Ivan Misner, Author at Dr. Ivan Misner®
Ice Breaker

Small Talk: The Mighty Ice Breaker

One of the most important aspects of networking is the small talk that occurs at networking functions. The small talk acts as an ice breaker to open up the initial conversation between strangers. This initial conversation is important. It is the first opportunity to grow a mutual connection that may lead to future referrals.

Locubrevisphobia

This big word is the fear of making small talk, often resulting in the sufferer avoiding social and networking events. Many people simply dread the thought of having to carry on conversations with people they do not know. It is easy to label these people as shy. However, only a small minority of people are too shy to enjoy talking with others. Most people are not afraid to talk; they are just intimidated by the task of finding something to talk about.

For this reason, business owners need to stay on top of pop culture and current events. The latest issues and stories in the news are great ways to break the ice and help you find common ground with a person you may never have met before and with whom you may not have much in common. But with the media explosion, it’s increasingly difficult to have a firm grasp on water-cooler talk, particularly when it comes to conversations with people in different age brackets. So, how do you start — and maintain — a conversation at a networking or other event with someone you don’t know at all?

Just ask questions as an ice breaker

This sounds simple because it is. A great way to get people to talk is to ask a few “feeder” questions that will help you learn what the other person is interested in. Simply hone in on that subject. You don’t have to know anything about the topic to converse about the topic. You just have to know enough to ask the questions.

It’s easier you think. Online news sites have set up their pages with easy-to-read convenient categories, such as Top News, Sports, Entertainment, and Tech. Either at night or first thing in the morning, just take a few minutes to read the headlines, and maybe the first one to two sentences. You’d be surprised how much you can learn about “what’s hot” from just a cursory glance. You have enough information to start asking questions and conversing with someone new.

Make the other person feel like an expert

I still remember when I realized the value of asking questions and letting someone answer them. I was flying for business, and just before taking off, I struck up a conversation with the person seated next to me. I’m not sure what started the conversation, but I wasn’t familiar with the business he was in, and I asked a question. That question led to another, then another until the end of that two-hour flight. I realized that he had “small talked” during the entire flight. We made a good connection, I had learned something new, and, as we were gathering our belongings, he complimented me for being a good conversationalist.

A savvy networker I know named Susan reads the sports section in her newspaper from cover to cover every single day, even though she has zero interest in sports. “Why on earth would you subject yourself to this?” I asked her, as I am admittedly not a sports fan, either. She replied, “My networking functions are primarily attended by men. I don’t want to stay on the sidelines while important conversations are going on, conversations that invariably start with a discussion about last night’s game.”

Take a few minutes each day to browse enough headlines to arm you with enough knowledge of current events, pop culture — and yes, even sports. Use this knowledge as an ice breaker to ask questions and get conversations flowing. Using small talk is simply a good networking strategy. As a bonus, you’ll learn a lot from these conversations you might never have learned otherwise.

Intuition in Business

Is There Room for Intuition in Business?

Is there room for intuition in business? Yes, most definitely. Decades ago, I may have thought differently. Over the years I have changed my opinion and believe that intuition can be another tool in the business tool belt. The definition of intuition is the “direct perception of truth or facts, independent of any reasoning process; it is an immediate apprehension or a keen and quick insight into something”.

The Intuits’ Intuition

Years ago, I read a science fiction book that talked about “intuits,” people in their society who seemed to understand things instinctually. Intuits were thought to have this incredible ability to have immediate cognition of a situation. But the truth was, the intuits developed the skill to quickly assemble the facts, analyze the data, and predict probabilities based on their field of expertise. The book was science fiction. However, it made a statement that resonated with me. It said something that flies in the face of the definition above. It said intuits trained for many years in very specific fields and that it wasn’t an instinctual understanding of an issue but it was about quickly using reasoning given their amassed understanding of particular issues. In the real world, that’s basically what predictive analytics do using computers today.

Instinctual Intuition

Having reconsidered my opinion on instincts, I noticed that as I acquired more experience in my field, I found myself better at assessing issues quickly and having a “gut feeling” about the direction I should go. What I had presumed was instinct was — at least in part — quickly assessing the situation given my amassed knowledge of a particular subject.

