Decision Fatigue – It Can Happenstring(34) "Decision Fatigue – It Can Happen"

I’ve been a member of the Transformational Leadership Council (TLC) for the past 19 years. The TLC was established by Jack Canfield and is a group of innovative and out-of-the-box leaders from all around the world. We meet twice a year and I use this time to expand my mind, brainstorm new content for my blog and articles, and most of all, learn from the incredible teachers around me.

A few years ago at our meeting in Napa Valley, California, there was a topic that really got my attention – it was the idea of “decision fatigue.”

In decision making and social psychology, decision fatigue refers to the exhaustion that sets in when someone is presented with the need to make one decision after another, back-to-back, over and over and over again.

This can happen in several ways. For example, it can be as simple as going to a grocery store or market and being confronted with one bad choice for food after another. By the time you are checking out, your willpower becomes weak, and you buy some candy on the way out of the check stand (that’s why they place it there!)

It can also be related to a very long day of having to make many decisions. If you are making tough calls all day long, the quality of the decisions will drastically diminish by the end of the day. It might play out over a very long period of time – weeks, months, or years – where you are confronted with one challenging decision after another. After an extended period of time, you feel exhausted and drained from having to make so many decisions about so many different issues. It is easy to experience “burnout” as a result.

In running a global organization (BNI) with an incredible amount of competing demands, this last consideration really rang true for me. I often felt that the serious nature of the ongoing decisions that needed to be made could create a massive amount of long-term stress for me. One way I combated this stress was to schedule dedicated “mental health days” to reset my mindset and get in a better place. This is something I continue to do to this day; it is regularly scheduled in my calendar.

Decision fatigue is a real condition. If you have experienced it, I’d like to hear what you do to combat this feeling in your life. Leave a reply below.




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Add a “P.S.” to Your Email Signaturestring(40) "Add a “P.S.” to Your Email Signature"

P.S. is the abbreviation for “postscript.” The definition of postscript is: used at the end of letter or email after you have signed your name to show that you are adding a short remark or message not included in the main part.

In my book, Networking Like a Pro 2nd Edition, my co-author, Brian Hilliard, and I discuss ways to get more referrals by developing a formalized referral strategy.
One idea that we share is to make a brief addition—a P.S. message—to your email signature. It is a strategy that is easy to do but is not used very often.

Our suggestion is that at the end of your automated email signature, you can include something similar to this:

P.S. A great referral for me would be someone who brings in speakers for their organization. If you know someone who needs a speaker in the areas of Marketing, Mindset, and Personal Achievement, I’d appreciate it if you mention my name. Thanks!

A message very similar to that goes out on all of the emails from Brian Hilliard. The number of referrals those simple words generate is surprising.

Change it Up

If you really want to kick it up a notch, then consider changing your message every two or three months. This can be especially useful for people who work in industries that are seasonal. For example, in the month of March, you’re asking for one type of referral, and then in June, you mention a different one. This helps keep your message fresh and gets people to pay attention to your email signature!

Referrals do not happen overnight. Referrals are the product of time, thought and a good bit of energy put toward deepening the relationships of those around you.

When you get organized and structure your referral-generating activities into a formalized strategy, including techniques like adding a P.S. to your email signature, you will absolutely find an increase in referral-based business.

I’d like to hear from you. If you use the ‘email P.S.’ idea, share what yours says and the results you’ve received in the comments below.

What is the Definition of Success?string(34) "What is the Definition of Success?"

No matter what we call it, we all pursue success. Each of us has desires and we strive to achieve them. Our desires may be different from anyone else’s, and we may not consider achieving them to be “success.” We look around and see people whose success we might envy. What is John doing with his supply of hours in any given day that puts him so far ahead of me in money, friends, and influence?  Why is he successful, and why am I not? Why is he flying his own Learjet while I’m rattling around in this two-year-old Jaguar? Why is she living in a new house and raising three perfect children while I’m still looking for a mate? Why is that guy’s cardboard box so much bigger than mine, and where did he get that super-sized shopping cart? I could go on and on with examples.

However, without knowing all the facts, without being inside the mind of the other person, you cannot say whether that person is more successful than you.  Maybe he’s worth $100 million but is unhappy because his goal was to become governor by the age of 40 and he is growing tired of the frenetic pursuit of power. And maybe you are not as wealthy as you wanted to be, and yet you’ve made it through great personal difficulties and are pleased to have kept your finances afloat and your family intact. Which of you is more successful? Fulfilling any personal desire is success by any reasonable definition, and you’ve achieved some very important and satisfying goals.

