The Benefits of Mentoringstring(25) "The Benefits of Mentoring"

It is common knowledge that if you want to improve your own skills, teach someone else. You can help transform someone’s life by taking them under your wing and helping them learn something new. Bonus – you will probably find that you are getting better at it, too! Mentoring is a reciprocal journey of growth and learning, a dynamic process that enriches both the mentor and the mentee.

The essence of mentoring lies in recognizing opportunities to guide and support others, perhaps someone who mirrors your earlier self in the business world. Embracing the role of mentorship entails selflessly sharing knowledge and insights, guiding others to success while helping them sidestep the pitfalls you once encountered. Teaching someone else can also act as a refresher for what you have previously learned and may get you refocused on areas that may have been forgotten.

Chess Club

In my book, The Networking Mentor, I tell a story about a gentleman who coached his 10-year-old son’s chess club. Well… that story is actually about me. I coached my son’s elementary school chess club and I thought, “This is going to be easy enough, I’m pretty good at chess.” Then I realized – I had never studied the game. I read one book in high school, and I was totally self-taught. Guess what? You can’t teach kids that way; you must know what the chess moves are. So, I had to learn what a fork, a skewer, a pin, a ladder – these are all terms for moves in chess – I had to learn what they were so I could coach the children. Well, the funny thing is that I was a pretty good player and I regularly played with a friend of mine. One day he said to me, “Man, what are you doing?” And I said, “What do you mean?” He said, “Your game has really gotten better.” I said, “Oh, I’m coaching 10-year-olds.” He said, “No, really. What are you doing?” I replied, “Seriously. I’m coaching 10-year-olds.”

I had offered to help the chess club thinking that it would be great to spend time with my son and his friends. I didn’t occur to me that I would become a better player through coaching them! By helping these young chess enthusiasts, I had to brush up on my game and do my homework to learn the names of the moves and the strategies that I had done intuitively for years. I was amazed at how my game improved by coaching elementary school kids, and so was my friend.

Time Investment

Some people say they don’t have time to be a mentor. To them, I say, “Find a way to make the time if at all possible.” You see, every time I was a mentor to someone it was also a learning experience for me. When I was given topics of concern from people I mentored, I always did some research and looked at my own files to see if there was something I could offer to help them through the issue. I came to realize that I was improving myself while I was helping them.

To those who claim a lack of time for mentorship, I urge reconsideration. Mentorship isn’t merely a commitment of time. It’s an investment in personal and professional growth – for both of you. The same is true with mentoring people to network better.

Networking and Mentoring

The process of mentoring people to be a better networker not only benefits the mentee, it also benefits the mentor. Just as coaching young minds in chess strategy compelled me to refine my own game, serving as a networking mentor prompts a refreshing review of learned principles and a reinvigoration of neglected areas. And there is immense gratification in watching someone grow, reach their goals, and achieve success.

The mentoring relationship is working as long as you continue to receive and/or give value to the relationship. I have personally had some mentoring relationships where I started as the mentee and, over time, it evolved to where I was a peer mentoring my mentor on certain issues. That’s when you know you’ve developed a long-term friendship. Ideally, a strong mentoring relationship evolves into a lasting connection and friendship. In the realm of business networking, mentoring yields mutual benefits.

Whose Story Are You In?

Every single one of us has people in our lives who have made a difference. We all have someone in our story who influenced the path we took, or perhaps motivated us to carve our own path. These are the mentors we’ve had along the way and their impact can be life changing. By devoting time and attention to a mentoring relationship, both parties reap deeply powerful and meaningful rewards that extend well beyond simple financial gain. As we mature and gain more experience, we have the opportunity to transition from being a mentee to also being a mentor.

We all have people who are in our story. I believe the real powerful thing in mentoring is to ask: Whose story are YOU in? Whose life are you making a difference in? It is part of a Givers Gain® attitude – what goes around comes around. Someone has helped me; now I’m going to help them, or someone else, be successful. It becomes about the difference you can make in other people’s lives; that is what creates a meaningful life.

Perhaps there is someone who already considers you a mentor, or maybe you know someone you would like to mentor – someone who reminds you of yourself when you were just getting started in your career. Or it could be a new member in your business networking group who needs someone to guide them and share the best practices for success. If so, don’t let the opportunity to be an active mentor pass you by.