What some people think of as “instinct” might be this amassed knowledge applied rapidly. I recently had someone drop me a note about a particular challenge he was having. I gave him some advice and in an email response discussing the resolution of the issue, he said I had assessed a particular problem accurately and concluded by saying, “your gut instinct is amazing!” Truth be told, it was partly intuition but predominantly my years and years of seeing situations like this and quickly assessing the problem and offering a solution. In my very own narrow field, I looked like an intuit.

Follow Your Intuition

elephant

How to Network with the Elephant in the Room

Experienced networkers understand that networking is not always a perfect 100% satisfaction guaranteed activity. A member can sometimes have a problem with another person in their networking group. However, instead of talking with this person to resolve the problem, the member avoids this person due to their personal discomfort, and the unresolved problem can grow into a larger situation. Now, the situation has created “the elephant in the room”, which could cause drama within the networking group.

Drama can occur in any group where wide varieties of people and personalities interact. This is also true in business networking groups that meet weekly for in-person or online meetings. If the physical avoidance between these two members is obvious to others at the networking meeting, the negativity from the situation could be felt by others in the group as “the elephant in the room”, potentially causing drama within the group.

What is “the elephant in the room”?

The elephant in the roomis defined as “a metaphorical idiom for an enormous topic or controversial issue that is obvious or that everyone knows about but no one mentions or wants to discuss because it makes at least some of them uncomfortable”. The member, due to discomfort, ignored the initial problem with the other person and avoided them during the group meetings. Therefore, the unresolved problem grew into a larger situation that became very obvious to the other members of the networking group. The initial problem between these two members evolved into “the elephant in the room” for the entire networking group. So, how do you tame and remove the elephant? Here are three of the most common situations why a networking group might have “the elephant in the room” and my suggestions for gracefully taming each of them:

Elephant #1: Poor Referrals

The reason for joining a networking group is to build strong relationships with the members to refer business to one another. Normally, this is a win-win for the member receiving the referral because their business grows with a new client, as well as a win for the member who gave the referral because of Givers Gain®. However, a small percentage of referrals may be poor referrals. They take up time but do not result in closed business. When something goes wrong and a member receives a poor referral, this can create the first elephant.

People who are experiencing a problem with a fellow member tend to talk about the problem to other members instead of talking directly with the fellow member that they are experiencing the problem with. This can actually make the problem worse.

Talk with the member giving you poor referrals.

In most of these situations, nothing was wrong with the actual referral. Usually, the problem was simply caused by miscommunication. Do not perpetuate problems by avoiding open, honest communication with others. Take the time to talk about it in a non-confrontational way. Talking right away will avoid making these awkward situations even worse.

Elephant #2: Personal Disagreements

Networking would be so much easier if people were not involved. Although networking is all about building relationships with people, personal disagreements are inevitable and problems occur. Avoiding each other due to discomfort and not talking with each other to resolve the disagreement creates the second elephant.

Focus on the solution rather than on the problem.

If you only focus on the problem, you become an expert on the problem. All too often, when facing a problem, the first thing we tend to do is focus on the negative situation. This tends to move us further from finding a way to fix it and that does not help the problem.

You must begin to start focusing on ways to resolve the situation by focusing on solutions. Rather than react, take the time to fully analyze the problem then make a list of possible solutions. When we think of ways to overcome our problems, we are prepared for the next problem down the road. Often, all that is needed is honest and direct communication between the two members to solve the disagreement.

Elephant #3: Breakups Between Members

Networking groups tend to attract like-minded people. Sometimes they bring two of their members together for more than just business. Over the years, I have known many couples that dated, fell in love, got married, and started a family together all because they first met at their networking group. On the other hand, this can quickly create the third elephant if the relationship ends badly and the two members remain in the same group after the messy breakup.

Take the higher ground and continue to network.

Given the value of your network, it is worth working through those feelings if you find yourself in a breakup with another member of your networking group. Do not lose your network of valuable referral sources you have built. The more professional you remain following the breakup, the higher your regard will be by your group. Therefore, remember not to talk badly about the other person or discuss the breakup situation with other members of the group.