The measure of your success is how well you use your productive time to achieve the goals that are important to you. Not how you measure up compared to everybody else – but how well you have used your own abilities and resources to achieve worthy goals, however humble they may be, for yourself and for the people who are important to you. Who knows? Perhaps that would-be governor could be watching you and saying to himself, “I’m a miserable failure. When did I decide money was more important than enjoying my work? Why didn’t I stay off the fast track and spend more time with my kids? Why can’t I take it easy and enjoy life like George is doing?”

Success is Personal

Dictionaries define success as the achievement of something desired, planned, or attempted. But in real life, success is a slippery concept, especially when you come to your own personal definition of it. Success is a relative thing and highly personal.

Many an exhausted high achiever has reached a lofty goal only to discover that it was a false peak, that the true summit loomed much higher. Others have reached the highest heights only to find them barren and empty, and then realized the only way down was… down. Yet many a modest achiever has trekked through a lifetime of rocky trails and boggy swamps to realize what a glorious and rewarding trip it has been after all. And the ex-addict who is stacking lumber? Every day on the job can be a victory for them.

So, now that you have an idea of how ephemeral this notion of success is, how do you go about achieving it? If you’re looking for a generic formula, you won’t find it–there isn’t one. Success depends on timing, circumstances, situations, and–most important–your own perception of what success is. There is no mathematical standard for measuring when and how thoroughly you’ve achieved it. There are many ways to measure success, but in the final analysis, it’s how you measure it for yourself that truly counts.

How do you personally measure success? I’d love to know your thoughts in the comments below. Thanks!

There’s No Secret Formula to Being Good at Networking — But There Is One Thing You Needstring(95) "There’s No Secret Formula to Being Good at Networking — But There Is One Thing You Need"

Is the journey to success in business networking bound by mathematical formulas, or is it about something else? Here’s what I’ve found is the actual secret to making connections in networking.

Decades ago, I went to a breakout session at a BNI® conference that was called “The Mathematical Formula for Networking Success.” Well, as the founder of the organization, I absolutely had to see this presentation to learn the working formula for successful business networking.

The speaker began his presentation by writing a formula on the flip chart. He talked about “D” representing Dunbar’s average number of relationships and “M” representing Metcalf’s law (also known as the Squared Connection Effect). He continued with a very convoluted and confusing formula doing the square root of one thing and multiplying it by something that seemed totally irrelevant to me.

He hesitated as he spoke to us. He put his fingertips to his lips and hemmed and hawed in his presentation. It was uncomfortably clear to all of us that he was confused and bewildered by his own formula. Not only that, but we were also very confused and bewildered by his formula as well. We all sat there feeling pretty embarrassed for him.

That’s when he turned around to the hundreds of people in the room, picked up a huge red felt marker and put a giant red “X” through the entire formula and said to all of us: “Oh forget about the math — it’s all about relationships!”

The entire room simultaneously exploded into laughter. He was right. Business networking (when done right) is all about the relationships you build.

It’s All About Relationships

He went on to explain that there is no mathematical formula for success in business networking. It’s all about nurturing professional relationships — and while there may not be a mathematical formula, there are some principles that, when applied properly, add up to great results in networking.

  1. Ensure others know, like and trust you

“Know, like and trust” — that is the process that businesspeople need to follow to feel comfortable referring to other people. I refer to this as the VCP Process®. First you have to have Visibility in the community by going to networking events. Then you establish Credibility by building a solid reputation for doing good work. After that, the relationships can lead to Profitability through referrals. Don’t just go to networking events to do face-to-face cold calling. Go to them to work your way through the VCP Process.

  1. Maintain consistent communication

Building and maintaining relationships requires what I like to call “touch points.” How often are you reaching out and connecting with the people in your network? Regularly checking in, sharing updates, and expressing genuine interest in what other people are doing helps to keep connections alive. Benign neglect or letting relationships dissipate over time dramatically weakens your network.

