The time you focus upon your networking efforts will improve on the connections that you would like to turn into stronger relationships. Take the time to reach out to your closest colleagues and see how they are doing. Find out if there is anything you can do to help them. You may not be able to help everyone but you can help someone. Talk to them about how you are doing and ask for help that you think they may be able to provide. It may be moral support or it may be referrals to assist your business.
Anyone who has known me for long, knows that I loved the TV series, West Wing. It was television at its best. One of the episodes introduced the “Big Block of Cheese Day” concept to many people, myself included.
The idea stems from a situation in 1835 where U.S. President, Andrew Jackson, was given a 1,400-pound block of cheese from a grateful dairyman. The gift was delivered to the White House which was a decidedly mixed blessing. It was a wonderful gift, but it was also 1,400 pounds!!! Jackson didn’t know what to do with all of this cheese so, he opened the doors of the White House for the public to come in and take some of the tasty (and according to some accounts, smelly) cheese for themselves. Apparently, thousands of visitors came to the White House and dispatched the massive block in just a few hours.
The TV series had a couple episodes where they took this concept further and required that all the top staff meet with public citizens to listen to topics that they wouldn’t normally embrace.
BNI Founder’s Day
That tradition has motivated me to do a “networking variation” of the idea. On the third Thursday of June every year, I’m going to have a “Founder’s Day”. On this day each year, I will book at least 16 individual 1-2-1’s with BNI members from around the world. The purpose is for BNI members to ask any business or networking related questions they would like to run by me during their 25 – 30 minute 1-2-1 with me. If you are a BNI member, I invite you to complete the form included in this blog. We will select the best responses from many places all around the world.
Business owners and professionals, have you invited your team or your customers to have a conversation with you or ask some questions? It can be a great way to build and strengthen your business relationships. Even without the cheese.
BNI Founder’s Day = Thursday, June 24, 2021 from 9:00am – 6:00pm CDT
THIS COMPLETED REQUEST FORM MUST BE RECEIVED BY MAY 21, 2021.
Is your personal network deep or shallow? Chances are, it is a bit of both. A shallow network is where all of the people you meet will start, and where far too many of them will remain. In the course of developing your network, you meet and learn a little about lots of people. However, you don’t go much deeper. You don’t know much more than the superficial things about these people — their names, their jobs, and maybe one or two other small facts about them.
A deep network contains the contacts that you know much more about, and who usually know much more about you. The question is, how strong is the deep part of your personal network? It’s great to have a large network, but if it is a mile wide with tons of people in it with no deep relationships (or very few of them), it will never be powerful. To maximize the relationship, you want to know as much about that person as possible. You want to find out about their family, their hobbies, their interests, etc.
You need both a wide and a deep network
One of the masters of developing a deep network is entrepreneur, author, and speaker Harvey Mackay. It is truly amazing how much information Harvey asks for — and retains — when he decides you are someone he wants to have in his deep network. When I met him for the first time, I remember having a nice conversation. The second time I had a conversation with him, he started up with the following:
- So, how are your kids?
- You’ve got three, right?
- What’s Ashley doing now?
- What’s Cassie doing now?
- And how’s Trey doing?
- Is he about ready to go to college?
I was flabbergasted. How did he remember all that? The more I spoke to him, the more I realized he must have taken notes. As it turns out, that’s exactly what he does. To help him deepen important relationships faster, he takes careful notes about things important to the people who are important to him. Harvey Mackay carefully catalogs that information and adds to it every time he meets with someone, with things such as children’s and pets’ names, your birthday, the anniversary of your business — tons of information.
Harvey Mackay developed a great method that helps him deepen relationships. To be successful at building a powerful personal network, you need to develop a method that works for you. We live in such a sound-byte society. After a simple, “Hi, good to see you again”, so many people jump right into business without getting to know the other person. That’s too bad because one of the things I’ve found is when you get to know somebody, amazing things happen.
The GAINS Exchange
One of the best ways I’ve ever seen for shallow — or casual — business relationships to deepen is through a tool called the GAINS Exchange. Looking back, I remember the first time I introduced the GAINS Exchange into my business. GAINS stands for “Goals, Accomplishments, Interests, Networks, and Skills”. I wrote these five elements on a paper so that two people who meet for the first time — or who had met only briefly and had a shallow relationship — could take turns learning about each other’s GAINS and writing them down.