They will benefit from your experience, advice, and perspective. Your encouragement can help them gain confidence along their journey. You both can realize improved skills while building a mutually beneficial, long lasting business relationship.

When you selflessly share your wealth of knowledge to help others succeed and help them avoid making the same mistakes you made, they will benefit greatly and so will you. I believe in the power of mentors to make a positive difference in other people’s stories.

Do you have a story about one of your mentors? Have you mentored someone else? I’d love to hear about it in the comments.




Related Blog Posts:

In Networking, Relationships Are Currencystring(41) "In Networking, Relationships Are Currency"

How many times do you think the following scenario happens?
A professional (maybe even yourself) goes to a business networking event, meets a lot of good people, then leaves and never talks to any of them again.

It happens way too often, right? So… why does it happen?

It’s not because they didn’t like the people they met or that they never want to see them again. It’s usually because, like so many others these days, they are a busy person with a full schedule and there is so much going on they can’t even remember if they ate   breakfast, let alone remember to reconnect with the individuals they met at a networking event.

That’s unfortunate because those new contacts are where future business opportunities are born, IF you start to cultivate a relationship with them.

Contacts are valuable, and your relationships are currency. When it comes to your contacts, it is how well you know each other that counts, not how many contacts you have. It’s the ones that you turn into lasting relationships that make a difference.

Try making 10 cold calls to introduce yourself. How well did that go for you?
Now if you call five people that you already know and tell them you’re putting together a marketing plan for the coming year, and you would greatly appreciate any help they may be able to provide in the form of a referral or new business contact, do you think those results will be better? Of course they are. You already have a relationship with those people and most of them are glad to help.

You’ll always get better results from efforts to deepen relationships with people you already know than starting relationships with strangers. What is the best way for you to grow and utilize your relationships? Watch my video and read more below for more information.

Four Steps to Get Started

  1. Give your clients a personal call.Find out how things are going with the project you were involved in. Ask if there is anything else you can do to help them. Important: Do not ask for a referral at this point.
  2. Make personal calls to all the people who have helped you or given you a business referral.Ask them how things are going in their business and in their life. Learn more about their current activities so you can refer business to them.
  3. Put together your list of the Top 50 people you want to stay in touch with this year. The list should include anyone who has given you business in the past 12 months (from steps 1 and 2) along with any other prospects you have connected with recently. Send them a personal, handwritten card on the next public holiday (In the U.S., it would be Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, etc.). Or send a ‘thinking of you’ card with a message that you hope the year is going well.
  4. Two weeks after you send the cards, call them (yes, a phone call) and see what’s going on. If they’re past customers or people that you have talked to before, now is the perfect time to ask for a referral. If they are prospects, perhaps you can set up an appointment to meet for coffee, learn more about their business, and find out if their plans might include using your products or services.

Remember, this is a process, and these steps are to help you build relationships with other businesspeople. This is not for a sales pitch.

Within a few weeks, you’ll be on your way to creating and strengthening business relationships and building enough social capital to tap into for the rest of the year.

Social Capital

Social capital, otherwise known as the value behind your social contacts, is the international currency of networking, especially business networking. If you take as much care in raising and investing your social capital as you do your financial capital, you’ll find that the benefits that flow from these intangible investments are not only rewarding in themselves, they can also multiply your material returns many times over.

Choosing to put your time and energy into networking is one of the best investments you can make to secure future success for yourself and others with whom you network. This is because successful business networking is all about building and maintaining solid, professional relationships.

Relationships are part of the fabric of the development of your social capital. You must invest in the relationships if you ever expect to make a withdrawal. Relationships truly are the currency of networking.




Related Blog Posts:

The Power of the VCP Process®

The VCP Process is the foundation of everything I teach …


Lifelong Learning for Business Successstring(38) "Lifelong Learning for Business Success"

I used to be surprised when I heard statistics like this: 50% of all businesses fail in their first three years. Well, I’ve been in business for several decades and have seen many entrepreneurs come and go. Quite frankly, I’m more surprised that 50% of businesses actually make it past the first three years because so many of them don’t focus on, or invest time on, education for improving their business. I know that may sound a bit harsh, however…

One thing I’ve learned is that most successful business professionals embrace and engage in “a culture of learning” in order to excel in their chosen career. Personal and professional self-development is an ongoing journey – not a destination. It is always a work in progress. 

Often, businesspeople get so caught up working “in” their business that they forget to spend time working “on” their business. I believe that working “on” a business includes one’s professional development.