Doing regular 1-2-1s with people, whether in person or online, can help keep the relationship alive. In fact, one university study conducted by Beatrice Sparacino in Europe discovered that people who do four or more 1-2-1s a month both give and receive twice as many referrals as people who do only one 1-2-1 a month. Whether through face-to-face interactions, emails, or social media, maintaining open lines of communication reinforces the bond between you and your network. Consistent communication ensures that connections remain strong, even in the absence of immediate opportunities, and allows for a more natural progression of the relationship over time.

  1. Hone the description of what you do

Describing what you do definitely depends on your audience. Giving one line at a chamber of commerce event is substantially different than doing a weekly 60-second presentation at a group like BNI. For example, if you are doing one sentence about what you do to a large group — use a memory hook. One of the first I ever heard was from a dentist who raised his right hand and said: “I believe in the tooth, the whole tooth and nothing but the tooth.” With just a dozen words or so, he made sure everyone in that room would remember who he was and what he did.

On the other hand, if you are in a networking group where you have a little more time to speak and you do so weekly, you need to do something that is fairly counterintuitive. Namely, don’t take a broad brush and explain your business in generalities. Instead, get laser-specific about one aspect of your business. Then the next week another specific aspect, and so on. After a year, you have taught the people you network with many ways to refer you. In groups like this, the goal is not to make a sale — it is to train a salesforce to find referrals for you.

  1. Create value with your existing and potential referral partners

Successful networking is not solely about what one can get; it is also about what one can give or contribute. Creating value for others establishes the sense of having a reciprocal relationship. This can involve sharing insights, providing assistance, connecting individuals to relevant resources, and of course, giving someone a valid referral for their business. By contributing to the success of others, individuals strengthen the bonds within their network and become valuable assets themselves.

Recently, I was doing a radio interview and I talked to the host about value creation by asking people who you want to build a professional relationship with this question: “How can I help you?” He said (live, on air) “That tired old phrase — that doesn’t work!” I didn’t want to argue with him on air, so I moved on. When the interview was over, I asked him who were some of the people that he was looking for to get them on the show. He gave me some names. One of them I knew very well. I told him that he was a good friend of mine and I’d be happy to make an introduction. The host thanked me profusely for my offer. That’s when I said to him that that’s how you can ask, “How can I help you?” without using those actual words. He said, “Touché!” and admitted that it can work well after all.

  1. Building a diverse network is vital

Networks are, by nature, clumpy — that’s not the technical term, but they truly do tend to be cluster-like unless we strive to create a broad and inclusive network. People tend to spend time with people that are much like them. However, building relationships with individuals from diverse backgrounds, industries, ethnicities, ages, educations and experiences helps to broaden our perspectives and provide us access to a wider range of opportunities (which I discuss at length in my book The Third Paradigm). These individuals become connectors who connect you to other clusters of people whom you might not normally meet. Embracing diversity in networking not only enhances the richness of our relationships, it also opens doors to a myriad of possibilities for personal and professional growth.

The journey to success in business networking isn’t bound by mathematical formulas but rather it thrives on genuine relationships. The resulting laughter from the mathematical formula resonated with the shared understanding that human connections defy quantification through equations. The core message emerged: Success in networking hinges on meaningful interactions, not complex mathematical computations.

If your network is a mile wide and an inch deep, it will never be successful. It needs to be both wide and, in some places, deep. Meaning that no matter how many people are in your network or how well you are connected — the key is to have deep relationships with people who will be there to help you, support you and refer you over time. This underscores the importance of both breadth and depth in someone’s connections. Merely accumulating a vast network isn’t sufficient; cultivating deep relationships ensures ongoing support and referrals. In essence, the true formula for success in networking lies in the art of building and nurturing authentic connections with others. Relationships are the one thing you need.




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Intentional About Diversity

Being Intentional About Diversity

Being Intentional About Diversity was written with my co-author of Networking


A Sure-Fire Referral Technique for a “Difficult to Refer” Businessstring(78) "A Sure-Fire Referral Technique for a “Difficult to Refer” Business"

Even if your company isn’t the type to easily generate word of mouth, there are still ways you can network and build your business’s reputation.

Face it, some businesses are just more difficult to refer than others. Often, those same businesses struggle to get clients even through traditional advertising methods. Although I firmly believe referral marketing is the best way for almost all types of businesses to grow, in some cases, it’s almost the only way to grow. When I started my business consulting firm more than 40 years ago, I learned these lessons the hard way.

