Diversity in your personal network enables you to increase the possibility of including connectors or “linchpins” in your network. Linchpins are people who in some way crossover between two or more clusters or groups of individuals; this allows them to link groups of people together easily. The best way to increase the number of possible connections in your network is to develop a diverse network – not a homogeneous one.
The truth is when it comes to networking – not having a lot in common with someone may mean that they can be a connector for you to a whole world of people that you might not otherwise be able to meet.
Networks are by nature “clumpy”
(that’s the technical term). It is human nature to congregate with people that are very much like us. People tend to cluster together based on education, age, ethnicity, professional status, etc. When we surround ourselves with people who have similar contacts it may be difficult to make connections with new people or companies with whom we desire to do business.
If you wish to build a powerful personal network – branch out. Build a diverse network of professional contacts that include people that don’t look like you. Finds others who do not sound like you, speak like you, or have your background, education, or history. The only thing that they should have in common with you and the other people in your network – is that they should be really good at what they do. Create a personal network like that, and you’ll have a network that can help you succeed at anything.
Benign neglect takes many forms. It’s any decision you make that allows a person in your room (or an activity associated with that person) to move toward the back, which in turn allows someone else to step a little bit closer to you.
Here are some examples:
Suggesting that instead of holding weekly in-person meetings with a colleague, you have virtual meetings every other week.
Strictly limiting your consumption of news or social media to a set amount of time each day.
Maintaining membership in an organization but no longer holding a leadership role.
Speaking with a friend when she calls, but only initiating a call to her once a month.
Opting out of “pub night” or “wine night” in favor of staying in with your spouse or partner.
Not responding to phone calls or emails quite so quickly.
Shifting your time and energy to other people and not being available as readily.
The bottom line here is that benign neglect works—even if you do it by accident. We’re suggesting that, when appropriate, you do it by design. It can be progressive—meaning that you gradually move into benign neglect over time. It doesn’t have to be overnight. This is the premise behind the newest book, “Who’s in Your Room? The Secret to Creating Your Best Life” by Ivan Misner, Stewart Emery, and Rick Sapio.
In this video, I share a story about a referral coincidence.
Understand the process of building relationships. It’s not the number of contacts you make that’s important, but the ones that you turn into lasting relationships. You’ll always get better results trying to deepen relationships with people you already know than starting relationships with strangers.
Luck is where persistence meets opportunity.
When it comes to networking, “luck” is where persistence meets opportunity. There is no coincidence about repeat referrals. It comes because every day you execute the activities relating to building referral relationships. Although it can’t be measured as easily as tracking cold-call ratios – the results are dramatic and almost never coincidental.
A misconception occurs when someone focuses on the referral rather than on the relationship that produced the referral. Networking is not about luck, it’s about relationships. No one person is likely to turn your business around. However, by building relationships with a diverse group of business professionals over time, they can make a difference together.
Your networking results are an indication that the system of building relationships is working. Not that these referrals were basically coincidences. It is no more coincidental that you receive referrals from the people in your network than it is that a fisherman casting a net catches fish. The fisherman concentrates on his action of casting the net, not the individual path of one of the fishes that swam into it. If he did base his decision on that one random fish he would quickly come to the conclusion that it was a coincidence.
Mentally relegating these people to your storage space allows you to regain control over areas of your life that they may have controlled. Take those people and memories, put them in a storage box, and put it on a shelf. Don’t let them continue to control your life. The intentionality of saying to yourself, “I’m no longer thinking about you,” can be wonderfully freeing.
We also encourage you to thoughtfully reflect on the experiences and people you are putting in storage and try to learn from them. This thought process will allow you to then circle back to your “Doorman” to make sure no other similar people or experiences will enter your room.
Here are a few examples of people and the experiences related to them that you might box up—and learn from placing in your storage space:
A social group: I thought I’d enjoy joining this book group, but it’s not been a valuable experience. Rather than learning from the experience, all I hear about is small-town gossip during our meetings. I’ll politely quit the group and free up one night a week for someone from whom I can learn.
An employee: I knew when I hired Joe that he would need mentoring, but I’m finding it frustrating to support him when it seems like he doesn’t care. More than that, he’s late to work consistently—a trait that falls into one of my deal-breakers. I’m going to let him go and make sure his replacement values punctuality and demonstrates ambition.
A boss: I’ve been putting up with my boss’s disorganization and rude remarks for three years, and the situation hasn’t improved over time; it’s only gotten worse. I’m going to see if I can switch departments. If that doesn’t work, I’ll plan my exit strategy from the company by researching my options, networking, and applying to new positions.
A grudge: I resent that my ex has turned my children against me by telling them lies. I am going to move on from that resentment and instead take actions regularly to reconnect with my children to show them I care and love them.