Build trust with deep connections
Guess what happened? They had known each other casually for a year in a networking group — and had never done business with each other. Within three months of discussing their GAINS, they began passing referrals to each other. This began because they found out they were both soccer coaches, and that made a deeper connection between them that led to trust. If they had continued with their more “shallow” relationship, they may have never passed a single referral. It’s really fun to see two people at a GAINS Exchange that start out learning about each other on a business level by asking each other the following questions:
- What do you do for a living?
- Describe what your business is like?
- What are you looking to do to grow your business?
Then, one of them shares something unique, like an unusual hobby or an unusual place they dream of traveling to see, and conversation just takes off.
If your network is a mile wide and an inch deep, it will never be very powerful. You need a strong and stable network that is both wide and deep. Like the supporting roots of a huge oak tree, some of your referral relationships need to go deeper. You create deeper relationships by learning as much as you can about other people. You want to find out details about their family, their interests, and their goals. Get to know them a little bit better to learn what is important to them.
The global business world experienced many challenges with growing forward during “The Great Pause of 2020”. Last year was the most difficult economic time worldwide since the Great Depression. However, BNI® not only faced these challenges but thrived during the global pandemic. BNI’s Global Leadership Team focused on finding solutions instead of focusing on the problems. It is amazing that I love what BNI is doing for our members and I love what our CEO, Graham Weihmiller, is doing with this company.
Growing Forward Together™
Watch the first part of this video about BNI’s innovative programs from last year and what they achieved during “The Great Pause of 2020”. Then, watch the second part of this video for announcements about upcoming BNI global initiatives, programs, and events as we enter “The Great Acceleration” phase of 2021.
The Great Pause of 2020
For over 35 years, BNI was the leader in hosting weekly local in-person referral networking meetings worldwide. However in March 2020, for the safety of our members, BNI paused over 9,500 in-person BNI meetings and transitioned these to an online virtual meeting platform: BNI online. This maintained business continuity and allowed our 275,000 BNI Members worldwide to support their fellow BNI Members during the pandemic. In 2020, our BNI chapter members passed over 11.5 million referrals which generated over $16.3 million(USD) of global business revenue for each other. Here are a few more of BNI’s innovative programs from 2020:
- In May, The BNI brand was completely refreshed with a new logo, colors, graphics, social media guidelines, and images.
- In July, the “Growing Forward Together World Tour” focused on leapfrogging the “lockdown recession”.
- In September, BNI launched the “Restart the World” initiative to help businesses worldwide to change their mindset.
- In November, the virtual BNI Global Convention was our largest global event in the history of BNI.
The Great Acceleration of 2021
- In January, we celebrated BNI’s 36th anniversary with the announcement that BNI has 36 Years of Growth.
- In February, BNI celebrated “International Networking Week®” by encouraging the sharing of gratitude with the “A World of Thanks” theme.
- Join us in October for BNI’s Largest Networking Event in beautiful Miami, Florida for our 2021 BNI Global Convention.
BNI is a Beacon of Hope in a Sea of Fear
Today, now more than ever, you need your network and you need to be networking with them. You need a team of people who will be there to help you during difficult times. During 2020, many people became frozen by their fear. However, I also saw many people became focused by their fear. They were focusing on surviving and thriving because “BNI is a beacon of hope in a sea of fear”.
Since 1985, BNI has created over $130,000,000,000 USD in revenue for BNI Members via over 130,000,000 Referrals. Today, the average BNI referral results in over $1,000 in revenue. And we’re just getting started. Your local BNI community can give you, and the people that you know, the support you need to thrive. Our BNI members are growing forward together. Today, more than ever, you need your network. Today, more than ever, you need BNI.
The latest edition of SWAGGER MAGAZINE named me “The Godfather of the Networking World” (hey, I’m glad no one’s calling me the “Grandfather of Networking”). Swagger Magazine is a premier modern men’s lifestyle magazine. They focus on everything men love; gear, tech, fashion, rides, sports, health, fitness, and food. Furthermore, Swagger magazine features Men and Women who possess “swag”. This month, they featured my self-made story. I guess I possess SWAG.
