Ivan Misner, Author at Dr. Ivan Misner® - Page 101 of 113

Face-to-Face Vs. Online Networking


Photo courtesy of stockimages at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

While I was in Stockholm giving a presentation on networking recently, a European newspaper reporter with a major publication arranged to do an interview with me. Upon arrival, he really started putting me on the spot about online networking, telling me it is replacing the face-to-face process. He was almost militant in expressing his point of
view and was essentially telling me that traditional networking is going the way of the buggy whip.
 Honestly, I was surprised and a little annoyed at first that this reporter was being so confrontational about networking and I finally asked him:

“Why are you here to do this interview?”

He seemed confused and asked, “What do you mean?”

I said, “I mean, why did you drive all the way out here to this big stadium to meet with me in person just to do this interview? We could have easily done it by phone.”

He looked at me and said, “Interviews are better face-to-face.”

“Exactly! I rest my case,” I replied. “Networking is much the same . . . it beats communicating online, or over the phone, because nothing can ever fully replace an in-person conversation.”

The reporter relented. “Yeah, I get it,” he said, “that makes sense. Some things are much better in person. It’s true.”

Some things are just better in person. Networking is one of them. This doesn’t mean that online networking isn’t valuable–far from it. Online networking is a powerful tool in our arsenal of networking strategies. However, it shouldn’t be the only tool we use because sometimes it’s simply not the best one. For me, the bottom line regarding face-to-face networking vs. online networking is that I don’t think it should be an “either-or” scenario; I think it should be a “both-and” scenario if you want to build a strong personal network.

Until the time comes when we can have a face-to-face meeting with a holographic image like the Jedi Knights of Star Wars, it’s probably still a good idea to network in person whenever possible. 250px-obi-wan_headshot.jpg

By the way, when the world advances to a point where we can do the “Star Wars Networking” thing, I have dibs on being Obi-Wan Kenobi. Come on, it only makes sense.  You have to admit you see the resemblance, right?  I mean, if you slap a dashing smile on his face, we’re practically brothers!  OK, OK . . . maybe I went too far with the “dashing smile” bit, but just remember that I called dibs first. 🙂




How to Really Use LinkedIn

My friend Jan Vermeiren has a new book out called How to Really Use LinkedIn and, put simply, it’s a must-read for anybody who wants to grow a business through networking. Even if you’re already a member of a referral or network organization, Jan offers powerfully advanced strategies on how LinkedIn can help you get even more out of your membership.


The fact is, it’s vital in any economic situation–especially a bad one–to have a network to fall back on or build upon. New opportunities are now open to all of us, thanks to the internet, and LinkedIn is one of the most valuable websites to provide networking on a professional level. More than 34 million people now have a profile on LinkedIn, and the question most people ask is: “How can I benefit from this website without spending too much?”

How to Really Use LinkedIn shows you how to use LinkedIn by giving you a short, step-by-step plan to get immediate results. It also offers advanced strategies for finding new customers, a new job, employees, suppliers, experts and people who can help you get your job done faster. Jan also gives answers to the 24 most frequently asked questions and an overview of 22 little-known LinkedIn features that can make or break your networking activity on LinkedIn.

CLICK HERE for more details about the book, free webinars, and more.

Six Degrees of Separation: Why You Can’t Always Trust Conventional Wisdom

It’s fascinating how information can get distorted in the minds of the public and turn into urban myths.  Just think about Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny (Kris Kringle–I know you’ve written me to let me know you are real but . . . work with me here).

A classic example of the process that breeds urban myths is the idea that everyone on earth is separated by just six degrees of separation from everyone else.  It’s a popular piece of “conventional wisdom” and was the basis for a film starring Will Smith and Donald Sutherland.

The idea actually stems from some experiments done in the late ’60s by social psychologist Stanley Milgram, who asked participants in Nebraska to send a parcel across the United States to a stranger in Boston via people they knew.  Milgram found that there tended to be about six degrees of separation between the senders in Nebraska and the recipient in Boston.

So, why is “six degrees” an urban myth?  Well, the fact that has been omitted time and again is that only 29 percent of the parcels ever got to the intended recipient in Boston.  This means that only 29 percent of the participants were truly connected by six degrees, and the other 71 percent of participants were not.

What does this teach us about business networking?  The answer is this: To become a successful networker, it’s critical to be a part of the minority of people who truly are well-connected.  There are a few key behaviors that will get you there, and I give a few essential tips on joining the connected 29 percent in my new show on yourBusinessChannel.  Watch the show now by clicking here.

Talk About Benefits, Not Features


Sales training often teaches that customers make buying decisions based on 1) their emotions and 2) the value the product or service brings to them. Customers choose a product or service based on its benefits, not its features. The features are simply the bare-bones facts–the elements or significant parts–of the product or service. The benefits are its value to the customer–how it will solve their problems, eliminate their pain and make life better.

