Is Ignorance on Fire Ever a Good Thing?

The following video is part of my new “Ivanism” Garage to Global series, hosted by Entrepreneur.com, where I expand on catch phrases I have used frequently over the years.

 

I know, it’s a strange concept: “Ignorance on fire is better than knowledge on ice.”

Most people read that statement and think, someone who’s excited but ignorant can do more harm than good.

I’m here to tell you that the opposite of your intuition is true. That’s right–and you’ll see why below.

 

MSNBC’s Your Business

On Thursday, I was swept off to a land far, far away.

OK, not that far away. But TV has to be dramatic, doesn’t it?

Even though I was close to home, I visited the homes of millions by appearing as a guest on MSNBC’s Your Business, with host JJ Ramberg. I was featured as an expert on referral networking (imagine that!) and spoke about how it can positively affect small businesses. The entire experience was easier than I expected and JJ was well-prepared and professional–and I’m sure glad she was, because it really helped ease my nerves.

And of course, I couldn’t get out the door without using referral networking. The producer asked if I could refer her to other BNI experts to be featured guests! (Who knows–maybe it could be YOU!)

Check out the clip below and tell me what you think.

Counting Your Referrals

Referrals are the backbone of word-of-mouth networking, am I right?

So if you reach out 100 people with a referral and ten reach back, did you give 100 or ten referrals?

Many would immediately assume the higher number, because let’s face it–100 is better than 10. But that isn’t the case!

But WHY is this?

I come to you today with a Vlog (video blog) of this exact question, asked of me during the BNI US Conference in April.

For Long Term Networking Payoff, Take Small Steps . . .

A few years back, I was speaking to a friend of mine who is a partner in an international consulting and training company. We discovered that we had a mutual acquaintance who is a bestselling author and fairly well-known speaker. In our discussion, we found out that he had contacted each of us individually to see if there were any possibilities for some type of strategic alliance with our companies.

We were both open to that possibility but couldn’t see any immediate and dramatic way our companies could link up with his and do any specific projects at that time. Both of us were also a bit amused to then discover that we were summarily “dropped” from his radar (no response to e-mails or other attempts to connect) after that.

We got the sense that he was looking for the one big alliance that would help his company soar to the next level. That realization started a conversation about the difference in the relationship between the two of us.

 

Ironically, we had had the same type of phone call with each other just 18 months earlier and came to the same conclusion. There was nothing on a grand scale we could do together at that moment. The difference, however, was the rest of the story.

We agreed to stay in touch. And then we did. We connected several times over the year and met in person on several occasions. During that time, we found some simple ways to help each other and gradually enhanced the relationship. This was in sharp contrast to the third party we had talked to individually. When this person didn’t see any big payoff, we became persona non grata to him. On the other hand, the two of us found ways to help each other gradually and, even to this day, continue to build on our relationship.

We came to the conclusion that most people who are successful at networking and creating strong strategic alliances view the process as a series of small actions taken with many people to create a long-term positive growth for your company. The process is more of a marathon than a sprint. Throughout the race, you form alliances and help each other over the long haul.

Have you had a similar experience? If so, how has this played out in your business?  Please share your thoughts in the comment forum below.  Thanks!

Networking Video: “The People in the Room”–Comic Relief with a Powerful Message

Last Thursday I posted a blog in which I explain why confusing networking with direct selling is one of the worst faux pas you can make while networking as it completely undermines any chance you have of being a successful networker.  The fact remains that if your idea of networking is walking around, shaking hands, and closing deals, you are not going to achieve real results or significant business growth from your efforts.

Today, I’d like to share a fantastic new video with you which not only drives home the points I made in last Thursday’s blog but does so in a highly creative, comical, entertaining, and extremely memorable way.  The video is called “The People in the Room” and it is created and produced by Lawrence Conyers of Anson Corporate Media.  Lawrence is a master networker based in the UK who has done several other stellar networking videos in the past.

CharlieLawsonMustardBusinessCard

Watch the video now to find out what happens to a confused networker who thinks the best way to network is to work the room at lightning speed, focused only on giving people his card and asking them to give him a call so they can do business.  After watching the video, you will very clearly see the difference between real networking and trying to meet as many people as possible in order to sell them on your products and services before you even get a chance to learn their name.  You’ll also never be able to forget the importance of remembering to think not only about the people in the room with you at networking events but also about the people they know who may not be in the room.

I think Lawrence absolutely knocked it out of the park with this video–I love it!  What do you think?  Please share your feedback about the video in the comment forum below.

 

 

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!

 

The 2 Key Factors of Success

In this video, I talk about the two factors that I firmly believe are what make people successful in any situation–hard work and good choices.  The truth is, you can’t achieve success without both of these things.

People talk all the time about the necessity of hard work when it comes to success and though they’re one hundred percent correct about the importance of hard work, I’ve seen people work hard for decades and still not achieve the results they want because they consistently undermine themselves by making bad choices.

Think about one of your more important goals–are the choices you’ve been making surrounding that goal consistently contributing toward achievement of that goal?  There’s no better time than now to make a list of the choices you’ve been making in relation to your goals, examine the list, and decide how you can make better choices toward your goals moving forward.

Are there additional factors which you believe have helped you or someone you know to achieve success in aspects of life and business?  I’m always eager to hear new ideas and learn from others’ experiences and I know many of the people who read this blog share this desire to learn so please offer your thoughts in the comment forum below. Thanks!

Which Is Better–Online Networking or In-Person Networking?

 

In this brief video, Roger Green and I talk about online networking versus in-person networking and also what I discovered when doing research for the book Business Networking and Sex in regard to how much time is necessary to invest in networking in order to get results.