Most entrepreneurs only pay lip service to education (well, maybe not you since you’re  taking time to read this blog about business – but I’m talking about the average entrepreneur). When you mention education, everybody says, “Yeah, it’s really important,” and yet many people don’t consistently schedule time to listen to podcasts or audio programs; they don’t read books or blogs or watch videos to learn more about business and networking and leadership and other topics that can help them be more successful.

Ask any number of businesspeople and entrepreneurs if they would be willing to attend a seminar on building their business, and 75% of them will say “Yes!” And yet, if you continue to tell them that the seminar is three weeks from tomorrow at 7 pm, only a handful of those who initially said that they would attend will actually sign up.

Ben Franklin’s Wisdom

Benjamin Franklin once said, “If a man empties his purse into his head, no one can take it from him. An investment in knowledge always pays the highest return.”

Franklin didn’t mean to spend every penny you have on education. He meant that if you do spend money on education, it will be money well spent.

I love the enduring truth and wisdom in that quote. In fact, Lifelong Learning has been part of my personal values for most of my life. It is also one of the Core Values that I incorporated into BNI®, the company I founded in 1985.

Invest in YOU

Here’s a suggestion that can help get you started on the path to immersing and engaging in a culture of learning:

Look at your financials (or credit card statements or checking account) for the past year. Have you invested money into any type of ongoing business education? If you aren’t “emptying some of your purse into your head,” take a few minutes to think about what you want to learn that will help you build your business and then sign up for something this week. Yes, do it now.

I recommend that you invest an appropriate amount of money on learning for yourself and your business. If you don’t have any budget at all today, there is so much free material available online such as this blog, my videos, BNI, and other books and things from reputable leaders and authors. But still, you’re going to have to take time. And guess what? Time is money.

I think that successful businesspeople understand that if you want to earn more, you have to learn more. Be intentional about learning now to build your future success. Remember, your personal and professional self-development is always a work in progress. Invest in your education and enjoy the journey. 




Related Blog Posts:

Commit to Lifelong Learning

Since practically no college curriculum in networking…


Facts Tell, Stories Sellstring(24) "Facts Tell, Stories Sell"

Stories can be incredibly powerful in business, and in business networking. My friend Charlie Lawson, who calls himself The Unnatural Networker, shared his perspective on why stories are powerful tools that can help people be more memorable at networking meetings and events. He told me the following story as an example.

The Travel Agent and the Honeymoon

Marie is a travel agent and BNI® Member in the United Kingdom (UK). She was in her office on a Friday afternoon, it was almost 6:00 pm and she was thinking about the upcoming weekend and dinner with her friends. Her mind wasn’t focused on doing business as she reached the end of the workweek.

However, a call came into the office and there was a lady on the other end of the line who was very upset. She was crying and Marie asked her, “What’s going on? How can I help?” Well, this lady was getting married the next day, Saturday, and then was supposed to fly off on her honeymoon on Sunday – from the UK to the Caribbean. But the problem, the reason she was upset, was because there were no flights to the Caribbean. There was a strike; there were no flights, there was nothing going on. Effectively, the honeymoon was ruined. And she was calling Marie to say, “Look, I know it’s last minute. But is there anything you could do?”

Marie didn’t want to promise anything because this truly was last minute, so she said, “Let me see what I can do.” And she asked one question: “Where are you going to be tomorrow morning? Where will you be in the morning before your wedding?” The lady replied, “I’ll be getting ready at my mom’s house.” She gave Marie the address and the call ended.

Then Marie called a couple of her contacts. She went online and managed to source the exact same type of honeymoon – she got the same spec hotel, same date, same budget, she even found some of the same excursions that the couple had previously planned. The only difference was that it wasn’t in the Caribbean. It was in Hawaii, in the U.S.

The next morning, she went to see the lady at her mom’s house, handed her a package and said, “You are all set to go tomorrow. The tickets normally have a £150 late-booking fee, but that’s my wedding present to you. I hope you have a wonderful time in Hawaii, and a lovely day today.”

But wait, the story didn’t end there. Three weeks later, Marie received a postcard while at her office. On one side on the card was an idyllic Hawaiian beachside scene. And the other side had a few short words, “We don’t know what we would have done without you.”

After Charlie finished the story, he then asked me if I thought I would refer business to Marie based on that story. I said, “Absolutely, no question about it.”