Very few companies retained a consulting firm based on an advertisement. Most of my clients came from referrals, but that took time and I needed to find new business to keep my doors open. Through this struggle, I landed on a technique that I’ve sharing with businesspeople and entrepreneurs for the past four decades. I call it “working the lunchtime-community-service-clubs circuit.”

Speaking Engagements

Years ago, I learned that when I did a speaking engagement, I often got new business. So the key was to get more speaking engagements while I was working on the long-term process referral marketing. Because educating my referral sources took time, getting some speaking engagements was a great short-term approach to building my business. I discovered that this became a specific strategy in and of itself: to build my company through the word of mouth that comes from speaking engagements.

When you schedule an appointment with someone you think might be interested in what you’re selling, that time you spend with them–usually an hour–is important! Imagine having that same one-hour appointment with between 20 and 50 businesspeople in your community, all at the same time! In effect, that’s what you’re doing when you’re asked to make a presentation at various clubs and organizations. While many people may realize the immense networking value that joining and participating in service clubs lends to their credibility in their community, what you may not think about is how much business the speakers at these various meetings can generate.

As an entrepreneur, just how do you go about getting on the calendars of these business and service groups? It isn’t as hard as you might think. With a little creativity, you can put together a presentation that will be informational, educational, and even entertaining for these groups. Most important, you can get referrals from people to help get you in front of them. Usually, program chairpersons are scrambling to find someone different, engaging, and interesting to come in and present to the group. Your job is to help them find you! What I did was to produce a letter that I’d give to the people in my extended network to make it very easy for them to refer me for a speaking engagement.

Here’s a sample of the letter I used to send to program chairs when I owned a consulting firm in Southern California. You’ll see that I was offering much more than a one-hour sales pitch for my service:

Dear Program Chair:

AIM Consulting is a management consulting firm that works with small and midsize businesses. During the past two years, we’ve given a presentation entitled “Entrepreneuring in the 80’s” to more than 60 service organizations such as yours. The presentation deals with managing and motivating employees. It involves participation and interaction with the audience and leaves time for questions at the end. Here are some of the comments we’ve received:

“Fantastic, every service club must hear!”
East LA Rotary

“One of our best…Ivan kept everyone excited.”
Alhambra Optimist

“An excellent talk by an excellent speaker.”
Irwindale Rotary

“Excellent, highly recommended, got a lot of questions.”
Hermosa Kiwanis

If you’re interested in this topic, we’d be glad to visit your club to give this presentation.

Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions.


Ivan R. Misner

I’d take the above letter to networking meetings and give it to people who knew me and wanted to refer me but didn’t know how. I ended up getting a lot of business this way. In fact, one of my largest clients came from a speaking engagement I got using this system.

It Only Takes One

Just one person who contacts you because of this letter can position you in front of numerous businesspeople who might be in the market for your product or service. Once you have the opportunity to make these types of connections, you never know where they’ll lead.

On a related note, I found that it was very important to give the audience something to take away that would bring them back to me. For example, for me, it was a behavior profile instrument. I told them they could take this back to their office, give it to any employee, have them fill it out and mail it back to me, and I’d give them a free four-page analysis of the behavioral characteristics of that employee so they could better understand how to work with that person. By using this tool, I almost always got one or more companies to follow up after I spoke.

Let me give you an example of how a business owner might position himself to be a speaker at an organization’s weekly meeting. Take the case of a hardware store owner I once knew. You might wonder how a hardware store owner could appeal to a program chair who’s looking for someone to speak to a business group. The topic of home safety is a very timely message. Who better than a hardware store owner to fashion a presentation on home safety and give viable tips on things to do around the house to be sure that the home environment is free from hidden–and not so hidden–dangers.

Of course, the members attending that meeting might have a need to take care of some of the things the presenter brings up. Who do you think they’re going to contact for that? Bingo! That week’s speaker is just the person for the job.

The key is to go in with information and education…not a huge sales pitch. People don’t like being sold to, but they do like to buy! A great presentation can motivate your audience to want to buy what it is you have for sale. Not only that, a great presentation can also position you favorably for extended networking with the members and their contacts.

This technique made my company easy for anyone to refer, and it got me a lot of clients while I was busy building my business. Most importantly, this technique can work for almost any business. Next time you think of lunchtime community-service clubs and groups, think leverage, think networking, think business.