Whatever the reason, many people involved in business networking may one day face a situation with “the elephant in the room”. Remember not to focus on growing the problem but on growing your business. Do not burn bridges with people in your group by avoiding them or the uncomfortable situation. Instead, talk to them about your concerns. You never know what the future will bring. You might end up being friends and valued referral partners with the former elephant.

definition of networking

My New Definition of Networking

One word that has had multiple definitions over the years concerning business growth is networking. For some business owners, networking was defined as compiling a huge database of names, usually by collecting business cards. Other entrepreneurs defined networking as the opportunity to meet people and personally prospect for business. Still, other businesspeople defined networking as nothing more than schmoozing and boozing, with no specific intention except to be seen and socialize. Therefore, I needed to consolidate these various thoughts on the definition of networking based on my experiences into one definition of networking:

“The process of developing and using your contacts to increase your business, enhance your knowledge, expand your sphere of influence, or serve your community”

This definition stood the test of time for many years. However, times have changed. During the past nine months, business people have survived the most challenging economic time since the Great Depression. I realize that my definition of networking needs to evolve to reflect our changing times and business climate. There are some truths to retain from my original definition of networking. However, a few concepts need updating.

“Using” updates to “Activates”

The word “using” sounds rather harsh with the negative concept of “using” someone for something. However, when one “activates” others, the engagement becomes interactive and inspiring to take action together. The word “using” implies an action like a one-way street, while the word “activating” implies an interaction like a major two-way highway.

In these changing times, we need to be more inspiring and engaging when networking. Entrepreneurs who “activate” their network have higher networking results than those that are “using” someone.

“Contacts” updates to “Relationships”

The word “contacts” is an impersonal term for the names in one’s database. However, we cultivate genuine and authentic positive “relationships” with the people we feel are important to include in our network. Our “relationships” are something that we build together over time.

Networking is more about farming than it is about hunting. Commit to mastering what it takes to efficiently and effectively harness the potential in your “relationship crops” and you will reap a bountiful harvest of mutually satisfying relationships and sustainable growth in your business.

Includes “Online Networking”

In 2013, I wrote a blog about the beginning of online networking and recommended the importance of integrating this type of networking into your overall referral marketing strategy. I did not predict back then that seven years later the business world would be experiencing “The Great Pause” and we would all be working from home.

In 2020, in-person “face-to-face” networking came to a halt because of the current health situation. Many governments banned indoor group events. Even if you cannot go to your usual places to network face-to-face with others at mixers, meetings, or social events, you can still take action and build up your networking online.

Online networking provides many ways to connect with others, even if not face-to-face. In BNI, back in March 2020, we switched all 9,500 of our BNI chapters from weekly in-person meetings to online Zoom meetings as we embraced online networking. The goal is still the same as with in-person networking.  We focus on developing strong relationships with others and activate them to inspire others to support our businesses.

Online networking works! Our BNI members have already helped their fellow BNI members generate over $11.7 billion US dollars in revenue so far in 2020, resulting from over 8.6 million referrals exchanged. Therefore, amid these challenging times, referrals generated from online networking are helping many businesses stay open.

My new definition of networking is “The process of developing and activating your relationships to increase your business, enhance your knowledge, expand your sphere of influence, or serve the community”.

The changes may seem small, yet they are significant. I needed to modify my definition of networking with these updates. I believe this is a better representation of the concept of networking these days. Successful networking is about helping others as a way of growing your business. The people you help are more willing to help you or connect you to the people they know. Through networking, you can build a referral-based business by activating your relationships either online or in-person.

By simply changing a few words in my original definition of networking, I created what I believe is the true meaning of effective networking. My revised definition of networking is congruent with my style of networking. The same style of networking that BNI teaches our members every day. We know after 36 years of changing people’s lives that networking works. Your local BNI community can give you, and the people that you know, the support you need to thrive. Today, more than ever, you need to be networking. Today, more than ever, you need BNI.

networking benefits

The Networking Benefits

Networking benefits outweigh the perceived obstacles. These obstacles include the time away from the office to the cost to join the networking group. However, the networking benefits far exceed these concerns. The biggest benefit of networking is building strong relationships with others. The more solid relationships you build, the more credible you become. The more your credibility grows, the more people will hire and recommend you. Therefore, there are networking benefits that affect your finances, customer spending, and the impression of the quality of your business.

The Financial Networking Benefits

Before looking at the financial networking benefits there are both soft- and hard-money costs to consider. “Hard money” includes credit cards, cash, checks, and other possessions with monetary value. The term “soft money” is used to assign value to services or the invested time you spend on your business, otherwise known as sweat equity.

The time investment in business networking also builds social capital. Businesses develop and maintain solid, professional relationships through successful networking which create the value behind social contacts. The value of your invested time – “soft money” – is actually greater than the value of your “hard money” spent. Calculate the value of soft-money investments in networking and building relationships. You will be surprised at the financial value you have delivered to your business.