Remembered, Recalled, Referred

When you tell stories like this at networking meetings or at your BNI weekly chapter meeting, they help you to be remembered, recalled, and referred by your fellow networkers. When you tell a really good story, other people are able to repeat it, even if it didn’t happen to them. They could say, “There’s a great travel agent. I have a friend, this is an experience she had.” They remember the story, and are able to recall and tell the story, almost word for word, because it was detailed and powerful.

Charlie says that good storytelling is like making a recipe – baking a cake, for example. You have an ingredients list and directions for how to put the right ingredients together in the proper order for the best results.

Six ingredients for a powerful story:

1. Problem
There has to be a problem. It’s as simple as that. If there isn’t a problem, some sort of issue or challenge, you haven’t got a story. There must be a problem that needs to be overcome.

2. Solution
There’s got to be a solution as well. Sometimes we think that the solution is always going to be a happy ending; keep in mind that it doesn’t necessarily resolve in that way every time. However, we’ve got to see the problem sorted out in some way during the story.

3. Structure
You need to have some structure to the story – a start, middle, and end.
Start with the Setup. This is where you lay out the problem, introduce the characters – who’s in it, what’s the issue? What are they going through? Where are they?

The middle is about what you did. Talk about how you, the professional, helped them and solved their problem.

End with the Afters. What happened after the story finished? Did everyone sail off happily into the sunset? Was there an agreeable alternative? Or did you need to refer them to someone else for the proper resolution?
**See more about the Structure below.

4. Emotion
This is key. When people feel the emotion, when they feel what the person in the story is going through – what they’re feeling and the challenges they’re facing, they can put themselves in their shoes and really understand the situation.

5. Characterization
Talk about the people in the story, the ‘characters’ such as the goodie, the baddie, the person who can solve the problem. Sometimes the baddie isn’t a James Bond-style-villain, it may be metaphorical. In Marie’s story, the baddie is the situation of not being able to go on a honeymoon. A compelling story needs to have all those characters.

6. Details
A memorable story has a couple of details to bring people into it. In Marie’s story, we know what time of day the bride-to-be contacted her and what Marie was thinking about right before the call came in. Beware of overdoing it with details, too many can make it unwieldy and hard to follow.

Focus on What is Important

**This is more information about #3, the Structure.

In the three sections of the Structure, the setup, what you did, and the afters, you need to weight your story appropriately. Charlie says that this is where many people often miss the mark in their storytelling. They put too much emphasis on the “what you did” part. He recommends that you weight the importance of these three sections in percentage terms.

The Setup:      47½% of importance.
What You Did:  5% of importance.
The Afters:      47½% of importance.

Yes, you read that correctly. Only 5% of the importance in the story comes from what you did. As Charlie shared, here’s the thing – what you do is actually quite boring. Yes, understandably what you do is your life’s work and your business, and you love it. However, from a storytelling point of view, and to get others to refer new customers to you, what you do and how you do it is the least interesting part for those listening.

Your fellow networkers want to hear about how the client felt. How did they feel beforehand? They were obviously worried about something or upset about something, or had an issue, or needed something sorted. How did they feel afterwards? Yes, you saved them time and money. Were they happy? Relieved? Safe? The part that’s important in Marie’s story is that she helped them go on their honeymoon when they thought they could not. It’s those bits that create the emotion and get people remembering and recalling your story. It’s less about what you do, and much more about how the client felt about you and what you did, both before and after. That’s the key to a good story.

All of those ingredients, in the proper proportions, go into making a great story. It takes some work and practice to make it happen. Focus your stories on the goal to be remembered, recalled, and referred.

Storytelling is more interesting, memorable, and referable than simple facts about the products and services that you offer.
We can all use facts to TELL others about our products and services. It is the stories we tell that SELL people on thinking of you the next time they hear someone with a need or problem that you can help with.




Related Posts:

Slowing Down or Speeding Upstring(27) "Slowing Down or Speeding Up"

There’s an old story about speeding up or slowing down that I would like to share on my blog today.

An Airbus 380 is flying over the Atlantic Ocean, maintaining a steady speed of 800 km/h at an altitude of 30,000 feet. Suddenly, a Eurofighter with Tempo Mach 2 appears alongside it.

The pilot of the fighter jet slows down and flies parallel to the Airbus. Using the radio, they greet the pilot of the passenger plane by saying, “Hey there, having a boring flight with your Airbus? Let me show you something!”