The Godfather of the Networking World
He speaks on good authority – as founder of BNI (Business Network International). Over the past thirty six years, he has watched his organization grow to more than 10,000 chapters in 70 countries, making BNI the largest business networking organization ever created. Dr. Misner is a much sought after speaker, having addressed audiences around the globe.
Use this link to read the article about relationship networking, the history of BNI, being an author, and how to build relationships: www.swaggermagazine.com
Thank you Swagger Magazine
Please visit www.swaggermagazine.com for more features and more men’s luxury content and gear!
If you would like your SELF MADE story of success to be told, contact info@SwaggerMagazine.com
Today, more than ever, you need your network. You need people around you to help and support you. Become a beacon of hope in a sea of fear.
Today’s guest blog is an extract from the book, “Networking Quotient” by my good friends and BNI® Leaders, Paulo Corsi and YP Lai, about two immensely powerful measurements that determine the ability of your network to generate business for you, your Networking Quotient and your Referability Degree.
As a networker, have you ever asked yourself how effective your network is in bringing business referrals? And have you ever pondered which strategy will bring you better results? Should you expand your network and get to know more people? Should you build a deeper relationship with the people who are already in your network? Well, the secret to getting the answers is being able to measure your network. That sounds simple, right? However, what is the right measurement to use? The size of your network? The depth of your network? Or perhaps something else?
Let me introduce you to two powerful measurements that determine the ability of your network to generate business for you.
Your Referability Degree
The Referability Degree points out how much of your network is working for you. However, it does not tell you if your network has the right size to generate more business opportunities for you.
The Referability Degree is calculated by dividing the number of contacts in your network who have given you a referral in the last six months and dividing this number by the total number of contacts you have. (e.g., 30 people that gave you referrals / 100 people in your network gives you a Referability Degree of 30%).
- If you have a Referability Degree of 50% or less:
Your focus should be on developing better relationships with the people who do not regularly give you business referrals. Through nurturing the relationship, you will teach them how to generate referrals for you. At the same time, you will be learning ways on how to create value and bring referrals for the other person and develop a long-term mutually beneficial relationship.
- When your Referability Degree is above 50%:
You are ready to expand your network. As you expand your network, you should simultaneously strengthen the relationship so that both parties can bring good quality business referrals for each other.
Imagine a person that has a Referability Degree of 90% – which is exceedingly high. However, the size of the network is only 10 people. This indicates that he has deep relationships with his existing contacts but has only an extremely limited network. In this scenario, he must expand his network to more people. A network of 10 people will not be sufﬁcient to create a constant ﬂow of opportunities for him.
Your Networking Quotient
The Networking Quotient is simply the number of people that have given business referrals to you in the past 6 months.
For a continual flow of business by referrals, it is recommended to have a Networking Quotient of at least 100. This means having an active community of at least 100 people that you are constantly in contact with, build rapport with and know how to bring you good quality referrals. Building up your Networking Quotient takes time, and with constant practice, it will become your daily habit.
Paulo Corsi and YP Lai in their book, “Networking Quotient”, share in detail how to calculate the Referability Degree and the Networking Quotient. And more importantly, they share proven strategies to build your Referability Degree and your Networking Quotient.
The eBook / Kindle version of “Networking Quotient” is on sale for $1.99 until 11 pm (PDT) TONIGHT – April 1st, 2021.
“Work Less Earn More”
Accompanying the Networking Quotient book, YP Lai has written another book, “Work Less Earn More” about the 10 proven strategies to be wealthier, healthier & happier.
This book acts as a guide for busy entrepreneurs to get their lives into harmony, ensuring that while they are in pursuit of material wealth to provide for the family, they also focus on other important things in life like health, fitness, and happiness.
The eBook / Kindle version of “Work Less, Earn More” is on sale for 99¢ on Amazon until 11 pm (PDT) on April 2nd, 2021.
I learned about Murphy’s Law in graduate school. It basically says that what can go wrong will go wrong. Although this tenet feels very pessimistic, there is value to it. It gives a framework for people to look for flaws in their thinking, which can make it easier to address potential issues before they arise. This leads me to Misner’s Corollary to Murphy’s Law: Sometimes, what can’t go wrong will go wrong. I know this sounds crazy and even more pessimistic, but if you go about it in a thought-provoking manner, you can truly think through potential challenges before you proceed. In particular, you want to consider what I call the “unintended consequences of a seemingly good idea.” This tends to happen when you roll out what everyone agrees is a good solution while avoiding what could go wrong with its rollout and implementation. You then roll out the idea, and all goes well. But we tend to overlook the unintended consequences of that new idea.
Misner’s Corollary Examples
This has happened several times in my career, such as when my company, BNI, implemented a “substitute program” relating to attendance. The idea was that the substitute would represent the member (employees and customers were the prime substitute candidates), and then the member wouldn’t be considered absent. It sounded and looked good on paper, but there was a long-term unintended consequence: Some members would look for virtually anyone to be a sub. This created a less than satisfactory situation for the group, especially when that sub basically just pitched their own business instead of representing the person they were supposed to be there for. It has taken us years to address this issue, and it’s still not perfected.
Another example of the impact of unintended consequences was BNI’s transition from paper copies of referral slips over to digital referrals. Despite the massively improved process of passing and tabulating the information, there was a sense of loss by many members in the physical passing of a referral to another member. This turned out to be moot once the pandemic arrived and all our groups transitioned to meeting online, but it does underscore one of the problems with Murphy’s Law and Misner’s Corollary — you never know for sure if something would have been an issue when the problem never really had a chance to surface (which is probably a good thing).
There have been some occasions where I’ve witnessed these strategies produce clear-cut results. Last January, our CEO, Graham Weihmiller, began to transition 10,000 weekly, in-person networking meetings online. He expected pushback early on, and therefore started the transition where it was first necessary (Asia) and experimented in areas where it was not yet necessary. By moving forward and testing the waters, the organization was well prepared for unintended consequences, resulting in an incredible global pivot over a matter of weeks.
The prevailing lesson here is that when you have a good idea, think about what can go wrong with that idea. Then, spend time thinking outside the box about what can’t go wrong by considering potential unintended consequences. Maybe then you’ll avoid encountering Misner’s Corollary for yourself.
What do you do when you meet someone and you cannot remember their name? That can be embarrassing. I have observed this many times over the years during networking events. I have also observed the different ways others have dealt with forgetting someone’s name. Some have just faked it by engaging in a conversation hoping to get a clue. They try to remember where the other person was from or how they knew them. On the other hand, I have heard people come right out and say, “Hey, I’m sorry I forgot your name” or “I’m sorry I do not remember where you’re from”.
In this video, I share a story from one of my blog readers which describes a scenario of this very nature and I answer his question of what I would have done if I were in the same sticky situation.
What not to do when you cannot remember a name
If it happens to you, I recommend that you do not say, “I’m sorry, I forgot your name” or “I don’t remember where you’re from”. I have found that people sometimes take it personally that you can’t remember them. No reason to embarrass yourself and embarrass them because you don’t know who they are. They might begin to avoid you because you did not recognize them earlier.
Finally, you do not want to say, “Nice to meet you”. Even if you do not remember meeting the person, they clearly know you, so you are most likely not “meeting them” for the first time.
What to do instead
When you forget someone’s name, I recommend saying, “Hi, good to see you”, then strike up a simple conversation to help you remember based upon the current situation or event you are attending. Starting a dialogue is a great way to shake up the gray matter in your head to try to remember who they are. If you still cannot remember after conversing a while, it’s time to stop trying and move along. Before leaving tell them, “Hey, it was nice to see you again. Gotta run. Talk to you again next time”.
It can be challenging to remember names, especially if you’re an avid networker. Years ago, I was told about a four-step process that will help you to remember people’s names–and it actually works!
OK, not remembering someone’s name has happened to me too. Saying “good to see you”, then engaging in a dialogue is a great approach to remember their name. If you absolutely do not want to use this technique, a fall-back approach can be one that someone once shared with me: “Sorry, I’m having a total ‘Senior Moment’ and I don’t recall where we’ve met”. Feel free to use that if you do not feel very brave with the “good to see you” approach. However, be prepared for some bruised feelings.
If you’ve ever been approached by someone and drawn a complete blank trying to remember their name, or even where you know them from, you know how awkward and embarrassing that situation can be. Finally, always wear your name badge when networking in person so that the people you meet can easily remember your name.