Leading from “Among” Not from “Above”string(45) "Leading from “Among” Not from “Above”"

One morning when my good friend, Stewart Emery (Success Built to Last), was at my house visiting, he told me a story while we were having breakfast. It was about an interview he did with a well-known billionaire in the computer industry. The billionaire shared an intriguing story with Stewart about an experience he’d had when the senior executives of a company that was interested in purchasing his company came to visit his office to discuss the possible purchase.

At lunch time, the billionaire told those senior executives that he was going to take them to the Executive Dining Room. They followed him to the dining room, which was very nice but far from extravagant. However, that wasn’t the big surprise. The surprise was that the dining room had a buffet line. The billionaire walked up to the buffet area, picked up a tray, and stood in line behind everyone else. The visiting executives looked around the room as it filled up and realized that this room was not an “executive dining room,” it was the company dining room. The boss stood there in line with all the employees, and he spoke to everyone. No one was afraid to talk to him.

In my opinion, he didn’t lead by being above them; he led by being among them. Stewart told me that the billionaire said the visiting management team was surprised by the fact that he and all of his company’s executives ate with all the employees. One of them commented that this would have to change. For the boss, it was a test. This was not the kind of company that he wanted to sell his business to, and the negotiation ended that day.

It’s a Choice

Companies have a choice. They can move toward exclusivity in their organizational culture, or they can strive for, commit to, honor, and embrace inclusivity in their organizational culture.

Sometimes when people meet me, they say they are surprised that I am approachable. I find that interesting. I think they feel this way because sometimes we, as leaders, act in a way that people perceive as unapproachable. Some leaders act “better than” to other people.

I believe people should be surprised when a leader is unapproachable, not when they are approachable. The problem is that we live in a world where success sometimes creates a sense of separation (with both the organizational leaders and others). One of the key things to embrace in a successful company is the sense that the boss, the owner, the senior executive(s) are, in fact, approachable – to everyone.

I think of Stewart’s story often when I reflect on my years of running and growing BNI® and how much I enjoyed, and still do, the opportunities to be among the people in the organization.

Feel free to share your thoughts and experiences on this topic in the comments below. 




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Why Send a Thank-You Card?string(26) "Why Send a Thank-You Card?"

A simple thank-you card may not sound like much in the big picture of doing business. The old-fashioned, personalized, handwritten thank-you card has been largely replaced by email or text message. Or… expressing gratitude doesn’t happen at all.

Although email is one of the easiest forms of communication, it can also be the least effective. Emails are quickly dismissed because they take such little effort, and we receive so many of them. The same with texts. Unless your message is personal and tailored to the recipient, it will probably be passed by – unseen and unread.

When was the last time you received a traditional, handwritten thank-you card in the post or mail? What was your reaction? How did you feel reading the words that someone took the time to write especially for you?  Most of us are pleasantly surprised and appreciative of the sender’s time and effort. The card may be displayed on our desk or table for a few days or weeks, to be revisited and enjoyed over and over.

Thank People

Expressing gratitude to business associates, customers, and clients is an important building block in the cultivation of relationships – relationships that can lead to referrals. People like to refer others to business professionals that go above and beyond. Taking the opportunity to thank people helps us stand out from the crowd.

Perhaps you think you don’t have time to write a thank-you card. Well, think again. How many times have you found yourself riding the train to work, sitting in the car with your children waiting for the school bus, eating lunch alone, in the waiting room in a medical office, or at a stand-still in a 10-mile-long traffic jam?

All of those are valuable moments of available time that can be used to strengthen a business or networking relationship with a personal touch by writing a thank-you card to someone who gave you a referral, made an in-person introduction, helped with an event, or solved a problem for you.
(Important reminder: Do NOT include your business card, because the minute you include your business card, it becomes about you and not about thanking the other person.)

Be Intentional

Be intentional about gratitude. Schedule time each week (yes, in your work calendar) for writing and sending thank you cards. Keep some blank cards and postage stamps in your car and in your briefcase or purse. Then, when you do find those few minutes of underutilized time, you’ll have a card ready to write on and deposit into the next mailbox you see.

I realize that some people won’t do a handwritten card no matter what I say. I suggest you check into available services, such as in the U.S., that allow you to send a card through the mail that “looks” handwritten but is done from your computer.