The fighter jet rolls onto its back, accelerates forward, breaks through the sound barrier, ascends rapidly to an exhilarating height and then swiftly dives down almost to sea level in a thrilling maneuver. It then loops back next to the Airbus and asks eagerly, “So, what do you think?”

The pilot of the Airbus responds calmly but appreciatively; “That was quite impressive! Now it’s your turn to take a look.”

The jet pilot watches attentively as the Airbus continues to fly steadily straight ahead with its unchanged speed. After 15 minutes pass by without any extraordinary actions from the Airbus, its pilot radios back saying humorously, “Well now, how did you find that?”

Perplexed and curious about what just happened, the jet pilot asks in confusion; “What did you do?”

With a cheerful laugh in their voice, the Airbus pilot replies; “Oh well! I just took advantage of some free time. I stood up from my seat to stretch my legs and walked towards the rear of our aircraft to use the restroom. Then I made myself a cup of coffee and treated myself to a delicious chocolate fudge pastry.”

The lesson to be learned from this story is that when you’re young, the thrill of speed and adrenaline can seem appealing. However, as you grow older and gain wisdom, you realize that comfort and peace hold greater significance. This concept is often referred to as S.O.S.; Slower, Older, but Smarter.
This message is dedicated to my readers who see the value in slowing down.

International Networking Week 2024string(34) "International Networking Week 2024"

In 2007, BNI® launched an initiative called International Networking Week® which is held during the first week of February every year.

International Networking Week began as a way to help business leaders around the world connect with each other and build their networking skills together. The goal is to recognize the power of networking and celebrate its key role in the development and success of businesses across the globe.

It is about creating an awareness relating to the process of what I call “relationship networking,” an approach to doing business based on building long-term, successful, and mutually beneficial relationships through the networking process.

Watch this video to learn about the 18th annual event February 4-10, 2024.

How to Be Part of International Networking Week

Everyone is invited to take part in local and global events happening February 4th – 10th. Register for a local networking event, reconnect with a former colleague or customer, or visit a BNI Chapter.

BNI Members and Directors can participate in virtual and in-person Speed Networking events to connect with businesspeople in your region, country or from around the world.

Help us reach our collective goal of 500,000 1-2-1 meetings in a week by completing five 1-2-1s with other BNI members between February 4-10, 2024. (Do at least ONE 1-2-1 that week to be part of the record.😊)

And share your stories about how networking has impacted your business and your life. Use #INW2024 to connect with others and celebrate the incredible breakthroughs that come from networking.


I believe that networking is not only a great way to get business, it is a great way to DO business. International Networking Week celebrates relationship networking which is about creating long-term relationships to build your business. Mark your calendar and be part of this special event!

Remember: It’s Not Net-Sit or Net-Eat — It’s Called Networkstring(65) "Remember: It’s Not Net-Sit or Net-Eat — It’s Called Network"

I came up with the phrase, “It’s Not Net-Sit or Net-Eat — It’s Called Network” back in 1985 when I went to a business mixer and witnessed virtually every person either sitting along the edges of the room or standing around eating and drinking.  There was almost no one who was actually networking. It struck me like a bolt of lightning that this was supposed to be a “networking” event, but people were just eating and drinking (especially the latter)! As a result, before the first mixer that I personally organized, I went to a printer and had my new phrase printed up on little signs and put them all around the room to remind people why they were there.

I also came up with the original version of the 10 Commandments of Networking which I printed and posted around the room at that event.

The 10 Commandments of Networking

  1. Always have the tools to network with you (business cards, name badge, etc.).
  2. Set a goal for the number of people you will meet.
  3. Act like a host, rather than acting like a guest.
  4. Listen to people and ask questions about what they do.
  5. Don’t try to sell to them.
  6. Give referrals whenever possible.
  7. Exchange business cards.
  8. Manage your time efficiently.
  9. Write notes about your conversation.
  10. Follow up!

The last thing I did before the event got fully underway was to tell everyone that it’s ok to come to a networking event with someone you know or a co-worker; just don’t hang around with that person the whole time.

What a difference in networking events!  By just giving a little guidance to the participants, the event was much more successful than the ones I’d seen in the past. So GET UP, get off your phones, and network!




