Ivan Misner, Author at Dr. Ivan Misner® - Page 2 of 119
Misner's Corollary

Misner’s Corollary

I learned about Murphy’s Law in graduate school. It basically says that what can go wrong will go wrong. Although this tenet feels very pessimistic, there is value to it. It gives a framework for people to look for flaws in their thinking, which can make it easier to address potential issues before they arise. This leads me to Misner’s Corollary to Murphy’s Law: Sometimes, what can’t go wrong will go wrong. I know this sounds crazy and even more pessimistic, but if you go about it in a thought-provoking manner, you can truly think through potential challenges before you proceed. In particular, you want to consider what I call the “unintended consequences of a seemingly good idea.” This tends to happen when you roll out what everyone agrees is a good solution while avoiding what could go wrong with its rollout and implementation. You then roll out the idea, and all goes well. But we tend to overlook the unintended consequences of that new idea.

Misner’s Corollary Examples

This has happened several times in my career, such as when my company, BNI, implemented a “substitute program” relating to attendance. The idea was that the substitute would represent the member (employees and customers were the prime substitute candidates), and then the member wouldn’t be considered absent. It sounded and looked good on paper, but there was a long-term unintended consequence: Some members would look for virtually anyone to be a sub. This created a less than satisfactory situation for the group, especially when that sub basically just pitched their own business instead of representing the person they were supposed to be there for. It has taken us years to address this issue, and it’s still not perfected.

Another example of the impact of unintended consequences was BNI’s transition from paper copies of referral slips over to digital referrals. Despite the massively improved process of passing and tabulating the information, there was a sense of loss by many members in the physical passing of a referral to another member. This turned out to be moot once the pandemic arrived and all our groups transitioned to meeting online, but it does underscore one of the problems with Murphy’s Law and Misner’s Corollary — you never know for sure if something would have been an issue when the problem never really had a chance to surface (which is probably a good thing).

There have been some occasions where I’ve witnessed these strategies produce clear-cut results. Last January, our CEO, Graham Weihmiller, began to transition 10,000 weekly, in-person networking meetings online. He expected pushback early on, and therefore started the transition where it was first necessary (Asia) and experimented in areas where it was not yet necessary. By moving forward and testing the waters, the organization was well prepared for unintended consequences, resulting in an incredible global pivot over a matter of weeks.

The prevailing lesson here is that when you have a good idea, think about what can go wrong with that idea. Then, spend time thinking outside the box about what can’t go wrong by considering potential unintended consequences. Maybe then you’ll avoid encountering Misner’s Corollary for yourself.

cannot remember

I’m sorry, I cannot remember your name

What do you do when you meet someone and you cannot remember their name? That can be embarrassing. I have observed this many times over the years during networking events. I have also observed the different ways others have dealt with forgetting someone’s name. Some have just faked it by engaging in a conversation hoping to get a clue. They try to remember where the other person was from or how they knew them. On the other hand, I have heard people come right out and say, “Hey, I’m sorry I forgot your name” or “I’m sorry I do not remember where you’re from”.

In this video, I share a story from one of my blog readers which describes a scenario of this very nature and I answer his question of what I would have done if I were in the same sticky situation.

What not to do when you cannot remember a name

If it happens to you, I recommend that you do not say, “I’m sorry, I forgot your name” or “I don’t remember where you’re from”. I have found that people sometimes take it personally that you can’t remember them. No reason to embarrass yourself and embarrass them because you don’t know who they are. They might begin to avoid you because you did not recognize them earlier.

Finally, you do not want to say, “Nice to meet you”. Even if you do not remember meeting the person, they clearly know you, so you are most likely not “meeting them” for the first time.

What to do instead

When you forget someone’s name, I recommend saying, “Hi, good to see you”, then strike up a simple conversation to help you remember based upon the current situation or event you are attending. Starting a dialogue is a great way to shake up the gray matter in your head to try to remember who they are. If you still cannot remember after conversing a while, it’s time to stop trying and move along. Before leaving tell them, “Hey, it was nice to see you again. Gotta run. Talk to you again next time”.