Last month, I was wondering which words best describe the effect of BNI® on businesses. I decided to share a post on my social media pages requesting for you to reply with your words. I was amazed when I received over 200 words as replies to that question. Therefore, I decided to copy down all the words from the comments shared on my social platforms and save them in a file. After sorting the words alphabetically, I was able to see which of the words were the most common in your replies. I was not surprised to see that five of the seven BNI Core Values were represented as half the top ten most popular words.
The most popular word of all the words received was GROWTH. Our members found that joining BNI resulted in LEARNING how to be a better business owner. They grew both personally with a positive ATTITUDE, and professionally from the RECOGNITION they received. As they SUPPORTED the other members, their own business was being held ACCOUNTABLE too and THRIVING. They were INSPIRED as a result of the COLLABORATION with the members in their chapter, even during the pandemic. The core value of GIVERS GAIN® is what our BNI members hold dear and incorporate into the culture of their businesses. These are your words to live by.
What is Your Verb?
Asking my followers what is their “one word” reminded me of my blog, “What is Your Verb?”. This blog was about a 2017 presentation from Alex Mandossian about knowing the one word that describes you best. This one word is not a noun or an adjective. The best words to describe you are verbs. According to Alex, verbs increase persuasion power and move people. The greatest thought leaders in history lived their lives as verbs. What is your verb? My verb is “inspire”.
Change your WORDS, Inspire your WORLD…
I explained in my blog, “Change your WORDS, Inspire your WORLD”, why my verb is “inspire”. I want to inspire people. Furthermore, I want to inspire people who inspire people to help others and become “their better selves”. Inspired people are not only motivating themselves, they are also an inspiration to others to perform at their highest potential.
Inspiration starts with changing your words. There is tremendous power in words, in our speech. We use words every day to communicate, to express our feelings and thoughts, but we often forget how powerful they can be and how important it is to choose them with care. Words are how we communicate and it is through our communication that we motivate others. Throughout human history, great leaders have used the inspirational power of words. What are the words that inspire you? These are the words to live by.
The Power of Words
Never underestimate the power of your words, both positive and negative. Your words can unintentionally hurt someone when expressed in a negative tone. However, when you use positive words, you inspire others to change. Your positive words can create a culture of caring. The words we use will provide insight and understanding that will create positive change.
In this video, a blind man sits by a busy city street hoping for some spare change. Beside him is a sign, “I’m Blind. Please Help.” People pass him by without notice until a girl stops and re-words his sign, “It’s a Beautiful Day and I Can’t See It.” Immediately, passersby respond to the man because of the power of words.
Hope is More Powerful than Fear
In my blog, “Hope is More Powerful than Fear”, I explained that we must be careful about the actual words we use. We can foster hope in others by using words of encouragement that create the actions to inspire others. We can choose to have hope, make the most of it, and come out better and stronger. Otherwise, we can choose to be overcome by our fear and feelings of isolation. However, we know that in our times of distress, hearing words of encouragement from others can remove our fear and foster feeling stronger. I choose to be better and stronger. These are the words to live by.
Use positive words of encouragement to change people’s lives for the good. The real power of our words is the result of these words on others. We can change people’s lives for the good with just a few encouraging words of hope. You can change our world and make our world a better place simply with the power of your words.
A common myth is that only extroverts are the best networkers. It is a fact that extroverted people are better at meeting new people. Even if they are not outgoing, introverted people are better at communicating ideas and forming meaningful relationships with referral marketing. Therefore, introverts are great networkers too.
Networking is a two-part process for both extroverts and introverts
First, you have to meet someone new and share information about yourself. Extroverts may be better at this first part of the networking process. While introverted people tend to avoid networking because they are uncomfortable initializing conversations with strangers.
Introverts are better at the second part of the networking process. Introverted people are better at building strong relationships with the people they know. Introverts are better listeners and ask more questions to understand the person’s business. Networking is about building relationships.
A good networker has two ears and one mouth and uses each proportionally
- Become an ambassador
If you feel uncomfortable approaching strangers at a business mixer, become an ambassador for your chamber of commerce or other organization. In this role, you become a host for the group. Therefore, you easily meet new people by engaging in small talk to break the ice when you greet people and say, “Welcome to our event. My name is [your name]. I’m an ambassador for the chamber and the owner of…”.