When it comes to networking, there’s online networking and there’s face to face networking.  The simple fact is–it’s not “either/or” . . . it’s “both/and.”  Online networking doesn’t impact face-to-face networking in a negative way. It enhances it.

If you want to be successful in building your personal network, you need diversity in your networks. I highly suggest that people join a few different networks, rather than just sticking with one.

What in-person networks do you currently belong to?  Which online networks do you currently belong to?  In the comments section, please share which networks (both in-person and online) you belong to that you’ve had the most success with–perhaps someone else might read about your experiences and gain success with those networks as well.

The Three Laws of Notable Networking

Over the last few decades, I’ve met individuals who have developed such incredible networking skills that they get almost 100 percent of their business through referrals.  They’ve been successful at building a word-of-mouth-based business because they’re as committed to giving referrals as they are to following up on the referrals they get.  What does it take to achieve results like these?

There are three requirements or laws for becoming a Notable (or effective) Networker.  Without applying these laws, you would find it impossible to work your networks effectively.

At face value the laws seem simple, but don’t let first impressions deceive you.  Behind these simple-sounding principles lies a comprehensive set of requirements and obligations.  If you don’t heed these laws, you will invest many hours and some dollars into networking groups but get a poor return on your investment.

The Three Laws of Notable Networking Are:

  1. Have a Positive and Supportive Attitude
  2. Learn How to Use Networking Tools Effectively
  3. Networking Is an Acquired Skill

Over the next few weeks, I’ll be going into detail about each of the above laws so be sure to come back to learn more about how you can become a truly Notable Networker and get optimum results from all of your networking efforts and investments.

Also, if you have a story about how you’ve used one or more of the above laws to achieve success in networking, please share it in the comments section below so we can all learn from your successes.  Thanks!

NetTime: How Much Time Should You Spend Networking?

The secret to getting more business through networking is. . . spending more time doing it!   OK, well, it’s a little more complicated than that because you have to spend time doing the right things.  However, devoting the necessary time is the starting point.  So how much networking time (or NetTime) should you spend developing your personal network and what kind of results can you expect to see?

Based on a survey that I helped to write and conduct of over 12,000 business professionals from every populated continent in the world, we finally have a definitive answer to those questions.  The study found that people who said “networking played a role” in their success spent an average of 6.3 hours a week participating in networking activities.  On the other hand, the majority of people who claimed that “networking did NOT play a role” in their success spent only 2 hours or less per week developing their network.  

Clearly, those people who spent very little time engaged in the process felt that networking was not an effective way to build their business.  As with many other aspects of life, you clearly reap what you sow.  It’s no wonder that the people who didn’t invest as much time also did not realize as much reward.  This demonstrates the direct correlation between the amount of time you devote to the networking process and the degree of success that you will likely realize from it.

The typical person in the survey who spent a little over six hours a week networking generated almost 47 percent of all their business through referrals and networking activities.  Of the 12,000 global participants in the survey, women spent less time networking (6.19 hours compared to 6.44 for men), yet generated a higher percentage of their business through the process (49.44 percent compared to 43.96 percent for men).

Why would women spend less time and get a higher percentage of their business from referrals than men?  Well, we discovered that men tended to be more transactional in their networking activities.  That is they were more likely than women to be focused on the “business first and the relationship second.”  On the other hand, women were more likely to be relational in their networking activities.  In other words, they were more likely than men to “focus on the relationship first and do the business second.”

An emphasis on relationships first was clearly and undeniably a key factor in determining whether people were going to identify  networking as having played a role in their success. When we looked at the responses from all the participants who said that networking had played a role in their success and then compared them to those people who focus on relationships first, we discovered that the majority of respondents who felt they’ve achieved success through networking also felt that it was better to build the relationship first and then focus on the business.  Consequently, regardless of gender, business professionals who focused on the relationship first and the business second tended to do better than those business people who focused on the business first.

In other words, relationships beat transactions when it came to networking.  The reason that women seem to have done better in the global study was that women tended to be more relational then men.

Those who skip the relationship building and attempt to establish an “all business” interaction often discover that trust and goodwill are more than just window dressing – they are part of the social capital that energizes a mutually rewarding business relationship.  People who bypass relationship building are more likely to feel that networking has not contributed to their success, and they are probably right – because they’re doing it wrong or at least not doing it enough.

You may be reading this article and thinking – OK, I now know that I need to be spending at least 6 ½ hours a week networking.  Well, that’s true IF you want to be average (and what successful business person wants to be average)!   If on the other hand, you’d like to be above average – you need to devote more time than that to the cause.  The optimum amount of NetTime is more likely to be 8-10 hours a week if you want to be one of those people that are generating well over half their business from referrals.

How much NetTime do you spend each week?  More?  Less? and what percentage of business (total) do you get from your networking efforts?  Comment below.

Want Terrific Networking Results?–Get Specific!

In this video, Michael Mayer, an esteemed worldwide business networking expert from Austria, gives an excellent example that teaches why it is so important to  be specific when introducing your business to others at networking meetings and events.

Watch the video and find out what to say and what not to say when introducing your business in order to get great results from your networking efforts.

On a side note, you’ll also be surprised at what a powerful tool the image of pink socks can be  in helping you to remember that specificity is key . . . I’ve never given much thought to pink socks–in fact, I’ve never really thought about them at all–but  now I think about them absolutely every time I think about being specific!

What do you think about the point Michael makes in this video?  Does it help you think of ways you can improve the way you introduce your own business to other people?  Come back and leave a comment . . .

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