Networking Benefits Include These Positive Wealth Effects

  • Added sales volume
  • Higher average transaction amount per sale
  • Greater closing ratio
  • Referrals tend to be very qualified professionals
  • Higher occurrences of leads and referrals
  • More repeat business
  • Greater positive word-of-mouth marketing benefits
  • More customer loyalty
  • Stronger community recognition
  • Greater perceived value

The Networking Benefits on the Impression of Quality

The impression of the quality of your business is powerful. Consumers are willing to pay more for services and products that they equate to be of higher quality. The impression people have about the quality of your business is enhanced through networking.

Networking allows others to share testimonials about your business and to say good things about you. They help to convey the image of quality for your business. Networking allows others to say things about you that may be considered bragging if you said them. Imagine how powerful it is when your fellow networkers believe in you, they cannot stop talking about you with people they know. Your name is passed along with more and more frequency and confidence.

Your networking efforts are rewarded in many ways. After you have repeatedly established proof of quality, you will be referred to in such a manner that will greatly enhance your customer spending, and positively affect your finances. In conclusion, these networking benefits greatly outweigh the perceived obstacles.

Asking For Expert Advice From Your Personal Mastermind Group

Every good business network can become a personal mastermind group that is accessible by its members to gain knowledge and information from the other members. Even though you are networking to receive referrals for your business, you also gain access to this diverse group of business professionals in your network. If you have not been asking for expert advice from your fellow members, you are missing out on an amazing benefit: a personal mastermind group.

A powerful business network not only can help you expand your business, it also can help you improve your business. There is nothing more powerful than having a room full of people who are ready and willing to help you succeed as your personal mastermind group. However, asking for expert advice from your fellow members requires a little finesse. Here are a few thoughts to ponder when you want to ask someone in your network for advice.

Five Tips to Consider Before Asking For Expert Advice

1. Before you ask for something, give something.

It is important to build some social capital with the people in your network before you start asking for favors. Seeking help from people before you have given anything is a little like trying to get a withdrawal from your banking account without having put anything into it first.

2. Restrict your requests for advice to that person’s area of expertise.

Otherwise, you risk putting a fellow network member on the spot and making him or her uncomfortable.

3. Do not have hidden motives.

If network members believe you are seeking advice as a subterfuge for promoting your own services, they will not only be offended and unwilling to help you, they may also feel less confident about your ability to help them.

4. Avoid potentially controversial and sensitive issues.

This may sound like common sense, however if you delve too far into the personal topics, you could cause discomfort and damage the relationship.

5. Do not ask for advice that people would normally charge you for.

A quick question or two is fine, however you want to avoid excessive questioning. There is a difference between soliciting free advice and encroaching upon asking for free services. You do not want to do anything that will jeopardize the strong business relationship you are building with them.

The Rewards When Someone Is Asking For Expert Advice

Receiving a request for your expert advice can lead to so much more. An owner of a small creative-services firm wanted to relocate to another state. However, she became frustrated with the difficulty in communicating with the various state agencies that were two time zones away. Her plans came to a standstill.

The business owner decided to ask for expert advice from the certified public accountant (CPA) in her networking group during an upcoming one-to-one meeting. She provided a brief overview of her situation to him. The CPA was very knowledgeable about the state that she wanted to move to. The business owner was rewarded for asking for his help. He quickly provided her lots of expert advice on moving her business.

Furthermore, the CPA was also rewarded for giving his expert advice. The owner of the creative services firm hired the CPA to help resolve her problems with the move. Then, she transferred all of her financial and record-keeping functions to his firm. Plus, she also referred to him three other business owners as potential clients. In return, the CPA connected her with a major new customer. Surprisingly, all of this happened from a single request of asking for expert advice from one member of a networking group to another. Givers Gain®

Build your business networking group and grow your personal mastermind group too. Think about the expert advice you would love to discuss with someone. Then, you and your fellow chapter members can invite these various business professionals to visit your chapter. If one of them decides to join your chapter, you will have someone to build a strong relationship with to turn to for the expert advice you seek as part of growing personal mastermind group.