2. Become a volunteer
Are you a volunteer for a cause you feel passionate about? You can give your time at an event, share your talents with the organization, or help solicit donations. Then you will start off talking to others about the cause and soon you are networking. Giving your time, talent or treasure can be effective opportunities for meeting new people. Many of these people could become your future clients.
3. Become an influencer
Another way to break the ice is by speaking formally to a group about a specific topic. People have become great networkers by joining a parent-teacher association or coaching in their children’s sports league. There are opportunities to speak on behalf of the children. Even an introvert can muster up some charisma and get in front of a crowd. Becoming a public speaker helped me.
Networking is a skill that can be learned no matter your level of gregariousness. If you are uncomfortable when networking, take advantage of training seminars and workshops that teach you how to network effectively. Plus, you can take steps to interact with people in other ways to help break the ice. In conclusion, you will find that when you learn ways to handle these situations, you will become more relaxed and confident in a networking setting.
Back in 2009, Elisabeth and I were sitting around the kitchen table talking when I made a comment about being an extrovert. She looked over at me and said, “Uhh, honey, I hate to break it to you, but you’re an introvert”. I smiled and said, “Yeah, sure, I am an extrovert”. She then looked at me quite earnestly and said, “No, really you’re an introvert”. But, I am a public speaker and founder of the world’s largest networking organization.
I cannot be an introvert
Elisabeth insisted that I was an introvert. She proceeded to share with me all the ways that I have introverted tendencies. All the examples she gave were true, but I still couldn’t believe I am an introvert. On the other hand, we were married for over 20 years at that time. She knew me pretty well. Therefore, I found an online test to see where I was on the introvert-extrovert spectrum. The test said that I am an “introvert / situational extrovert”. I was something of a loner who was reserved around strangers but very outgoing in the right context.
This revelation gave me the insight to improve how we network at BNI
- As an introvert, I am naturally uncomfortable meeting new people when networking. However, BNI uses a structured meeting agenda that enables our members to meet new people comfortably either online or in-person. Therefore, I feel more comfortable when meeting new people at a BNI meeting.
- As an introvert, I am naturally uncomfortable introducing myself at networking events. However, I ask the local or national BNI Director to assign a liaison when I visit BNI events. This person walks with me at the event and introduces me to as many people as possible.
- As an introvert, I am naturally uncomfortable circulating the room at networking events. However, I realized that volunteering to be one of my BNI chapter’s visitor hosts allowed me to circulate more comfortably during the meeting. This led to the concept I used many times of “acting like the host, not the guest“. I recommend that article to all my fellow introverts out there who are also uncomfortable networking.
Whether you are an introvert or an extrovert, you can be good at networking. Both have strengths and weaknesses. If you can find ways to enhance your strengths and minimize your weaknesses, anyone can be a great networker.
The best way to grow your business is by referrals generated from a strong trusted network. In the previous blog, I discussed building quality relationships. Growing more quality relationships in your trusted network will increase the number of referrals generated by the members in your network. What is a trusted network? How do you build a strong trusted network? This video further explains this concept.
A Strong Trusted Network
What is important is the QUALITY, not the quantity, of the relationships that you have with the members of your network. Grow your business by growing a strong network of people who know all about your business and fully trust you. Furthermore, you completely trust every person in your network and have a full understanding of each of their businesses. Finally, educate everyone regularly about the people you would love to be introduced to grow your business. That is a strong trusted network.
Imagine having your personal trusted network as part of a strong global network of 10,000 other trusted networks. Grow your local business with a global network. BNI’s (Business Network International) mission is to help members increase their business through a structured, positive, and professional referral marketing program that enables them to develop long-term, meaningful relationships with quality business professionals. In 2020, over 275,000 members of BNI worldwide passed over 11.5 million referrals which resulted in more than $16.2 billion USD in business. Visit a local BNI chapter meeting and learn how BNI can transform the future of your business.
Effective networking is not really what you know or who you know. It’s how well you know them that really counts. Therefore, the stronger the relationships are that you build with your network’s members, the more referrals you will receive from them.