It can be challenging to remember names, especially if you’re an avid networker. Years ago, I was told about a four-step process that will help you to remember people’s names–and it actually works!

OK, not remembering someone’s name has happened to me too. Saying “good to see you”, then engaging in a dialogue is a great approach to remember their name. If you absolutely do not want to use this technique, a fall-back approach can be one that someone once shared with me: “Sorry, I’m having a total ‘Senior Moment’ and I don’t recall where we’ve met”. Feel free to use that if you do not feel very brave with the “good to see you” approach. However, be prepared for some bruised feelings.

If you’ve ever been approached by someone and drawn a complete blank trying to remember their name, or even where you know them from, you know how awkward and embarrassing that situation can be. Finally, always wear your name badge when networking in person so that the people you meet can easily remember your name.

your words

The Words to Live Your Life By

Last month, I was wondering which words best describe the effect of BNI® on businesses. I decided to share a post on my social media pages requesting for you to reply with your words. I was amazed when I received over 200 words as replies to that question. Therefore, I decided to copy down all the words from the comments shared on my social platforms and save them in a file. After sorting the words alphabetically, I was able to see which of the words were the most common in your replies. I was not surprised to see that five of the seven BNI Core Values were represented as half the top ten most popular words.

The most popular word of all the words received was GROWTH. Our members found that joining BNI resulted in LEARNING how to be a better business owner. They grew both personally with a positive ATTITUDE, and professionally from the RECOGNITION they received. As they SUPPORTED the other members, their own business was being held ACCOUNTABLE too and THRIVING. They were INSPIRED as a result of the COLLABORATION with the members in their chapter, even during the pandemic. The core value of GIVERS GAIN® is what our BNI members hold dear and incorporate into the culture of their businesses. These are your words to live by.

What is Your Verb?

Asking my followers what is their “one word” reminded me of my blog, “What is Your Verb?”. This blog was about a 2017 presentation from Alex Mandossian about knowing the one word that describes you best. This one word is not a noun or an adjective. The best words to describe you are verbs. According to Alex, verbs increase persuasion power and move people. The greatest thought leaders in history lived their lives as verbs. What is your verb? My verb is “inspire”.

Change your WORDS, Inspire your WORLD…

I explained in my blog, “Change your WORDS, Inspire your WORLD”, why my verb is “inspire”. I want to inspire people. Furthermore, I want to inspire people who inspire people to help others and become “their better selves”. Inspired people are not only motivating themselves, they are also an inspiration to others to perform at their highest potential.

Inspiration starts with changing your words. There is tremendous power in words, in our speech. We use words every day to communicate, to express our feelings and thoughts, but we often forget how powerful they can be and how important it is to choose them with care. Words are how we communicate and it is through our communication that we motivate others. Throughout human history, great leaders have used the inspirational power of words. What are the words that inspire you? These are the words to live by.

The Power of Words

Never underestimate the power of your words, both positive and negative. Your words can unintentionally hurt someone when expressed in a negative tone. However, when you use positive words, you inspire others to change. Your positive words can create a culture of caring. The words we use will provide insight and understanding that will create positive change.

In this video, a blind man sits by a busy city street hoping for some spare change.  Beside him is a sign, I’m Blind. Please Help.  People pass him by without notice until a girl stops and re-words his sign, It’s a Beautiful Day and I Can’t See It.  Immediately, passersby respond to the man because of the power of words.

Hope is More Powerful than Fear

In my blog, “Hope is More Powerful than Fear”, I explained that we must be careful about the actual words we use. We can foster hope in others by using words of encouragement that create the actions to inspire others. We can choose to have hope, make the most of it, and come out better and stronger. Otherwise, we can choose to be overcome by our fear and feelings of isolation. However, we know that in our times of distress, hearing words of encouragement from others can remove our fear and foster feeling stronger.  I choose to be better and stronger. These are the words to live by.

Use positive words of encouragement to change people’s lives for the good. The real power of our words is the result of these words on others.  We can change people’s lives for the good with just a few encouraging words of hope. You can change our world and make our world a better place simply with the power of your words.

extroverts

Both Extroverts and Introverts Are Great Networkers

A common myth is that only extroverts are the best networkers. It is a fact that extroverted people are better at meeting new people. Even if they are not outgoing, introverted people are better at communicating ideas and forming meaningful relationships with referral marketing. Therefore, introverts are great networkers too.

Networking is a two-part process for both extroverts and introverts

First, you have to meet someone new and share information about yourself. Extroverts may be better at this first part of the networking process. While introverted people tend to avoid networking because they are uncomfortable initializing conversations with strangers.

Introverts are better at the second part of the networking process. Introverted people are better at building strong relationships with the people they know. Introverts are better listeners and ask more questions to understand the person’s business. Networking is about building relationships.

A good networker has two ears and one mouth and uses each proportionally

  1. Become an ambassador

If you feel uncomfortable approaching strangers at a business mixer, become an ambassador for your chamber of commerce or other organization. In this role, you become a host for the group. Therefore, you easily meet new people by engaging in small talk to break the ice when you greet people and say, “Welcome to our event. My name is [your name]. I’m an ambassador for the chamber and the owner of…”.

      2. Become a volunteer

Are you a volunteer for a cause you feel passionate about? You can give your time at an event, share your talents with the organization, or help solicit donations. Then you will start off talking to others about the cause and soon you are networking. Giving your time, talent or treasure can be effective opportunities for meeting new people. Many of these people could become your future clients.

       3. Become an influencer

Another way to break the ice is by speaking formally to a group about a specific topic. People have become great networkers by joining a parent-teacher association or coaching in their children’s sports league. There are opportunities to speak on behalf of the children. Even an introvert can muster up some charisma and get in front of a crowd. Becoming a public speaker helped me.

Networking is a skill that can be learned no matter your level of gregariousness. If you are uncomfortable when networking, take advantage of training seminars and workshops that teach you how to network effectively. Plus, you can take steps to interact with people in other ways to help break the ice. In conclusion, you will find that when you learn ways to handle these situations, you will become more relaxed and confident in a networking setting.

introvert

I am an Introvert

Back in 2009, Elisabeth and I were sitting around the kitchen table talking when I made a comment about being an extrovert. She looked over at me and said, “Uhh, honey, I hate to break it to you, but you’re an introvert”. I smiled and said, “Yeah, sure, I am an extrovert”.  She then looked at me quite earnestly and said, “No, really you’re an introvert”. But, I am a public speaker and founder of the world’s largest networking organization.

I cannot be an introvert

Elisabeth insisted that I was an introvert. She proceeded to share with me all the ways that I have introverted tendencies.  All the examples she gave were true, but I still couldn’t believe I am an introvert.  On the other hand, we were married for over 20 years at that time. She knew me pretty well. Therefore, I found an online test to see where I was on the introvert-extrovert spectrum.  The test said that I am an “introvert / situational extrovert”I was something of a loner who was reserved around strangers but very outgoing in the right context.

This revelation gave me the insight to improve how we network at BNI

  1. As an introvert, I am naturally uncomfortable meeting new people when networking. However, BNI uses a structured meeting agenda that enables our members to meet new people comfortably either online or in-person. Therefore, I feel more comfortable when meeting new people at a BNI meeting.
  2. As an introvert, I am naturally uncomfortable introducing myself at networking events.  However, I ask the local or national BNI Director to assign a liaison when I visit BNI events.  This person walks with me at the event and introduces me to as many people as possible.
  3. As an introvert, I am naturally uncomfortable circulating the room at networking events. However, I realized that volunteering to be one of my BNI chapter’s visitor hosts allowed me to circulate more comfortably during the meeting.  This led to the concept I used many times of “acting like the host, not the guest“. I recommend that article to all my fellow introverts out there who are also uncomfortable networking.

Whether you are an introvert or an extrovert, you can be good at networking.  Both have strengths and weaknesses. If you can find ways to enhance your strengths and minimize your weaknesses, anyone can be a great networker.

Strong trusted Network

Building a Strong Trusted Network

The best way to grow your business is by referrals generated from a strong trusted network. In the previous blog, I discussed building quality relationships. Growing more quality relationships in your trusted network will increase the number of referrals generated by the members in your network. What is a trusted network? How do you build a strong trusted network? This video further explains this concept.

A Strong Trusted Network

Quantity is good, but quality truly is king

What is important is the QUALITY, not the quantity, of the relationships that you have with the members of your network. Grow your business by growing a strong network of people who know all about your business and fully trust you. Furthermore, you completely trust every person in your network and have a full understanding of each of their businesses.  Finally, educate everyone regularly about the people you would love to be introduced to grow your business. That is a strong trusted network.

Imagine having your personal trusted network as part of a strong global network of 10,000 other trusted networks. Grow your local business with a global network. BNI’s (Business Network International) mission is to help members increase their business through a structured, positive, and professional referral marketing program that enables them to develop long-term, meaningful relationships with quality business professionals. In 2020, over 275,000 members of BNI worldwide passed over 11.5 million referrals which resulted in more than $16.2 billion USD in business. Visit a local BNI chapter meeting and learn how BNI can transform the future of your business.

Effective networking is not really what you know or who you know. It’s how well you know them that really counts. Therefore, the stronger the relationships are that you build with your network’s members, the more referrals you will receive from them.

Quality Relationships

Building Quality Relationships

Years ago, I learned that there is a correlation between the number of quality relationships and the number of referrals generated in a strong networking group. If you have a networking group of 16 members, that group has 120 relationships among all the members. However, a networking group of 32 members has 496 relationships among the members. Doubling the size of a networking group from 16 to 32 members has over four times the number of relationships. See the above graphic for an example of these relationships as chords of a circle. This video further explains this concept.

The Number of Quality Relationships Generated by the Members of a Strong Network

The number of relationships grows exponentially as the size of the group gets larger.  For example, if your networking group has 50 members, that networking group has 1225 relationships among the members. We have a few BNI chapters with 100 members. Therefore, they have 4950 quality relationships among their members. However, it is not the QUANTITY of members in your networking group that is important. What is important is the QUALITY of the relationships that you have with the members of your strong network. Growing more quality relationships in your networking group will increase the number of referrals generated by your members.

The formula: Number of Relationships = 0.5 x [(Number of members) x (Number of members – 1)] 

Quantity is good, but quality truly is king

The bottom line is that the more connections you have, (based on quality relationships of course), the more referrals you generate.  Grow your business by growing a strong network of quality relationships. For decades, I have seen groups that are twice the size of other groups in an area generate several times more referrals than their smaller counterparts.  The math is pretty significant and consistent. If you know your connections well enough to be able to call and ask for a favor–and get it–that is a powerful network.

Effective networking is about building strong relationships. If you approach the first months or year of your involvement in a networking group with the sole motivation of building relationships first by getting to know the other members well, you will be far ahead of the game. One of the most important things I’ve learned over the years is that it is not really what you know or who you know. It’s how well you know them that really counts. People do business with people they know and trust. The more relationships you build with your members, the more referrals you can give to your members, and the more referrals you will receive from them.

buyer's

Understanding The Buyer’s Perspective

Selling has everything to do with finding out the buyer’s needs, collecting compensation, and completing the transaction. However, there would not be salespeople if it was that simple. The buyer’s needs could easily be fulfilled by a vending machine.  In fact, many buyers shop online with only a vague sense of what might satisfy their needs.  Turning a buyer’s vagueness into clear solutions is the job of the salesperson.  The buyer is looking for the best solution, delivered in an effective and pleasurable manner. The search engine when shopping online cannot replace a well-trained salesperson.

Buyers thoughts are multifaceted

Buyers weigh the many pros and cons of a potential purchase when they shop.  Some of these thoughts the buyer might share with the seller.  Learning and adapting to the buyer’s various thoughts during the sales process is a complex and intricate task. It is the responsibility of the sales professional to ensure it happens.

The sales clock

Always look at both the buyer’s perspective as well as the seller’s demands with each sales scenario. Waiting out the sales clock after delivering your proposal can be stressful.  As the seller, you have to earn a commission, meet monthly targets, and ensure your proper work scheduling.  The last thing you want is for your own stress to create a negative impact on the buyer. Remember, it is all about the customer.

Three ways to tap into the buyer’s perspective

  1. Attentive Listening

Attentive listening can help you, the seller, determine if the buyer is putting you off or merely attending to pressing internal demands.

  1. Behavior Profiling

Modify your sales process to the style of communication most comfortable to the buyer.  All customers prefer to communicate in a manner that is most familiar to them. Knowing the buyer’s behavioral profile will help you to customize a sales approach for each customer.

  1. Product Presentation

Your sales presentation will have a strong influence on a successful sale. Talk about what the product will do for the customer rather than its features and keep the product presentation focused on the buyer’s needs.

Being able to read the buyer’s signals is crucial to meeting and exceeding the needs of your customers.  Masterful salespeople combine a little science with human relation strategies to create a wonderful buying experience for their buyers, while still maximizing their commission.  Most of the time, timing is everything.

Motivation

Regain Your Motivation

Motivation comes from within you, not from outside you. No one can motivate you but yourself. I’m speaking long-term motivation. Many years ago, author Frederick Herzberg wrote about motivation in the Harvard Business Review, where he said that others can motivate you but only in the short term. He called that KITA (Kick in the… Anatomy – that’s really what he called it). On the other hand, long-term motivation comes from within. Everyone struggles with motivation at some point during their professional lives.

How do you motivate yourself when your motivation is low?

1. Minimize contact with negative people.

According to my book,  Who’s in Your Room?: The Secret to Creating Your Best Life, you make decisions based on the positive and negative things that happened with people from your past that you let into your life. That really resonates with people who let in negative individuals. Therefore, they make future decisions based upon their previous negative experiences. Some people complain as though it were an Olympic event. Keep clear of them while you are trying to regain your motivation. Surround yourself with positive people.

2. Maximize time with people that refuel your energy.

The quality of your life depends on the positive people in your room. The people in your life will make or break your success. You become the five or six people with whom you hang out the most. Surround yourself with positive people who make you want to “do” and “be” better.

3. Read/listen/watch positive things.

If you are feeling down, read a positive book. My newest book, Infinite Giving, explores the positivity of sharing with the 7 Principles of Givers Gain®. Listen to an audiobook or podcast with a positive message. Watch something that makes you laugh. Surround yourself with some things you love. Live a life of giving not just for the benefit of others, but most importantly for you as well.

4. Prioritize the items on your list. 

Make a list of the things you want to do and must do. Then, take that list and post it somewhere visible. Tackle something from that list every day. Focus first on the smallest item from your list as a short-term goal to achieve this week.  A small win this week can be very motivating during the month. Next, work on those items from your list that inspire you to take action and complete them this month. Eat the elephant one bite at a time. You will be amazed at the number of small items from your list you will accomplish during the month. The more small wins you accomplish this month, the better you will feel during the year. You will quickly become motivated to take action during the year to complete some of the bigger things from your list.

5. Remember your big picture.

If your motivation is low it helps to step out of your daily tasks and remember why you are doing what you do. Allow yourself to be motivated by your big picture and let your goals drive you. Remembering why you are doing what you do in business can most certainly help you find some new energy to keep going. Your goals will help motivate you to get back on the road to productivity and success in no time.

It is nearly impossible to feel motivated all the time. Sometimes it can feel like we are in a real doldrums slump. In this video, I expand upon these five tips for getting inspired when you’re lacking motivation. You will glean some powerful insights on what is causing your low motivation and how to become inspired to take action.

What do you do when your motivation level is lacking as well as your self-esteem? What do you do to regain the motivation needed to move on with your plans and pursue your endeavors? Please share your thoughts in the comments.

Body Language

The Four Body Language Factors When Networking

You could be unknowingly undermining your networking efforts through your body language. Body language can be extremely powerful when it comes to networking and building relationships with others. Within the first seven seconds of meeting you, people check you out visually. Therefore, it is important to know the four key body language factors to help you present yourself in the best way possible when networking.

Networking Body Language Factors

1. Eye contact. 

Are you making good eye contact throughout the conversation? Some of the most successful business leaders in the world are known for the impressions they make with their eye contact. Their gaze never wavers from the eyes of the person they are speaking with, making them feel as if they are the most important person in the room. They are not looking behind the person to whom they are speaking to see who else is in the room. With a little practice, anyone can do this.

2. Arm movement.

Everyone “talks” with their hands.  A good networker uses gestures that match their message well. However, poor networkers tend to make distracting gestures. It is important to pay attention to your hand gestures while you are networking. If you are speaking to someone and your arms are folded together, this gives the impression that you are not interested and bored with their conversation. Therefore, to give off a positive impression when networking, your arms should be tucked behind your back, indicating interest in the conversation.

3. Your stance.

Are you leaning on something, as if bored or tired? Make an effort to stand in a manner that is open and welcoming, rather than blocking people out of your conversation. Standing with your legs shoulder-width apart signals determination. However, shifting your weight from one foot to the other or rocking forward indicates that you are anxious or upset. Finally, we all tend to lean toward people we like and pull away from those we do not.

4. Facial expressions.

Your networking success rides on how you come across in that first encounter. You want people to perceive you as alert, interested, knowledgeable, and trustworthy. Every facial expression you make tells a story. Are you smiling and showing interest in the conversation? Yawning while someone is talking to you is a surefire way to shut them down immediately. I have seen this happen more times than I can count while observing conversations at networking events.

Two steps to ensure that you are making a positive impression:

  1. Look in the mirror before leaving the house and ask yourself: “What message am I sending to people meeting me for the first time? What opinions will they have of me before I even open my mouth?”
  2. Become more aware of your body language by getting feedback. What are you saying without speaking a word? Before you host your own event, take a trusted friend with you to a networking function and ask them to give you honest, direct feedback on your body language. Provide them with a small checklist of the four factors discussed above and be prepared for their honest insights.

If you are networking with new prospects, make sure that your body language is not discouraging people from approaching you.

hate

If You Hate Networking – Know This

The majority of businesspeople like to network as a powerful way to generate business. Therefore, if you hate networking, watch my doodle video.

People Hate to Network… Not!

Networking involves building a strong relationship. Furthermore, networking is not like “cold-calling”. Instead, it is a conversation with someone to build a relationship with them.

According to the research I did years ago for the book: Business Networking And Sex (not what you think)

  • 57% of the respondents were comfortable or loved networking
  • 37% of the respondents were somewhat comfortable networking
  • 6% of the respondents were uncomfortable or did not like networking

Why are the 6% of business people not networking as a way to grow their business? There are four reasons why people resist networking:

  • Frozen by their fear
  • Too busy at work
  • They are “hunting” for business
  • Not good listeners

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

Networking is the process of developing and activating your relationships to increase your business, enhance your knowledge, expand your sphere of influence, or serve the community. It is a lot more interesting than cold-calling.

grief

Grief is Patient

Grief is patient, it has a way of coming out of nowhere and hitting you over the head when you don’t expect it.  I’ve experienced this first-hand.  As you may know, I lost my bride of 31 years just a few months ago.