gain

It’s OK to Gain

Today’s blog is an excerpt from the book, “Infinite Giving – The 7 Principles of Givers Gain®”, by Dr. Ivan Misner, Greg Davies, and Julian Lewis. The book is available on either the Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk websites as a paperback book or a Kindle eBook download. Use these links to gain your copy or order multiple copies and “begin the giving” by gifting the book to others. Purchase the paperback book version at https://tinyurl.com/InfiniteGiving or download the Kindle Book version at https://tinyurl.com/InfiniteGivingKindle today.

infinite giving 7 principles

Givers Gain is two words and receiving is part of the philosophy

Right at the heart of Infinite Giving is the philosophy of Givers Gain. Remember the second word, Gain. Givers Gain is two words and receiving is part of the philosophy. Being a good receiver of a gift is vital to ensure the philosophy works and that it leads to a life of Infinite Giving. Without accepting that it is OK to gain, a giver will soon find themselves out of resources, and the giving will stop. It is vital that the great givers also gain what they need so that they can give over and over. In that way, Infinite Giving becomes a part of who they are and how they act daily. Many people talk about the concept of “you only get out what you put in”. This is often true of gaining within the philosophy of Givers Gain. Giving first is fundamental. But, you cannot constantly give at your own expense.

Brenda Jones’ Liver Story

The story of Brenda Jones illustrates this point beautifully. In 2016, Brenda Jones was a 69-year-old great-grandmother. She had spent a long year on the donor list waiting to receive a liver. On July 18, a hospital in North Texas called—they had a viable liver for her. It was the call she and her family had been waiting for; there was hope.

Meanwhile, 23-year-old Abigail Flores had a crisis, and she had suffered complete liver failure. She also needed a liver and only had hours to live. Her situation was more urgent than Brenda’s. Without a transplant, doctors feared Abigail had maybe one more day to live. The transplant surgeon Dr. Greg McKenna called Brenda and asked her if she would give up her donor organ to save the life of this young woman.

Brenda agreed to give the organ to Abigail. She said of the gift, “In my heart, I wouldn’t have been able to live with the liver if I had let this little girl die. I just knew this is what I had to do.” Brenda was placed back at the top of the donor list and got a new liver just four days later. Both women recovered together in the same ward.

There will always be people who need a new liver. However, Brenda gave away her first chance for what she saw as the greater good. This does not mean, however, that she needed to sacrifice her own life and pass up every opportunity offered to her. It was right for her to accept the second transplant and the new lease of life that came along with it.

Create Opportunities to Gain

It is OK to accept and create opportunities to gain provided you are an equal part of the Givers Gain Community. If you have put in, then it’s right that you should take out. Indeed, even if you have not put in then sometimes you just have to fill your cup so that it may overflow into your saucer.

This is the way Givers Gain works. We must be receptive to gaining. Even the biggest givers need to gain from time to time. One tendency when you are a giver is to push people away saying, “It’s OK,” I do not need help. This can come over as not wanting to impose or, more dangerously interpreted, that you are in some way superior to others in your community.

Build Trust in Your Network

Sometimes we don’t want to be a burden or appear vulnerable in front of our peers. The fact is, in a room full of people, there will always be some who are growing, some who are successful, and there will be those who are facing a challenge. We know it is better to face challenges together. The confidence to be vulnerable comes from building trust within a team or a group. When trust is high and strong, then people are more willing to ask for the help they need. Building trust in your network is a key strategy to unlock the power of the gain side of Givers Gain.

Our experience is that people can be very uncomfortable about seeking gain. They believe that Givers Gain is all about giving and that the gaining should not even cross their mind. This is an understandable thought process; however, it is also all part of the philosophy to ask your community for support when you need it and be open to gaining as much as you are to give.

Give the “Excess”

If you do not get this right, then eventually you will be running on empty and you will drop out of your Givers Gain Community. We should only be giving the “excess” of what we have available, and at the same time by gaining, you refill your reserves and allow others the opportunity to experience the gift of giving. We are often too busy in our routines to recognize when others are experiencing “pain.” This oversight is not through neglect or an unwillingness to assist. It is simply because sometimes life gets in the way.

Ask for what you need and not what you think the community can provide. The fact is that in high-trust groups people are very willing to work with you on what you need. We suggest that when the time is right you should ask for what you need and not what you think the community can provide.

Andy’s Asking Story

This is illustrated by Andy’s story. Andy spent two years in his BNI group, giving thoughtful referrals, doing the one-to-ones, and not always feeling much return. He knew the group trusted him and he got the odd referral here and there. The problem was that he was simply not being clear in what he wanted to gain from his group and membership.