Guilt: (This is a big one.) Sometimes I let people in my room out of guilt. Once they are in, I continue to give them attention—out of guilt. Many times I tolerate people’s behavior out of guilt. Guilt does not make for good relationships, and it creates a caustic room. I am not going to feel guilty because of someone else’s “stuff.”
Family-member syndrome: They’re family—what can I do? They may be family, and it’s true I had no choice on whether they are in my room, but I’m not going to let them run amuck in my space any longer.
So all of this sounds good, but how do you transition to putting them on a shelf?
This is the premise behind the newest book, “Who’s in Your Room? The Secret to Creating Your Best Life” by Ivan Misner, Stewart Emery, and Rick Sapio.
Referrals are all around us. Are you paying attention? You are standing in the middle of a room full of referrals.
Referrals are all around us, it’s just that we’re not paying enough attention to what’s going on in order to identify them. You see, there’s a part of our brain that’s called the Reticular Activating System. It can be described as a filter between our conscious and our subconscious mind. Your subconscious screens out things you determine that aren’t important and it alerts you about things you think are important. Therefore, understanding how it works can be a great tool to recognize the daily referral opportunities surrounding us.
Standing in a Room Full of Referrals
Watch the video now to learn not only about the Reticular Activating System but also about another powerful tool which I call the “Language of Referrals”. After watching the video, you will likely begin to remember times when your Reticular Activating System was in full effect. However, you just didn’t realize it at the time. You may also remember instances where you’ve clearly heard the language of referrals in conversations with people.
I’d really love to hear about your referrals experience with one or both of these things so please share your story/stories in the comments below. Thanks!
When I started BNI in 1985, the biggest question from the media was: “Is this networking thing just a fad?” Well, 34 years and more than 8,700 groups later — it’s clearly not a fad. There have been changes over time though. The biggest change has been the introduction of the internet. Ironically, online networking has contributed to the success of face-to-face networks by greatly reducing the communication hierarchy and allowing people to communicate through mixed reality on online platforms.
Today around 50% of all small businesses are home-based and nearly half of the US workforce is expected to work remotely by 2020. This means that 50% or more of future entrepreneurs and employees will be working remotely within the next few years.
Today, I see an even more amazing trend on the horizon as it relates to remote work, technology, and business networking. That trend is the emergence of mixed reality within the realm of personal networking. Mixed reality is the merging of real and virtual worlds where physical and digital objects co-exist and interact in real time. Mixed reality takes place not only in the physical world or the virtual world but is a mix of reality and virtual reality.
As this technology develops, it will allow remote teams to work together and tackle objectives no matter where the individuals are physically located. People can enter a collaborative, immersive virtual environment in order to develop and activate relationships, increase business, enhance knowledge, expand one’s sphere of influence, or serve the community. And, in the not too distant future, I predict that they will be able to network remotely through a mixed reality environment. I believe the future of networking is a blending of the physical world with the digital world.
One of the current missing elements of a video discussion is the lack of intimacy with online communication. However, as this technology advances, people will be better able to read non-verbal language like crossed arms, leaning in, or signs of nervousness. People attach value to the feeling of physically sharing space with another person. The more technology enables that feeling to mirror reality, the more effective it will be. Science has shown, the brain is often unable to determine what is real and what is not as it relates to virtual reality.
True, a virtual mixed reality meeting is not the same as being there — but it will be getting closer to “real” reality when networking.
By knowing why you are networking and what you want to achieve, it is possible to plan accordingly and get great, measurable results. If you have any comments about Andy’s “S” list or any additional “S” words about networking you will want to add to the list. please leave me a comment below.
As a business networking strategist, Andy Lopata works with companies on how to use networking tools to develop their businesses. Networking is not just about sales. Whether for lead generation, breaking down silos internally, recruitment and retention of top staff or developing future leaders, networks and collaboration have a key role to play. Andy works with clients to help recognize that role and put the strategy and skills in place to leverage it.
Your New Years just got a whole lot better. Now, you have an effortless and affordable way to enjoy “Who’s in Your Room?” in audio. I am so thrilled to offer you the opportunity to enjoy my latest book seamlessly through Audible, it’s about to become your new favorite audiobook.
Can you imagine living a better life in 2019? Would you like to surround yourself with more supportive people? There’s hope! You see, the quality of your life depends on the people in your life. The simple and powerful ideas in this book can change your life forever in the new year.
“Who’s in Your Room?” introduces you to the concept of your life being like a room – a room where anyone who enters affects your life…forever. Although this concept may sound frightening, this book gives you the tools and exercises you need to make a New Year’s resolution to take control of your room and live the life you desire in 2019.