Unfortunately, most businesspeople tend to talk in terms of features instead of benefits.  As professional experts and salespeople, that’s what they’re most familiar with.  They’re not accustomed to looking at their products or services from a customer’s perspective.

When you formulate the message you want your networking partners to convey about your business, put yourself in the customer’s place.  What are the benefits of your product or service?  Remember to simplify your message and make it specific–how will your product or service make the customer’s life or business easier, more comfortable, more satisfying or more profitable?

When you shorten and simplify your message so that you, and others in your network, can communicate the benefits of your business more clearly, customers won’t have to think very hard to understand why they should buy your product or service.  So try this out and see what kind of results you get . . . then come back and leave a comment to share the outcome with the rest of us.

I’ll Have an ‘Entrepreneur on Ice,’ Please

dsc04691.JPGI just spent time in Kiruna, Sweden–home of the legendary ICEHOTEL and Ice Bar.  It was an amazing experience that I recommend to everyone. A large portion of the hotel facility is completely made of ice. Although there are normal hotel rooms at this location for the faint of heart, the truly brave live big and stay in the amazing “ice accommodations.” This portion of the hotel is a completely different set of buildings and has about 90 rooms along with a truly unique Ice Bar (seen here to the right). The ICEHOTEL and Ice Bar are both completely made of ice (including the tables, chairs and,  yes, even the drinking glasses).

The beds at the ICEHOTEL are made of ice with a small foam mattress and reindeer hides covering them (see below).  They are actually fairly comfortable and, with the high-quality sleeping bags, the room is fairly warm despite the fact that it is minus 5 degrees Celsius (23 degrees Fahrenheit) inside the hotel and 22 Celsius (minus 8 degrees Fahrenheit) outside.

dsc04678.JPGI had the opportunity to meet one of the co-founders of the Hotel and Bar, Kerstin Nilsson. Kerstin and husband Yngve Bergvist started the hotel in 1990 when they did a small exhibition of art in a custom-made igloo on the frozen Torne River, which is adjacent to the hotel.  It turns out that one night a group of foreign guests, equipped with reindeer hides and sleeping bags, thought it would be a good idea to use the cylindrical-shaped igloo as accommodations.  The next morning the group raved about the unique experience of sleeping in an igloo, and the ICEHOTEL was born.

The hotel and bar have since become famous for their unique concept and famous works of ice art.  Even the chandeliers are made of ice, as seen in the last photo below.  The entire hotel, bar and art all melt away each spring and are re-created with a new design each November.

The conversation I had with Kerstin was interesting. They have partnered with Absolut Vodka and have now franchised the idea of the Ice Bar with locations in Stockholm, London, Tokyo and Copenhagen, in addition to the original. They are planning on many more locations but have not released them as of yet. I told her that if they open one in Los Angeles, I am soooo there!dsc04700.JPG

The ICEHOTEL and Ice Bar are a classic case of how creative entrepreneurship works.  A small hotel in a VERY far-away portion of a country comes up with a little idea (an exhibition hall made of ice) to help build its business. This idea (with a lot of hard work) turns into a hotel and bar. The bar spins off into a worldwide franchise co-developed by a major Vodka company–and a small business becomes an international one. I love the creativity of entrepreneurship.

You can see more photos of my visit to the ICEHOTEL and Ice Bar by going to my FaceBook page.  You can also see more about the hotel and bar by going directly to the website at ICEHOTEL.com.


Use This Networking Trick to Increase Business

One of the most common networking questions I get asked is, “How do I generate referrals for other people?”  Well, this same question is exactly what I was asking myself in the early ’80s when I was just starting my consulting business. I came up with a technique that had a huge impact on my ability to provide quality referrals to others–which, of course, led to me getting referrals.

I realized that I needed to be the person whom people came to if they needed a referral for anything–the “gatekeeper” of referrals . . .  the “go-to guy.”  So I composed a letter that I sent out to my client list several times a year.  Today you could send out a quick e-mail to your database, but you should send it at least once a year as hard copy just to stand out from everybody else who’s e-mailing your clients.  Here’s a sample letter:


I really believe in the process of referrals, so part of the service I provide is to be sure to refer my clients and associates to other qualified businesspeople in the community.

Attached is a list of areas in which I know very credible, ethical and outstanding professionals.  If you’re looking for a professional in a specific area I’ve listed, please feel free to contact me.  I will be glad to put you in touch with the people I know who provide these services.


Dr. Ivan Misner

Notice when you read this letter that I just listed professions; I didn’t list names and phone numbers.  I wanted my clients to contact me so I could put the referral and the contact together–so I could build business relationships through being the go-to guy.  What began to happen was that others would ask someone on my client list, “Whom do you know who does XYZ?”  If they didn’t know anyone, then they would send that person to me.