In trying to wrap my head around the new life I am forced to navigate, someone recommended a podcast to me called Widow We Do Now? (www.WidowWeDoNow.com).  I recommend it to anyone who has lost a spouse.  It is hosted by two young widows.  It is very conversational but anyone who has lost a spouse can definitely get help out of many of the episodes. After I listened to the first one – I wondered why it was recommended to me.  However, after I listened to the second one, I was hooked.  I’ve listened to almost all the past episodes and it has given me some solace hearing the stories about other people who have had the same kind of loss.  You can listen to a podcast from anywhere in the world and I highly recommend it.

I’ve learned a lot from these shows that will help me in my journey AND just as importantly, will help me when I’m talking to other people that have had such a close and personal loss.  Even if you haven’t lost a spouse, the things I’ve learned will help me and possibly help you when talking to someone who has.

Here are some lessons on grief that might be of value to you:

  1. The Kubler-Ross Five Stages of Grief was written for people who have been told they have a terminal disease. It does NOT apply when someone has lost a spouse.  Check out this article from Healthline.com.  The Seven Steps mentioned at the end are relevant to the loss of a loved one.   https://www.healthline.com/health/stages-of-grief .
  2. When talking to someone who has lost a spouse – go where the widow/widower is at that moment. If they are depressed, do NOT talk to them about things getting better over time.  It doesn’t help them and it can actually shut them down from talking to you.  Instead, ask them to talk about how they feel and don’t try to fix it.  [Note, the obvious exception to this is anything involving suicidal ideation – that requires a response that I am not qualified to offer you.]  If they say they are feeling better, ask them to tell you about that and support that feeling for them.
  3. Don’t judge them! If they still wear their wedding ring – don’t ask them why. If they took off their wedding ring – don’t ask them why.   Just be present with them and don’t judge them.
  4. Do not tell them they will find someone else someday and will have the chance to re-marry. Trust me, that doesn’t make them feel better (people have already told me that and it did NOT sit well with me).
  5. Be there and help them in any way you can. Offering an ear is good but I can say firsthand that almost everyone says that and it is overwhelming.  Anything you can actually do for them will most likely be appreciated.  For example, I heard the podcast hosts (and others) talk about neighbors taking out the trash for them, helping them clean the house, babysit the kids, go shopping for them, and help the kids with homework.  When you offer these kinds of things or something else – be understanding if they say no “thank you.”  They may have reasons that you don’t understand (go back to “don’t judge them!).
  6. Don’t ask them when they plan on dating again. If they happen to bring it up in conversation be understanding and. . . (you guessed it), don’t judge them.
  7. If you’ve lost a spouse, it’s ok to say you understand some of what they are going through. However, if you’ve lost friends and/or family members do NOT compare.  One person told me that they lost several family members over the years and they understand.  They do NOT understand.  I’ve lost family members and I have lost a spouse.  It is not the same.  Not even close. It’s not a competition.  Don’t make it sound like one.

Here is a networking recommendation of mine that actually fits very well with this topic.  When you are talking to someone who has lost a spouse, remember that you have “two ears and one mouth and should use them both proportionately (actually, pretend you have more than two ears).”  Listen, listen, listen.  Don’t judge, don’t advise.  Just be a friend and help them in any way you can.  Sometimes the best gift you can give is silence.  Just quietly be in the moment with them.

The Widow We Do Now podcast also has a private Facebook page to support people who have lost a spouse (by the way, men who have lost their spouse are welcome in the private group).   The private group is at : https://www.facebook.com/groups/widowwivesclub.  You’ll need to answer some questions in order to participate on the page.

My thanks to Anita and Mel for doing this podcast.  It has helped me greatly.  Please recommend the podcast to anyone you know who has lost a spouse.

Do you have any suggestions or ideas that you believe have been helpful in a situation like I’ve described?  If so, post it below, I’d live to read it.

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