The point is, when you appreciate someone’s time and effort, don’t just think about it, take action and thank them! It’s never too late to share gratitude when it is sincere.

Gratitude builds stronger connections. Sending a personal thank-you card doesn’t take much time and costs very little. However, it makes a difference in the people around you, and in yourself. A handwritten card can make a significant impact in the big business picture.

I’d love to hear your experiences and thoughts about thank-you cards. Please leave a comment below.

How to Become a Networking Catalyststring(35) "How to Become a Networking Catalyst"

I am the first to admit that I am not a mechanic. When I was a boy, my father (who could fix just about anything) took me out to the garage one day and said, “Son, you’d better go to college because you’re never going to make a living with your hands.” Well, Dad was right, and that was great advice. I think things have worked out pretty well with his suggestion.

Fully acknowledging my lack of skills as a mechanic, I can, however, tell you how a catalytic converter relates to networking for your business.

The definition of a catalyst is an agent that initiates a reaction. In networking, a catalyst is someone who makes things happen. Without a catalyst, there is no spark, and very little gets done or changes.

What would it take for you to become a catalyst for your business and your network? You need FOUR things: initiative, intention, confidence and motivation.

4 Keys to Become a Catalyst

Catalytic people don’t sit still–they make things happen in all aspects of their lives. As networkers, they stay alert for a problem that needs solving, then spring into action, reaching out to someone from their network to help solve the problem. They operate with a “get it done now” mentality.

Catalytic people operate with intent, and they are goal driven. As networkers, catalytic people have both business and networking goals. They take time to learn the goals of others so they can help people get where they wish to be.

People who are catalysts have confidence in themselves, and they have confidence in the players on their team. This helps to ensure that the task at hand will be accomplished with stellar results.

Catalytic people are not only motivated themselves, they also inspire others to perform at their highest potential. These people excite others to contribute, sharing their energy and excitement through their words and actions. They are motivated by personal and professional rewards that they are eager to share with others, and they sincerely want to help others succeed.

If you want to set your network in motion toward helping your business, make it your goal to become a catalytic person. Think of your network as a row of standing dominoes. Each domino will remain standing until you act upon the first domino. Remember, catalysts take action. Tap the first domino to watch the chain reaction of moving dominoes. Your network is standing in place, waiting for you to set the pieces in motion.

What if you are looking at your rows of dominos and realize there are some gaps that will disrupt the chain reaction? Or perhaps you don’t have as many dominos (networking partners) as you thought you did. To become a networking catalyst, you first need to have a sufficiently populated and diverse network. Connect with potential referral partners and invest time and energy to develop mutually beneficial relationships that broaden your network.

I would love to hear your thoughts. Leave a reply below. Thanks!

Finding an Accountability Partnerstring(33) "Finding an Accountability Partner"

Back when my son was a teenager and I would ask him the dreaded question–“How is that homework coming along?”–I would receive the typical, teenage, roll-of-the-eyes response, and the standard “I was going to finish it after dinner” answer.

Even if you don’t have kids, at one time you were a kid so I’m sure just about everybody can identify with this scenario. As a child, being held accountable for completing your homework was never fun. However, let’s face it–when we are held accountable for our actions, performance, and commitments, it tends to heighten our awareness of what we are responsible for and what we have promised to do.

So it is with networking for your business: accountability is important.  When you make a commitment to yourself to get out of your office or home office and attend productive networking functions, the reality is that sometimes other things come up and we forget those promises. What to do?

Accountability for Networking Your Business

Find an accountability partner. That way, every time you commit to a new networking strategy or to attending a business networking event, your accountability partner can help keep you to the task. Have a weekly phone or video call to meet with them and identify your strategy for the week. Because you have someone waiting to hear about your progress, it’s likely that you will be more inclined to focus on the task at hand.

To find the right accountability partner, ask yourself these questions and write down your answers:

  1. Who do I highly respect as a business colleague?
  2. Who would not be afraid to push me a little to keep me focused?
  3. Who is one person I would never want to disappoint?
  4. Who is also interested in networking their business so that we can be accountability partners for each other?
  5. Who knows me–and my tendency to procrastinate?
  6. Who will follow through on this commitment to me?
  7. Who has the time to help me?

Put at least one person for each question; you may have multiple names for some of the questions. By answering all seven of them, you can identify potential accountability partners for yourself and then reach out to them to have a conversation.

Think about it.  No one likes to knowingly disappoint someone else, and no one wants to feel like their time is wasted by someone else. With an accountability partner, the urge to comply compels us to perform at a higher level and this leads to greater networking results.

Do you have a story about how someone held you accountable in a way that really benefited you?  If so, I’d love to hear it. Share in the comment forum below. Thanks!

Be a Value-Added Friendstring(23) "Be a Value-Added Friend"

Do the people who know you consider their relationship with you to be valuable? Are you a “Value-Added Friend?”

At first glance, it may seem like a way of allowing friends and connections to “use” you. In reality, it helps solidify the likelihood of a long-term relationship with that individual.

Powerful and successful businesspeople want their networks to be strong, deep, and broad. You want your relationships to help strengthen, deepen, and expand the networks of others. You may be wondering, “So how do I do this?”

How do you become a Value-Added Friend?

First, you need to get to know the people who make up your referral team. You want to do more than scratch the surface – you want to really know these people, and you want them to feel like they know you as well. Be aware of how they react to you, and don’t ask them questions that are too personal or invasive. Ask questions about their business, about their hobbies and passions. Understand their goals and learn how you can help them. Once you help someone achieve a goal, you become a Value-Added Friend.

So, how do we become that Value-Added Friend?

  1. Build quality relationships.
    Relationships are a time commitment; they are an investment of your time that is certainly worthwhile. Go beyond your everyday, standard business interactions to truly deepen your relationships and get to know your friends and referral partners. The stronger your friendship, the more you can expect from each other’s networking efforts.
  2. Do more than just show up.
    Seriously. You need to establish credibility and trust with the people at your business networking meetings or events, so just showing up and saying, “I’m here” isn’t going to cut it. You can become Visible with your attendance; however, to build Credibility in the VCP Process®, you have to participate and connect with others while you’re there. Refer back to Number 1 above.
  3. Remember the Givers Gain® philosophy.
    Before you ask what others can do for you, ask what you can do for them. This is perhaps the most powerful way to deepen and widen your networks. You can offer to make an introduction; linking someone to a person you know can lead to profound outcomes. Sharing your knowledge or areas of your skills and expertise can be an impactful contribution to the success of others.

I remind everyone: Do not underestimate the power of helping other people.
When you help someone in a way that serves their needs, you begin to build a professional relationship. Get to know them, learn about their business and their goals. Be sincere when you offer to help, AND THEN DO IT! Sometimes, it is the small ways we help that lead to big results for our friends.

What are you doing to become a Value-Added Friend?




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We All Meet People for a Reason, a Season, or a Lifetimestring(56) "We All Meet People for a Reason, a Season, or a Lifetime"

Relationships for a Reason

Our human connections are tapestries woven with the threads of emotions, experiences, and memories. Throughout our lives we come across individuals who leave a lasting impact on our journey. Some relationships endure for a lifetime while others are transient and serve a purpose during a phase of our life. The concept that we meet people for reasons – be it to learn something, experience personal growth, or even to challenge our perspectives, offers deep insights into the ever- changing nature of human connections.

There are moments in life when certain individuals enter our lives seemingly by chance or fate. These encounters often occur at crossroads acting as catalysts for transformation and progress. It could be a mentor who guides us through obstacles, a friend who provides comfort during challenging times or even an encounter with a stranger that reshapes our entire perspective on life.

For example, think about that colleague who supportively pushes you beyond your comfort zone by challenging your ideas and encouraging innovation. Although this relationship may not last forever, the knowledge and skills honed during this interaction hold value. Similarly, friendships formed during periods of your life such as college roommates or travel companions might be fleeting in duration but can leave lasting impressions.

These connections teach us lessons about ourselves, shape our beliefs, and prepare us for future endeavors.

Relationships for a Season

Like the changing seasons, the dynamics of our relationships also change. Some connections are formed based on shared experiences, common interests or being in proximity to each other. These connections can be incredibly meaningful, although they are often temporary in nature. We refer to them as ” relationships” because they are intense and intimate but have a built-in impermanence.

Think about the friendships we form during phases of life like childhood playmates, buddies from summer camp or colleagues at one of our first jobs. While these bonds can be deep and profound, circumstances often dictate how long they last. As life moves forward and priorities shift, geographical distances increase, leading to drifts in these relationships. Nevertheless, the memories we create together during these seasons stay with us forever and shape who we are.

Connections that Last a Lifetime

Amidst the nature of relationships there are a select few that withstand the test of time. These connections can grow deeper with each passing year. They are rooted in respect, trust, and unconditional caring. Whether they are lifelong friendships or romantic partnerships, the relationships become pillars in our lives.

Lifetime connections give us a sense of belongingness while providing stability and emotional nourishment throughout our journey. They bear witness to our victories and hardships, providing unwavering support and understanding. These relationships necessitate effort, communication, and compromise. The rewards they bring— bonds, shared memories, and mutual growth—are truly unmatched.

Embracing the Transient Nature of Relationships with Gratitude

Understanding that we encounter people in our lives for a reason, a season or a lifetime allows us to navigate relationships with clarity, purposefulness, and grace. Embracing the aspect of connections enables us to value them for what they are—opportunities for personal development, learning experiences and enrichment. By realizing the worth of relationships, we can cherish the moments we share rather than bemoaning their inevitable conclusion.

On the one hand, nurturing connections requires investment of time and energy as well as patience and vulnerability. By prioritizing these relationships in our lives while setting boundaries and maintaining communication channels, we cultivate bonds that withstand the trials of time; this enriches our lives immeasurably.

Embracing the pattern of relationships fosters resilience, adaptability, and gratitude. Recognizing that each person comes into our lives with a purpose—to teach us something challenging or inspiring, or even to love us—empowers us to approach relationships with an open heart and an open mind. By letting go of expectations while embracing change and expressing appreciation for each connection we make along the way, the result is a series of relationships that truly enhance our lives.

The concept that we might come across individuals for a short period or a long period throughout our lives provides insights into the intricate fabric of human relationships. Whether these connections are fleeting or long lasting, each one serves a purpose in shaping our experiences, perspectives and who we are as individuals. By embracing the nature of some relationships, nurturing those that last a lifetime, and approaching every interaction with intentionality and gratitude, we foster genuine connections that greatly enhance our lives.

Therefore, as we navigate the complexities of connecting with people throughout our lives, let us treasure each encounter, acknowledging the value and significance of every relationship regardless of its duration.

Easier Introductions at Networking Eventsstring(41) "Easier Introductions at Networking Events"

Some people really dislike networking events. Why? Well, there are a few common reasons, although the one I hear time after time is: anxiety about introducing yourself to new contacts.

You may be familiar with that nervous feeling as you meet someone new and try to start a conversation. Here are some suggestions that you can include in your introduction with new people that may help take the edge off for you.

  • Remember to tell others your name and your business!
    Yes, this really does happen. I was at a networking event, and someone came over to talk to me. We spoke for a few minutes about their business and their experience with referral networking before they had to excuse themselves. I then I realized that I had never gotten their name, even though they knew mine. If your goal is to introduce yourself to a new contact and leave a lasting impression, definitely make sure you tell them your name.
  • Find common ground.
    One of the best ways to quickly begin establishing a relationship is to find something about your new contact that you can relate to, or you have in common. This also alleviates the pressure when having a conversation with someone new, as it will spark topics you are both comfortable talking about.
  • Ask questions about the other person.
    People love to talk about themselves and their business. Everyone finds it easy to talk about things they know well, and what do people know better than themselves? This will allow the other person to take the lead on the conversation in a positive way, and it helps you learn more about them. The caveat here is to make sure you are asking genuine questions. Asking nonsense questions just to keep asking questions is quite transparent and will negatively impact how you are perceived.
  • Be memorable.
    If you can stand out from the crowd and make yourself unforgettable (in a positive way), you are more likely to develop professional relationships. This is most effective when you are in a one-to-one meeting with somebody rather than in a group setting. When appropriate, use a quirk about yourself, your business, etc., that can resonate with that specific person. This one requires a bit of social intelligence, but when it is done right, it is highly effective.

When you implement these suggestions, you may find it much easier to introduce yourself to someone new at a networking event. Then do it again at the next meeting or event. The more you do it, the easier it gets; nervousness and anxiety diminish, and confidence builds. 

How do you handle meeting someone new at networking events? Leave your reply below.




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