He got to a point where his business was at a make or break time … so he stood up and asked the room for help. He said, “I want to be here; I want to succeed, and I could use all of your help to get there. I have three months to turn things around otherwise I’ll have to leave and seek employment.” Within an hour he had referrals and, more importantly, ideas and feedback. Six months later, his business model changed (thanks to a member’s advice). He now has regular repeat referrals from all of the business community, and he now asks for what he wants.

When you’ve built a meaningful relationship, you’ve earned the right to ask. The responsibility is on us to ask for assistance when needed. Therefore, I am asking for your help in making the book, “Infinite Giving”, an Amazon Best Seller this week by buying it as a Kindle eBook at https://tinyurl.com/InfiniteGivingKindle today.

7 Principles

The 7 Principles of Givers Gain®

Today’s blog is an excerpt from the book, “Infinite Giving – The 7 Principles of Givers Gain®”, by Dr. Ivan Misner, Greg Davies, and Julian Lewis. The book is available on either the Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk websites as a paperback book or a Kindle eBook download. Use these links to buy your own copy or order multiple copies and “begin the giving” by gifting the book to others. Purchase the paperback book version at https://tinyurl.com/InfiniteGiving or download the Kindle Book version at https://tinyurl.com/InfiniteGivingKindle today.

infinite giving 7 principles

The 7 Principles of Givers Gain

The 7 Principles of Givers Gain are a guide to obtaining and sustaining the wonderful concept of Infinite Giving. They are also a check and measure for every aspect ensuring that people maintain harmony in their lives.

7 principles

   The 7 Principles of Givers Gain
    1) Are They in Your Light?
    2)  Give Without Expectation.
    3)  Give More Than Expected.
    4) Give What You Can Afford.
     5) It’s OK to Gain.
     6) Stay Humble.
     7) Show Gratitude.

 

Live a life of Infinite Giving

People who live Givers Gain believe that the world is a better place when our first thought is to give. We codified the 7 Principles of Givers Gain in this book as a way of putting structure around a philosophy. It is designed to help people who wish to adopt the concept and use it to its full potential. The principles are the result of the combined experience of the authors. Furthermore, they build upon our thoughts and subsequent decades of implementing the concept.

Givers Gain is an elegant and simple phrase that people can unite behind both personally and as a group. Its simplicity is its power as with lots of great philosophies of life. Because it is so simple, it opens itself up to wild interpretation by those who hear it. Yet when left unchecked, simplicity can get corrupted and misinterpreted. When this happens the value and power of the philosophy are reduced both personally and collectively. The 7 Principles are designed to magnify the positive effect of the philosophy of Givers Gain.

Givers Gain starts with us all taking personal responsibility for our actions in the context of the 7 Principles, which will lead to a personal life of Infinite Giving. Once we have set the standard for ourselves, we can then move on to our wider community in ever-increasing circles. In addition to creating a much bigger impact on the world through Givers Gain, the principles introduce some new elements to the philosophy that allow it to move beyond its beginnings in BNI and into the global population with structure and purpose. One such element is the idea of Givers Gain Communities.

Givers Gain Communities

The Givers Gain Communities are distinct groups of people who have a strong connection with each other and to the philosophy of Givers Gain. Givers Gain Communities started in BNI. The 7 Principles of Givers Gain allow many diverse groups of people to adopt Givers Gain as a philosophy in life and business. These communities, whether a part of BNI or not, can use these principles to ensure that their giving and the benefits derived from giving are sustainable forever. When people in these communities understand the power of Givers Gain, they can use the principles to ensure that their giving is appropriate and sustainable.

The 7 Principles also introduce the concept of fairness and equality to Givers Gain. If abused, the philosophy can be manipulated to gain but not to give by people with low levels of integrity. On the flip side to that, some people spend so much energy in giving that their gain fails to meet their basic needs, and this can cause them hardship. Once everyone has adopted the principles of Givers Gain, then the whole world can both give and gain in a way that is viewed as fair in modern society.

The principles are also there to protect active members of our Givers Gain Communities. We’ve seen people who have stepped away from a group or community without feeling the full benefit of Infinite Giving. It’s often accompanied by the phrase, “they just didn’t get it.” What we realized was, is that what they didn’t get was that there were steps that had to be taken. Plus, principles that had to be applied before they could become a part of the Givers Gain Community.