Related Blogs:

Ten Commandments for Business Networking

Ten Commandments for Business Networking

It amazes me the number of people I meet…


tips for successful business

Tips for Hosting a Successful Business Mixer

Hosting a successful business mixer can…


Top 5 Blogs of 2023string(19) "Top 5 Blogs of 2023"

These are my Top 5 blogs of 2023 based on YOUR visits to my website.



Last year’s favorites included BNI’s 38th anniversary in January and International Networking Week 2023 in February.

My 10 Tips for Networking Success at a Business Mixer was a popular blog, too. So was The Prima Donna Syndrome blog – how to recognize it and helpful strategies for interactions with people who display those traits.

Also in the Top 5 was a good reminder that Today is the Tomorrow you were worried about Yesterday. Remember, it is up to us to make the most of every day.

I appreciate everyone who reads & visits my blog – thank you!

Which one was your favorite?


Happy New Year – 2024string(23) "Happy New Year – 2024"

Today is the first day of the new year.  It symbolizes a fresh start and the opportunity to move forward in bigger and better ways.

Every December, I take time to reflect on the past year, then make a strategic plan and vision for the year ahead. Here are three things you can do to create your vision for 2024:

  1. Dream Big. Create your vision for the upcoming year.
  2. Make a Plan. Outline the ways that you achieve your vision.
  3. Take Action. Determine when and how you will do the things in your plan.

May the New Year be filled with good health, prosperity, and happiness for you and your family. Wishing you all the best in 2024!

THIS is the Futurestring(18) "THIS is the Future"

In 2018, I wrote an article for where I said that in ten years or so, holographic meetings would be the future and it now appears the future is getting closer.  I said that I believe the future of face-to-face networking is online, and we’ve now had our first BNI meeting with a hologram!

Two weeks ago, BNI United Arab Emirates National Director, Anuradhha Shah, shared a post on my social media with some video snippets of the holographic images of the BNI Insomniacs Chapter’s President.

Some variation of this is the future (and I still want to be Obi Wan Kenobi when it is).




Related Blog Posts:

Why Mixed Reality Meetings of the Future Will Be Face-to-Face

When I started BNI in 1985, the biggest question…


Networking In-Person, Online, or a Blend?

In 2017, I was sitting in the back of a senior leadership meeting for BNI…


Office Party Dos and Don’tsstring(33) "Office Party Dos and Don’ts"

Sure, everyone wants to have a little fun at the office holiday party. But when there’s an open bar involved, bad behavior can follow . . .

Don’t forget that anytime you are among coworkers, you are being evaluated. You’ve got a chance to be memorable. Make sure it’s for a good reason!

Here are some tips to help you have fun at your next office party.

How to Avoid Making a Bad Impression

Drinking too much and making a fool of yourself is just one of the major DON’TS at your work party. Here are a couple more:

  • Whatever you do, don’t go negative. That sounds obvious, but it happens all the time, especially if you’re nervous. Don’t complain about how busy you are, how the bartender messed up your drink, or how bad the traffic is on the way in to work. You want to be remembered, but not as the person who is always negative.
  • Don’t be a suck up.Executives appreciate knowing their work makes a difference but don’t “puppy-dog lick” them to death. Instead, share a specific story about how their big wins this year helped someone or made a difference in the work you do at the company.

Small Talk is a Critical Business Skill

Here are some business networking skills that will make you shine for all the right reasons.

Office gatherings are a very good place to discuss collaborative or co-creative projects, which is the subject of my latest book, The 3rd Paradigm, is all about.  Holiday parties are a good time to set the stage for future co-creation. You can also scout out people who would be good partners in a project, or even try out different communication strategies critical to the future of work co-creation.

These are my five tips for becoming good at small talk.

  1. Here’s an important point that most people may not realize: You don’t have to know anything about the topic to converse about the topic or to ask questions about it! Take a few minutes each day to browse enough headlines to arm with some knowledge of current events, pop culture, and yes, even sports. (I strongly recommend that you avoid talking about politics or religion at business networking events.)
  2. In one of my books, I wrote about a very savvy networker, Susan RoAne, who – though she had literally zero interest in sports – read the sports section in her newspaper from cover to cover every single day. “Why on earth would you subject herself to this?” I asked her (as I am admittedly not a sports fan either). She replied, “My networking functions are primarily attended by men. I don’t want to stay on the sidelines while important conversations are going on, conversations that invariable start with a discussion about last night’s game.”
  3. By asking questions about the topic, you make the person you’re talking to feel like an expert! However, you must listen attentively. Stay engaged in the conversation; don’t scan the room for the next person you want to talk with and don’t wave at someone you know while the person you are with is talking.
  4. Talk about something current in the news. It’s probally easier you think. Mobile, reputable news sites have set up their pages with easy to read, convenient categories, such as Top News, Sports, Entertainment, Tech, and more. Either at night or first thing in the morning, take a few minutes to read the headlines, and maybe the first 1-2 sentences.
  5. When you are having a conversation with a new contact or fellow networker at an event, follow the stream of thought like the roots of a tree. Go deeper on the topic by asking those relevant questions, maintain eye contact, and self-check your body language every so often.