So, head over to Audible now to pick your first Audible Original. After all, there’s nothing better to read — or listen to — for the new year than “Who’s in Your Room?”. If you’re still not convinced on the book, take a listen to an exclusive clip from the audiobook below:
We’ve all heard the advice: “you become the people you hang out with”. This means that you need to surround yourself with successful people (however you define success). Plus, you also need to be networking up to raise the bar for yourself over time. Having run the world’s largest business networking organization for more than three decades, one of the things I’ve learned is that: There’s generally room at the top. It’s the bottom that’s really crowded. So how do you start networking above your weight class to move your way up? Here are seven things I recommend that will help you accomplish that goal.
One of the most important endeavors for our professional success is also one of the most confusing and daunting for so many. That endeavor is “networking up” – connecting in a meaningful and memorable way with those who are at a higher level of success or whose influence and connection could potentially change everything for your business.
Though our natural instinct is often to stay firmly planted in our own comfort zone by associating with people who are either equally as successful or less successful than we are, if we want to achieve higher levels of success, it is crucial that we network up by making an effort to surround ourselves with people who are more successful. If you surround yourself with and spend the most time with people who are more successful than you, you are in a perfect position to constantly learn from them, meet other successful and accomplished people through their networks, and continually challenge yourself to achieve higher and higher levels of success.
Finally, remember that if you’re always the most successful person in the room, you’re hanging out in the wrong rooms. Take these five suggestions and start “networking up” to the right rooms.
Since I moved to Austin Texas, I’ve discovered a number of restaurants that I really enjoy. One of them is Truluck’s in downtown Austin. The first time my wife and I went to Truluck’s we couldn’t help but notice how engaged the host was when we walked up to check in for our reservation. He was welcoming, friendly, and conversational. It was unusual in that the host seemed more engaging than the normal friendly host you might get when you enter a good restaurant. He was incredibly personable and it stood out to me. I took a mental note and wondered if the rest of the experience would be the same.
I sat down and the wait staff was very attentive (but not too attentive). They were right on the spot when I needed something but they didn’t interrupt constantly. The wine list was great (see this blog to know why that’s important to me). Then, the meal came out. It was phenomenal. For me, a great meal paired with a great wine and great service are the proof of the existence of a divine being. OK, maybe I exaggerate a little but it was really good.
My wife and I had a nice long dinner and a great experience. When we were ready to go, the wait staff brought out the bill and a computer tablet. The tablet had a series of survey questions on it. The first is the screenshot on this blog. They asked if I received a hospitable welcome from the host when I arrived! Voila! I now understood why the host really went out of his way to make us feel welcome. (By the way, I scored it as “Absolutely!)” The restaurant had about six questions in total relating to the experience during the evening and I checked each one of them at the highest possible level.
Trulucks measured key factors in their restaurant experience and the management got an immediate, real-time result for each of these areas. This is a perfect example of “Achieving What You Measure.” In their case, there was no delay in getting the results. They could tell exactly how people felt about the experience before the customer even left the restaurant. On one of my visits to Trulucks, I spoke to the manager, Thomas, about the survey system at the restaurant. He said that the previous month they received a 98% positive rating from the customer surveys. I told him that was outstanding. I love his response. He said, “actually, we always shoot for 100%.”
We could all learn from this type of management control system. Well done to Trulucks. I look forward to going back again soon.
Who doesn’t love going home for the holidays to visit family members?
It’s that precious time of the year when you have that annual visit with your siblings, parents, and various cousins. However, the holidays also bring together the toxic people in your life. The holidays are a special time, perhaps the only time all year they get to see our family members. However, these annual get-togethers are often fraught with trepidation because of the behavior of one family member. Many people have that drunk uncle you avoid all year, yet you have to spend Christmas Eve dinner with him. Others might have that cousin you have not spoken to in years joining you to open gifts together on Christmas morning. Your toxic family members often display behaviors that can irritate you and want you to kick them out of your life. However, remember that these people will be in your room for the rest of your life.
Even when people are out of your life they remain in your head.
Recognizing that people can never fully leave your room once they’ve entered can be unsettling. What do we do with our family members who don’t align with our values? How do we handle them? They’re family—what can I do? They may be family, and it’s true I had no choice on whether they are in my room, but I’m not going to let them run amuck in my space any longer. My mother taught me how to deal with toxic family members: “Well, we can’t quite kick anyone to the curb, but we can box them up and put them on a shelf.” That’s right, box them up and put them out of sight. Don’t let them continue to control your life. I also encourage you to thoughtfully reflect on the experiences and people you are “boxing up” and try to learn from them.