The importance of becoming a gatekeeper is huge for anyone seeking to grow a business with word-of-mouth marketing.  It’s a strategy that gets people not only to contact you for a referral, but also to open up a dialogue with people about what your business is all about and how you can help them.  This, in turn, leads to more business with existing clients and new business with prospects.

Allow this to open the door for reciprocal sharing and giving.  You’ll be amazed at how much more business you’ll find you’re able to do as a result.

‘Do You Matter? How Great Design Will Make People Love Your Company’

I just read a great book called Do you matter? How great design will make people love your companyCo-written by my good friend, bestselling author and corporate consultant Stewart Emery along with former Apple industrial design director Robert Brunner, the book begins by asking if you, in fact, matter to your customers.


Think about it . . . this is a really important question.  Has your product, service or brand established an emotional connection with your customers to the extent that they’re invested in your lasting success?  If you disappeared, would their lives be diminished in some way?

As the book explains, when you know how to use design as a complete strategy, starting with the ideal customer experience and then building an internal supply chain to deliver in a way that exceeds expectations, you’ll create products, services and experiences that truly matter to your customers’ lives–and your business will thrive.  However, the reality is that few companies know how to create great design, and even fewer know how to implement a design strategy that will secure enduring success.

This book offers tremendous value to anyone who reads it because it clearly outlines how to transform any business into a design-driven business that follows in the steps of companies such as Nike, Apple, Ikea and BMW, all of which use design values to make a positve difference in the lives of their customers.  The authors also include some really great stories of successes as well as missed opportunities, all of which make it a really interesting read.

Well done, Stewart: I love the book.

To find out more about the book, click here.

‘Happy for No Reason’

happy-for-no-reason.jpegA couple of weeks ago, I attended the Speakers-Authors Networking Group (SANG) in Las Vegas and got to spend some time talking with my good friend Marci Shimoff.  Marci is one of the teachers in the movie The Secret and I met her some years ago at a meeting of Jack Canfield’s Transformational Leadership Council, of which we are both members.  While in Vegas, Marci shared with me some ideas from her new book, Happy for for No Reason. I found her ideas about finding happiness amid a recession to be particularly valuable, so I’d like to share them with you here.

Marci’s “Rx for the Recession,” as she calls it, is to follow these four simple techniques:

1. Reach out and touch someone.  Schedule time every day to call or visit someone you love or care about.

2. Anchor yourself to silence.  Take a moment to step off the hamster wheel of your everyday activity and just “be” for a change  . . .  sit quietly, close your eyes and breathe.

3)  Become a “joy juice barista.”  Your brain contains natural happiness-enhancing neurochemicals–endorphins, serotonin, oxytocin and dopamine.  Use this to your advantage by releasing those chemicals as much as possible through proper nutrition, exercise, getting plenty of rest, and–simply enough–smiling.

4) Don’t just stand there, express yourself.  When you’re being creative, the parts of the brain associated with fear, anxiety and worry are less active.  So instead of stewing about the state of the economy, think of a creative project you can begin or a workshop you can take.

“In times of uncertainty,” Marci says, “when the events in your life seem beyond your control, the key to staying afloat–and even thriving–is to find that place of unshakable peace and well-being inside.  Join the ranks of the resilient by becoming ‘happy for no reason.’  It’s the best Rx for the recession there is.”

I can tell you from firsthand experience that Marci is a person who really walks the talk.  She has achieved a significant amount of success by putting her ideas about maintaining a positive mindset into action. I highly recommend her material to all.  If you’d like to find out more about Marci and her new book, click here.

Penny Wise and Time Foolish

mikemacedonio_77.jpgMy  good friend and partner in the Referral Institute, Mike Macedonio (pictured here), is my guest blogger today.  He recently wrote a great article about referrals that takes an interesting look at the two investments involved in referral marketing–time and money.  If you want to learn how to avoid falling into the trap of being penny wise and time foolish, I recommend that you read this material–it’s great content.

Penny Wise and Time Foolish
By Mike Macedonio

Is it just me or is anyone else shaking their head at the assertion that “word-of-mouth marketing and referral marketing are FREE advertising.” Clearly, referral marketing (done properly) is a cost-effective way to get businness, but the only way I can possibly see making it FREE is to do nothing at all.

So what is the investment for referral marketing? There are two investments with building your business by referral: time and money. I’m surprised when I ask business owners how much they are investing in referral marketing and they don’t have any idea. Is it because it is so cost-effective that they don’t think it is worth budgeting or tracking? Maybe. However, I also see businesspeople turn down opportunities to get involved in networking organizations, acquire training, attend conferences or sponsor strategic alliance events for financial reasons.

What about the hidden cost? How much time are you spending networking and meeting with referral sources?  What is your time worth? Often when I ask that question, I get the billable rate.  Here is the simple formula I use. How much you earn, divided by how much you work. For example, if you’re making $120,000 a year working 40 hours per week, 50 weeks a year, your time is worth $60 per hour. You may be billing $150 per hour; however, after you factor in everything else you are doing, this is what your time is returning to you.

When you consider that the serious active networker will spend eight hours a week attending networking events, networking online, meeting with referral sources and giving time to activities with his network, that works out to 400 hours per year or $24,000 of time invested a year. Hmmm, that doesn’t sound like FREE to me.

Referral marketing is the most cost-effective way to grow your business. Getting the best return on your time and money requires a clear referral marketing plan. Will you be spending your time doing the right things, with the right people, in the right organizations? Investing in referral marketing knowledge will help you get the best return for your time investment.  Be careful not to fall into the common trap of being penny wise and time foolish with your referral marketing.  Create a budget and invest appropriately in your referral marketing.

I’d love to pass your feedback about this article along to Mike, so feel free to leave any comments below.

Join Me in Las Vegas on March 19-21

I’d like to take this opportunity to personally invite all of my blog readers to join me in Las Vegas, Nev., less than two weeks from now for the iLearningGlobal Launch Conference and Mastermind Event.

I will be speaking at the conference on Friday, March 2o, and I would love the opportunity to meet you face-to-face.  John McLelland, CEO of iLearningGlobal, has generously provided me with a link to share with my network that offers a 10 percent discount on registration fees.  In addition, if you use this link to register for the event, iLearningGlobal will donate $50 to the BNI Foundation in your name to promote children’s education worldwide!  CLICK HERE to take advantage of this offer and register for the event, and feel free to pass this offer along to your friends, family and colleagues.

Not only is this event going to be an amazing networking opportunity, it also features 14 of the world’s foremost authorities on success and achievement, such as Bill Bartmann, Tony Alessandra and Steve Siebold, just to name a few.

My friend Brian Tracy said, “Getting ahead in this uncertain time can be a great challenge, but considering the economy’s potential for future growth, it can also be a great opportunity.”  I think the iLearningGlobal conference is extremely important in relation to this idea because one of the main goals is to enable people to access the tools and resources they need to really build business–especially during a down economy.

History has shown that more fortunes are built on the back of a down economy than a good one, but in order to succeed you have to follow the pattern of the most successful people in history and become a lifelong learner.

I am really looking forward to participating in the iLearningGlobal Launch Conference, and it would be great to be able to connect with my blog readers there.  CLICK HERE to register for the event and CLICK HERE if you’d like to learn more about iLearningGlobal.

‘Legends in Excellence–The Series’

legendsadmisner2_300×250.jpgMy long-time friend Annie Armen, better known as “The Hurricane” on Annie Armen LIVE Talk Radio, has just come out with a great new CD called “Legends in Excellence–The Series,” which features 20 of the world’s top authorities on success.

Annie took hundreds of hours of recorded interviews she’s done over the past decade with people such as Zig Ziglar, Stephen M.R. Covey, Denis Waitley, John Demartini of The Secret and yours truly (just to name a few), and she edited all that content down into 15 hours of powerful advice on how to create real wealth, achieve greater success and find opportunity no matter what the economy is doing.

CLICK HERE to get more information and to purchase the CD.

When you visit the web page above, if you scroll down you can also listen to a five-minute sampler track by clicking on the blue-and-white play button above the words “Listen While You Read.”

If you listen to the sampler track, feel free to come back and leave a comment about what you thought of it.

Make a Referral Week (March 9-13, 2009)

johnjantschlogo.gifAs I’ve said time and time again, I firmly believe that the way to survive and thrive in an economic downturn is to ignore the doom-and-gloom headlines and focus instead on what you can do to grow your business despite fluctuations in the economy.

That’s why I’m hoping all of you will join me in participating in Make a Referral Week, which is a campaign inviting everyone around the globe to make 1,000 referrals during the week of March 9-13.  It’s an entrepreneurial approach to stimulating the small-business economy–one referred business at a time.

The goal of generating 1,000 referrals to 1,000 deserving small businesses highlights the idea that by taking one simple action and generating one referral to a small business, you really can make a difference and help jumpstart the economy.  Small business is the lifeblood and job-creating engine of the economy, and if we all pledge to make one referral, we could possibly generate millions of dollars in new business.

The weeklong, virtual event also features daily education programs focused on teaching small-business owners and other marketers how to tap the power of referral marketing. I’ll be featured, along with my friends Bob Burg and Bill Cates, on Tuesday, March 10.

Click here to learn more and join the campaign.

If you do join me in participating next week, I’d love to hear back from you about the referral(s) you generated.

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