Six Ways to Remember Someone’s Name

  1. Stop the Name-Shaming. Let’s break this vicious cycle of saying “I’m bad at remembering names.” If you keep telling yourself you’re bad at something, your brain is going to believe it and throw in the towel before the networking event even begins. So, let’s all raise our imaginary glasses and toast to a new mantra: “I’ve got this. I can be better at remembering names.”
  2. Repetition Repertoire. Imagine this: You’re introduced to someone, they say their name is Jamison, and you think, “Alright, Jamison, got it.” Fast forward five seconds, and it’s like your brain just performed a vanishing act. The solution? Repetition! Ask them to say their name one more time, like you’re savoring the sound. “Jamison”, then, if appropriate, say something relevant to the moment like: “that’s a memorable name, why did your parents name you that?”
  3. The Name Ninja Technique. You’ve nailed the repetition, but now what? Integrate their name into the conversation. Say things like; “How did you hear about tonight’s event Jamison?” As you continue to talk make sure to respond a couple times using their name as appropriate. “Wow, that sounds amazing Jamison!”  Towards the end of the conversation ask them what social media platform they are most active on. Then, ask for one of their business cards and make a note as to the social media platform that they like to use. The conversation and the business card will help anchor their name in your mind.
  4. Association Amusement Park. For some people, remembering names is like playing a wild game of word association. So, if you meet a Jamison who’s really into football and travel, picture this: Jamison wearing a football helmet, kicking a suitcase across a field while shouting travel tips. Vivid mental images stick like peanut butter to the roof of your brain. Bonus points if it makes you chuckle in the middle of a serious conversation.

    Whatever form of association you make, dedicate the name to memory. Make associations in your mind.  Write notes… When you are back home, review your meeting and try to remember what that person looked like and what they were saying and doing. You may want to send a quick “nice to meet you” message online to help you remember the conversation you had with them.

  5. The Phonetic Finesse. If you’ve ever stumbled over someone’s name like it’s a tongue-twister on steroids, try this technique. Ask them if there’s a particular way they prefer their name to be pronounced. Not only will you earn extra points for courtesy, but you’ll also have a unique mnemonic device to remember their name. For example, if they say, “It’s actually pronounced ‘Jay-muh-sun,'” you’ll forever think of them pronouncing their name.
  6. The Visual Anchor. For some people, associating the person’s name with a distinctive feature of their appearance is helpful. If Jamison has striking green eyes, imagine him surrounded by jam jars made of emerald glass. This technique capitalizes on the power of visual memory, making it easier to recall their name by conjuring up their unique physical trait.

Bonus Tip: The Greeting Gambit. Saying “it’s nice to see you” instead of “it’s nice to meet you” is rooted in the idea that many social encounters are not actually the first time you’ve seen someone. In today’s interconnected world, you might have come across someone’s photos or posts on social media (yes, it happens, I’ve had someone who felt bad that I didn’t remember them from our social media connection), you may have heard about them from mutual friends, or even seen them in a previous event, webinar, or video call. By acknowledging this, you’re not treating the encounter as completely new but rather as a continuation of a relationship, no matter how brief or distant. Plus – this has the added benefit of not offending someone that you’ve previously met.

For example, there was the wife of a business associate who was once at a party at my home.  Many months later, I ran into her at a grocery store which of course, was a completely different context.  I recognized her face, but I had no idea where I knew her from.  When she came up and said hello, I said, “hi, it’s great to see you.”  She then went on to talk about how much she enjoyed the party and voila – it immediately came back to me where I met her.

Office parties can be lots of fun and great for building business relationships. Remember to honor the event; be aware of the purpose and focus of the gathering. Relax, smile, meet new people and use the tips and reminders above to make your office party a positive and memorable one.

1 2 3 4 5 145