We all have a family member whom you want to put on the highest shelf you could possibly reach. So, how do you deal with difficult family members? They are people whom we love and don’t actually want out of our lives completely. Your goal will be to connect with your family members but only rarely and for short periods of time. That way, you still maintain a relationship but you don’t get “infected with drama or craziness,” The people may be welcome in your room, but their baggage does not have to be. Holiday parties can be perfect places to continue relationships with your toxic family members without getting sucked into the drama because these tend to be larger gatherings with lots of other family members, where you can chat briefly with them. However, you are not their sole focus for an extended time. Set rules for your gathering. Examples are, “No politics at the table” or “once you go negative, I’m done with you”. These types of people are draining, so it’s best to recognize that and plan accordingly. Visit briefly, be friendly, then move on to someone else in your room.
This is the premise behind the newest book, “Who’s in Your Room? The Secret to Creating Your Best Life” by Ivan Misner, Stewart Emery, and Rick Sapio. It would make a great Christmas gift to give to all your family members, especially the toxic people.
What do Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny and “six degrees of separation” all have in common? They are all urban legends! Time to put the kids to bed. I don’t want to stir up any trouble with Christmas around the corner. What I do want to take issue with is the six-degrees thing.
You’ve heard that there are “six degrees of separation” between you and anybody else on earth that you would like to meet. Right? Amazing, isn’t it? Unfortunately, it’s just not true! Well, I hate to burst your bubble, but the idea that we are all connected through six degrees of separation is rooted in myth–not in fact.
The legend originally stems from several “small world experiments” conducted 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. These experiments involved sending letters from a group of people to a specific person in another part of the country. The people were told to get the material to someone who might know someone who would know the individual to whom the material was to be delivered. This process formed a chain of connections linking the people together. It was, in fact, found that the letters that arrived in the right person’s hands took, on average, between five and six connections. Milgram found that there tended to be about six degrees of separation between the senders in Nebraska and the recipient in Boston. This part is true; however, if you look closer, you will discover the problems that exist within the blanket statement that “we are all connected by six degrees.”
First off, though the average number of links for people who got the material through to the final contact was five or six connections, the majority of the connections that were made ranged from two to 10 (the average was five to six). This means that roughly half took more than six and roughly half less than six. Well, you say, that’s the average and I would agree that there’s nothing wrong with addressing this concept by the average, but there’s one small problem. The overwhelming majority of people in all of Milgram’s studies never got the material to the intended recipient at all! In Milgram’s most successful study, “217 chains were started and 64 were completed–a success rate of only 29 percent.”
That’s right–a success rate of less than one-third of the participants! So what this means is that 29 percent of the people in Milgram’s most successful study were separated on average by six degrees from the final contact person. However, that means that 71 percent were not connected at all!
But wait, I’m afraid it gets worse. This was Milgram’s most successful study. In another of his studies, only 5 percent of the participants completed the chain. Therefore, 95 percent of the people in the study never made the link to the person they were supposed to connect to at all–ever! Don’t shoot the messenger, but I am afraid to tell you that we are not “all” connected with everyone in the world by six degrees of separation. We’re just not . . . not all of us.
So why would I, someone who has devoted most of his professional career to business networking, be telling everyone about the Achilles heel of this iconic concept upon which a lot of networking pros hang their hat? Well, there are two reasons. First of all, I believe this myth creates complacency. The thought that everyone is absolutely connected to everyone else on the planet by six degrees gives some people a false sense of expectation and thus lulls them into a sense that the connection is bound to happen sooner or later, no matter what they do. Second, and most important, the studies’ findings indicate clearly that some people are better connected than others. I believe that’s important because it means that this is a skill that can be acquired. With reading, training, and coaching, people can develop their networking skills, increase their connections and become connected.
29 percent of people who are, in fact, separated from the rest of the world by only six degrees.
Milgram’s work was revolutionary. It opened up a whole new world of discussion and understanding. It has, however, been romanticized. The mythical version of his findings does no good for anyone. It gives people a false sense of security or an erroneous worldview of the networking process. I believe we do live in a “small world” that is becoming smaller and smaller; and I also believe it is possible to be connected to anyone in the world by only six degrees. I just don’t believe that “we are all” connected by six degrees, and Milgram’s own findings support that.
The good news in all of this is that it is possible to be part of the 29 percent through education, practice, and training. We can be connected to anyone through the power, and potential of networking. In fact, by understanding that, we can set ourselves aside from our competition by knowing that being able to make successful connections is not an entitlement. Instead, it is a skill that only some actually develop. As for the 71 percent of people who are not connected and yet still believe in the six degrees of separation concept–keep the faith.
It’s fascinating how information can get distorted in the minds of the public and turn into urban myths. Just think about the myths: Santa Claus, Tooth Fairy or the Easter Bunny. 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. One final thought for your kids, “Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus”