going to use the tactics I outline in your own business.  Please share your thoughts in the comment forum below.  Thanks!

To find out more about BNI, please visit www.BNI.com.

Don’t Make a Mess of Your Message — “Navigating the VCP Process® to Networking” Series

TR Garland (pictured with me in the photo below) is a friend of mine and co-author of one of my most recent #1 best-selling books called Building The Ultimate Network

TR-and-Ivan-Blue-Backgrou
For some time now, we’ve both observed a need to drill down on one of the most important and foundational concepts to networking – The VCP Process®.  A while ago, we started a much-anticipated 12-part series of blog posts which addresses this and contains some very timely information for networkers across the globe. Today, we’re proud to share with you Part 11 of the series. Enjoy.

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DON’T MAKE A MESS OF YOUR MESSAGE
(Part 11 of 12 of the “Navigating The VCP Process® To Networking” Series)

In Part 1, Part 2, Part 3 , Part 4, and Part 5 of this series, we introduced and re-introduced the concept and steps of The VCP Process® to Networking for our readers through brief anecdotes, relevant comparisons, and sometimes even humorous situations. For Parts 6 and 7 we even shared with you video trainings from the both of us.

In Part 8, we suggested some behaviors that you can use on a weekly basis to increase the number of referrals you receive. And, as a result, we got a couple phone calls complimenting us about how that particular blog post clearly outlined what type of behaviors a successful networker should be practicing on a weekly and monthly basis – and we were asked to provide more. We fulfilled that request in Part 9.

And, in Part 10, we addressed that ‘Mindset’ has as much to do with your success in networking as ‘Skillset’.

Today, we’re going to build upon all of the varying topics and techniques we’ve used to help you understand how best to Navigate The VCP Process® To Networking.

Let’s begin by asking you a very important question–What is the MOST famous speech in the history of the United States?  (Yes…we understand that many of our readers are internationally-based. We appreciate that very much. With that said, please bear with us and you too will be pleasantly surprised by the end of this post at what you’re about to learn.)

Okay. Now back to the question. What’s the MOST famous speech in the history of the United States?  Anyone? . . . Anyone?  Was it President John F. Kennedy (i.e., JFK) in which he said, “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.”?  Was it Dr. Martin Luther King (i.e. MLK) in which he said, “I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up, live out the true meaning of its creed: ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal’.”?  Or, was it Abraham Lincoln (i.e. Abe) in the Gettysburg Address in which he said, “Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.”?  Have your voting ballots been placed? Are you ready for the answer?

Well, it was the Gettysburg Address by Abraham Lincoln. Yep, the Gettysburg Address.The SECOND most famous speech was Dr. Martin Luther King’s “I Have A Dream” and the THIRD most famous speech was John F. Kennedy’s “Ask Not What Your Country Can Do For You”.

Now, here are another 3 questions for you:  How long was MLK’s speech?  It was 1,651 words.  How long was JFK’s Inaugural Address on January 20th, 1961?  Well, it was 1,366 words.  How long was the Gettysburg Address? . . . Anyone?  It was only 272 words. It was only 2 minutes long. It was only 10 sentences.  Therefore, one could interpret that it was CLEAR, CONCISE, and COMPELLING. And, by being all three of these, the audience who was listening “got it” the first time Abraham Lincoln delivered his speech.  Did you know that there was actually a Featured Speaker that same day that spoke for over 2 hours? We didn’t. And, most people don’t know that either. His name was Edward Everett and this proves our point today.

So, our recommendation to each and every one of you reading this today is to tell this story to your BNI Chapters, Chambers of Commerce, and other Networking Groups you’re involved in.

We understand that many of you are from a variety of different countries. Yet, this doesn’t matter. It doesn’t dilute the important point that’s been made. After you tell your BNI Chapters, Chamber Members, and others whom you network with this story, let them know that you are going to work with everybody to make sure that their “messaging” is CLEAR, CONCISE, and COMPELLING.  Because, if it’s not…it simply won’t be as effective in today’s networking environments.

When people are concerned (i.e. fuss and complain) about what to do when the time allotted for their introductions (in BNI they’re called Sales Manager Minutes) gets cut down to 45 or 30 seconds due to a growing group or Chapter….reference this story.  When people are concerned (i.e. fuss and complain) about their Keynote Presentations getting cut down from 12 and 10 minutes to 8 and 6 minutes….reference this story.

In closing, let’s take a very valuable lesson from the History Books. If Abraham Lincoln could make such a difference and be remembered decades & decades later after delivering only 10 sentences, what are YOUR 10 SENTENCES that will make a massive impact on your network?
We thank you for reading today’s post and extend an invitation to be on the lookout for next month’s contribution to this series – Part 12 called “Using Social Media To Navigate The V-C-P Process®.”

 

Networking Is Not a Short Term Strategy

In this video, I talk to my friend, French networking expert Marc-William Attie, about why networking is not a short term strategy and also why the long term commitment that goes along with networking is well worth your while.

Marc demonstrates the value of putting effort into networking by telling the story of an architect who spent three years building relationships with fellow networkers without receiving any significant referrals and then received a referral worth $300,000.00 . . . a payoff that was definitely worth the wait!

Do you have any stories about how your networking efforts have paid off in big ways?  Is so, please share them in the comment forum below.  Thanks!

Treat Loyalty Like Royalty

In this video, my lovely wife Beth brings up a phrase she has often heard me mention in many of my presentations and in various conversations over the years–“Treat Loyalty Like Royalty”–and she asks me to explain what exactly the phrase means to me.  Beth goes on to reveal that she believes just as strongly as I do in the importance of treating people like royalty when they’ve consistently shown you loyalty and commitment in one way or another.

Whether they are employees or people you do business with, if you treat others like royalty when they show you loyalty, your ‘return on investment,’ so to speak will be beyond worth your efforts.  After watching the video, I’d love to hear about some of your experiences where you’ve worked with someone who has been loyal to you and how treating them very well in return has been well worth your efforts . . . or, also, how you worked with someone who you were very loyal to, how they treated you like royalty, and how it paid off for both parties in the long run.  Please share your story/stories in the comment forum below.  Thanks!

New International Networking Week® Video for 2014

The new video for International Networking Week® 2014 has just been released!

This short, six-and-a-half-minute video, sponsored by the Referral Institute, explains how the week of February 3rd-7th, 2014 will bring about great opportunities for businesspeople around the world and increase worldwide awareness about the powerful benefits of business networking. International Networking Week® 2013

2014 will mark the 8th annual celebration of International Networking Week which is now recognized by many countries across the globe, with thousands of events being held during the week. One of the main goals of the week is to help businesspeople everywhere build their networking skills and expand the opportunities within their reach.  In the video, I talk about Stewart Emery’s “Who’s in Your Room?” concept within a networking context and how International Networking Week presents a great opportunity to reassess the people currently in your life and reach out to people who you want in your ‘room’ but may have lost contact with or need to build a relationship with.

I hope you enjoy the video and that you’re as excited as I am about participating in the global celebration of International Networking Week come February.  After watching the video, please share your thoughts on it, and on International Networking Week in general, in the comment forum below.  I’m looking forward to hearing from you.  Thanks!

How to Get Remembered & Get More Referrals

Last week I posted a video blog on the tremendous importance of following up with the contacts you make when networking in order to be successful and get results.  In today’s video, I take the discussion on follow up a step further . . .

The fact is, how you choose to follow up can really make a significant difference in getting people to remember you–if you get a little creative, you can really put yourself in a prime position for maximum referral generation.  In this video, I share a story about a young networker who got great results by going above and beyond to follow up in a really unique way with a networking group he was hoping to gain membership into, and I also offer a tip on how to follow through in order to stay top of mind so others will constantly be thinking of how they might be able to generate referrals for you.

If you have a story about a unique way you’ve followed up with someone, or a standout way you’ve seen others use to follow up, I’d love for you to submit your story at www.SubmitYourNetworkingStory.com and also share it in the comment forum below.  When you submit your story via SubmitYourNetworkingStory.com, it will be considered for inclusion in the upcoming networking book I’m writing with Jack Canfield and Gautam Ganglani.  Thanks in advance for your participation–I’m looking forward to reading your stories!

 

Attitude Is a Choice and Choosing Wisely Is a Necessity

Years ago I wrote a blog on the importance of attitude in networking and recently I’ve had several situations arise which have reminded me yet again that attitude shapes the outcome of everyday dealings in huge ways so I’d like to revisit the idea in today’s blog post . 

Some days my schedule involves marathon radio interviews beginning at 4 a.m. and, as you can imagine, getting up at an hour when roosters haven’t even begun to think about warming up their vocal chords is not the most enticing of tasks. However, as the Founder & Chairman of BNI®, the world’s largest business networking organization, I agree to do these interviews at such an outrageous hour because it is my responsibility to do whatever needs to be done to network for the organization.

Now, can you imagine what would happen if  I answered the interviewer’€™s first question–which is always “How are you doing today, Dr. Misner?”–€”by grumbling about how I had stubbed my toe and how I wished I was back in my warm bed?  Well, what would happen is that people would be immediately turned off by my negative attitude and nobody would listen to me.

This brings me to my point that in order to be a master networker, you must always maintain a positive attitude no matter what.  With over two decades of professional networking experience, one thing I’ve learned is how important it is to have a positive attitude in order to successfully network.  And if I’€™m going to go around telling other people how to discipline and train themselves to network effectively, then I darn well better be walking the walk (or at least limping along, stubbed toe and all) and maintaining the positive attitude of a master networker.

Now that I’ve shared the second most important trait of a master networker, I figure might as well give you the other nine.  Here they are, ranked in order of their perceived importance to networking:

 

1. Follows up on referrals
2. Positive attitude
3. Enthusiastic/motivated
4. Trustworthy
5. Good listening skills
6. Networks always
7. Thanks people
8. Enjoys helping
9. Sincere
10. Works their network. 

Starting this week, try making a conscious effort to be aware of your attitude at all times and if it could stand some improvement think about three simple things you could do to change your attitude for the better on a daily basis.  If you’ve already got a great handle on maintaining a positive attitude, take this week to focus on one or more of the other nine traits of a master networker and think of three ways you can build your effectiveness in these areas.  As always, I’d love to hear your thoughts on what you might do to implement the ideas in this blog so please share your comments in the forum below. Thanks!

Crucial Conversations

We’ve all heard the phrase “It’s not so much about what you say, it’s more how you say it that really matters” and, let me tell you, I learned the hard way how true that actually is.  Conversations can be tricky–especially when one or more of the people involved are upset.

 

Back in the 1980s when I first started BNI®, there were only a handful of chapters in existence, as the organization was in its very beginning stages, and it was still small enough to where I was able to make personal visits to chapter meetings.  One day, the chapter president of a local Southern California BNI chapter called me up and asked me if I would come sit in on their next meeting and offer some insight into how they could improve because they were having some challenges keeping their networking group running smoothly and effectively.

I was more than happy to help out however I could so I went to their next meeting, sat back and observed, and then when the chapter president called me up to the front of the room and asked me to offer my feedback, I stood up and began to go over my list of suggestions and changes they should make in order to improve their effectiveness.  All of a sudden, one of the chapter members raised her hand and said, “Excuse me but who in the heck do you think you are, sashaying in here (I didn’t know that I “sashay”)  and telling us everything you think we’re doing wrong?!–You don’t know anything about us!”

How did I respond?  I didn’t respond . . . I reacted.  I went with my gut reflex which was to defend myself, saying that I was the founder of the organization and I tried in vain to argue that my points were valid and that they needed to listen to what I had to say if they wanted to improve.  The way I handled it was completely ineffective because, in a heated situation where somebody was obviously very upset and already convinced I was the enemy, I had no strategy for guiding the conversation in a positive, solutions-focused direction and trying to argue and stick to my guns only made things worse.

That day, on my commute back home from the meeting, I spent the first twenty minutes fuming about how rude the woman was to me in spite of the fact that I had gotten up early to drive out to their chapter meeting and taken time out of my day to go above and beyond to help them.  In the privacy of my own car, with my blood boiling, I drove through traffic flaring my nostrils, vehemently muttering several choice words (which I will not detail here) while I verbally bashed them for being so ungrateful (suffice it to say, I definitely would have been in trouble if there were anyone else in the car to hear me!).

But then I started to calm down and think about how I might have handled the situation differently and it was during that same lone car ride that I came up with BNI’s corporate policy (which is used to this day) on customer support and handling customer complaints.  Below are a few select bullet points from the policy:

  • Remember–people don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care
  • Listen and let them talk.  Then . . . listen, listen, listen.
  • Ask questions.  Then . . . listen!
  • Acknowledge the information
  • Understand their complaint and ask how you can help
  • Follow up
  • Thank them
  • Remember–diplomacy is the art of letting someone else have your way.  Be diplomatic!