Imagine a world where diversity is a strength, and everybody can create success.

Giving will only be sustainable when the principles are applied in full and the process of Infinite Giving can begin. We do, however, understand that, on a global scale, there will always be an imbalance. Some people have more resources than others. Givers Gain is simply a philosophy that says if I give to you then you will be motivated to give to me or others within our Givers Gain Community. If enough people do this within the boundaries of the 7 Principles of Givers Gain, then communities around the world will be in a better place.

When Givers Gain is understood well, people can adopt the philosophy as a way of life. They can spread the word in their communities and make the world not just a better place but also a nicer place. We will achieve a world where everyone can thrive in line with their talent and as a result of their hard work.

36 years

36 Years of Growth, Passion, Inspiration, and Changing Lives

BNI is approaching 36 years of consecutive growth since it launched in 1985. I do not know of any other organization in the world that can point to that. In those 36 years, there have been many disruptions including recessions, wars, and major weather events (such as earthquakes, wildfires, and tsunamis). Nevertheless, BNI has continuously grown for 36 years.

2020 has been full of many of these disruptions in addition to a global pandemic, which led to people spending most of the year in “the great pause”. However, I believe we can actually help even more people this year recover and grow, too. Today, BNI has the most comprehensive set of collateral material, educational content, and technology available to help support and change the lives of business owners worldwide. Therefore, our local BNI members have every resource needed to help support and change the lives of their local business community.

Watch this video to learn about the special tool I used in 1985 to open 20 BNI chapters in that first year. The theme for this advice will help anybody in any business.

36 Years of Passion and Inspiration

Over the years, I was passionate about spreading the word and helping more and more people succeed in their business. Nothing great in life has ever been done without a little bit of passion. Although I love the technology, processes, and systems we have today, the one thing we need for chapters to grow is passion. What first made you passionate about BNI? Think about this and share your “MY BNI” story with other business owners. Share your passion with them and help inspire them to change their lives. I want you to inspire people. I want you to inspire people to inspire other people. Take away all the stuff and you can still inspire others to grow. Trust me, I had nothing but one sheet of paper and a ton of passion for what BNI could do for others. I was passionate about helping people with their circumstances to change their lives, and we grew and accomplished great things together.

 36 Years of Changing Lives

Today, people need BNI, communities need BNI, and countries need BNI. More than they did almost 36 years ago. I believe that together we can again make a difference in more people’s lives. Let’s make 2020 BNI’s 36th year of consecutive growth. Help me in spreading our “Givers Gain” philosophy and BNI’s mission around the world. Together, we can help other business people to get through these challenging times. Let’s celebrate 36 years of changing lives with BNI.

Passion: It’s the one thing no one can give you. With passion, you can make a difference. More importantly, you can change lives. Focus on your passion and focus on inspiring more people in your community to change their lives. They need you. Now, more than ever, they need BNI.

"Restart the World"

Now is the time to “Restart the World”

Business people have survived the most challenging economic time since the Great Depression. Over the years, I have seen BNI members come together and support other entrepreneurs after hurricanes, tsunamis, wildfires, floods, and other natural disasters. I am incredibly proud that BNI members helped one another when the unexpected business disruption or personal life issue occurred.  They are the embodiment of our “Givers Gain®” philosophy.  I know, with the help of their fellow business professionals, we can “Restart the World” together.

Please watch this video as I share an incredible story of hope I witnessed from the days after the 1994 Northridge California Earthquake.

“Restart the World”

The past eight months have been the most challenging economic time since the Great Depression. On September 15th BNI declared that we are taking a leadership role in restarting the world from the Covid-19 pandemic. This is a global movement to help businesses, big and small, restart and grow together. We have already received many amazing stories of how our BNI members have survived and thrived during “the great pause”. Presently, our BNI members have already helped their fellow BNI members generate over $10,000,000,000 (over ten billion US dollars) worth of business in the midst of these challenging times from referrals generated from online networking. BNI wants to build a strong future for the others businesses worldwide during this difficult time with your help.

Help us to “Restart the World” in your local area.

  • Reach out to other local entrepreneurs and business professionals
  • Invite them to visit your online BNI chapter meeting
  • Show them how your BNI chapter can support them at your meetings
  • Educate them on ways to grow their business with networking to help them as they help others
  • Share your BNI story and testimonials from referrals you have given and received
  • Invite them to join your BNI chapter and be part of our successful restart in their area
  • Show them that BNI is about helping and supporting one another in good times and in bad

Become a beacon of hope in a sea of fear. Let us change our circumstances and “Restart the World” together. Your local BNI community can give you, and the people that you know, the support you need to thrive. Today, more than ever, you need your network. Today, more than ever, you need BNI.

Attitude

Attitude Is a Choice. Choose Wisely.

Some days my schedule involves marathon radio interviews beginning at 4 a.m. 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 and chairman of an international 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, how tired I was, or how I wished I was back in my warm bed?  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: In order to be a master networker, you must always maintain a positive attitude no matter what.  With almost three 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 talk (or at least limping along, stubbed toe and all) and maintaining the positive attitude of a master networker.

Now that I’ve shared one of the most important traits of a master networker, I figure I might as well give you another eight as well. Choosing to do these will most definitely make you more successful…

Attitude is not everything

1. Following up on referrals If you don’t take the time to follow up on the referrals you get from others, not only are you losing potential business – you are also losing the trust of those who referred you (and probably also any future referrals from them as well).

2. Being enthusiastic/motivated This is similar to number 2 just above, but it also has to do with your own internal motivation and drive to succeed.

3. Being trustworthy It’s a proven fact that it’s much harder to re-gain trust after it is lost – choose the path of trustworthiness.

5. Always networking The strongest networkers I’ve met are those who don’t turn their networking efforts “on” and “off” according to pre-determined hours. Networking is not a “punch the clock” activity.

6. Thanking people This sounds so simple and obvious, but I continue to be surprised at the number of people I see not doing this!

7. Enjoying being someone who helps people This trait is very difficult to fake. A sincere love of helping others is an unbeatable complement to a hard and focused business drive.

8. Being sincere Another trait that is pretty easily seen through if it’s not really meant. No one wants to do business with a snake-oil salesman.

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 choose to 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 traits of a master networker and think of three ways you can build your effectiveness in these areas.

networking system

Use Your Networking System for Better Results in Less Time

Last week, I held a 3-day live global event to effectively “Restart the World” to help businesses navigate these challenging times. Feedback received from the event attendees said that networking will be a key element by establishing strong relationships with each other. Furthermore, those attendees who credited networking for their previous pre-pandemic success said they maintained a networking system for measuring the monetary value of their networking activity. Therefore, I advise entrepreneurs worldwide to create and use a networking system as businesses return post-pandemic to our “new normal”. I have observed over the years that those that use a networking system achieve better networking results in less time.

People who used systems generated more business. The more systematic you learn to make your networking, the more productive you can be. Building a networking system is key to building a successful business. You will need a networking system for following up, staying in touch, and tracking your networking results. Especially these days as we tend to have less face-to-face in-person networking events and fewer hours to spend with our online networking.  We need to become more efficient and more productive with our networking by using and benefiting from a networking system.

Past research and videos on networking systems

According to my research, people who had a system to track their business were more likely to have felt that networking has played a role in their success. Those who felt that networking did not play a role in their success were twice as likely to not have a system for tracking their business. This is a powerful finding for people who wish to produce a referral-based business.  Those people who do not use systems to track their business felt that they are not successful in their networking.

Furthermore, watch this classic video from 2012 to find out how creating a system for referral marketing generate substantially more business through referrals.

Finally, in another 2012 video, I discuss with my good friend and BNI Executive Director, Mark Carmody, about the more systems you incorporate into your business, the more successful you’re going to be, over time.

Survey data is based on a survey of over 12,000 people from every populated continent in the world.  This survey is the basis of the book – Business Networking and Sex.

What should you track with your networking system?

  • The organizations you belong to and the results you are getting from them.
  • The time you spend networking and working your network.
  • The amount of money you’ve made from networking.
  • The people who are sending you referrals and how much of your income they’re responsible for.

You also need systems for following up with the people you meet. Stay in touch with your network members, reward your referral sources, and help your referral sources in return.

The old saying that we “treasure what we measure” turns out to be highly relevant in networking. Developing and using a good networking system will enable you to get better networking results in much less time. Your networking system will enable you to spend less time finding new clients. Therefore, you will have more time working with your established contacts. By building your network, you can provide yourself with even more referral opportunities.

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