Some years later, I came across Crucial Conversations, a book which teaches people how to prepare for high-stakes situations, transform anger and hurt feelings into powerful dialogue, create situations where it is safe to talk about almost anything, and to be persuasive not abrasive.

Not only are some of the tactics and strategies right in line with what I outlined for BNI’s policy on dealing with tense situations, but it contains a slew of additional tactics that are immensely helpful for ensuring that whatever it is you are trying to say in any given situation is presented in the best possible way (i.e., “how you say it”) in order to achieve the best possible results for everyone involved.

If you really think about it, all conversations are crucial on some level because once you say something you can’t take it back and saying the wrong thing can have sometimes have tremendously negative repercussions.  Whether you are conversing with your fellow networkers, your business associates, or with those close to you who you love and care about, it’s always best to know what you want to say and how you want to say it (and to have a plan to diffuse things if the conversation gets heated) before anything comes out of your mouth . . . take it from someone who definitely learned this the hard way. 😉

To learn more about Crucial Conversations, please CLICK HERE or visit: http://www.vitalsmarts.com/crucialconversations/.

 

‘Why People Resist Networking’ Series: Part III–Impatience Resulting in Early Failure


In this third installment of the “Why People Resist Networking” Video Series, I discuss another popular theme surrounding why people tend to resist networking – impatience.  If new networkers don’t see immediate payoff from their efforts, they become impatient, inevitably resulting in failure early on in the networking process.

Quite often, people simply don’t understand the value of taking time to build fruitful relationships and, like it or not, fruitful relationships are the cornerstone of effective networking.

In this short video, I show a Power Point slide which offers eye-opening proof of the payoff that comes from being patient and consistently putting in the necessary time each week to diligently and strategically build networking relationships. 

I highly encourage you to watch the video to find out why you owe it to yourself (not to mention the business you’ve put so much hard work into) to adopt a systematic and patient approach to networking.  Remember, when you approach networking like a long distance marathon runner, you will reap sweet rewards; if you approach it like a sprinter, simply trying to reach the end as quickly as possible, chances are you’ll end up breaking your ankle (so to speak) and you will have failed before you ever have a chance to even reach the finish line–needless to say, there’s no prize in that.

After watching the video, I’d love for you to leave your feedback, thoughts, and/or comments in the comment forum below. I would particularly like to hear your networking success stories (e.g., connections you never thought you’d be able to make yet achieved through your diligent networking efforts, business growth statistics attesting to the positive impact your networking efforts have made on your business, etc.). Thanks!

Networking in Rural Areas–Does It Produce Results?

Just a couple of weeks ago, I was in Sweden on business and my wife Beth and I had the truly unique and memorable experience of staying at the Ice Hotel®.  The owner of hotel happens to be a member of BNI®, the global networking organization I started back in 1985, and during my time there I had the opportunity to not only spend time with some of the members of the nearby BNI chapters,  but also to record this short video with Gunnar Selheden (National Director for BNI Scandinavia).

In this video, Gunnar and I discuss networking in rural areas and small towns in relation to the fact that the success of your business has much less to do with the size of the city in which your business is located and much more to do with the quality of the relationships you develop throughout your networking efforts.  Being that the Ice Hotel is located in Jukkasjärvi, a tiny little town 200 km north of the Arctic Circle, it was a very fitting place to film a video on this topic.

Are you a member of a networking group in a rural area or a small town?  If so, what has your experience been as far as getting results from your efforts within that group?  Do you find that your participation in the group has had a significant impact on the success of your business or not?  Please leave your thoughts in the comment forum below–I’d love to hear from you. Thanks!

 

Stewart Emery: “Who’s in Your Room?”

In this video, I talk to bestselling author Stewart Emery about his concept “Who’s in Your Room?” which prompts people to practice discernment in regard to those they let into their life.

Just imagine you are going to have to live your entire life in one room with an entrance door but no exit door–who would you let in and who would you keep out?  Knowing the answer to this may be more valuable than you realize . . .

What do you think about this concept?  Does it encourage you to be more careful about the people you let into “your room”?  Please leave your thoughts in the comment forum below . . .

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