The Confidence Pointstring(20) "The Confidence Point"

For business networking success, it is important to understand that referrals take place over time. In BNI®, we use the educational concept called the Referral Confidence Curve. It takes time to receive referrals from networking partners. There is little-to-no chance that someone is going to refer you if they don’t know anything about you. You have to invest the time to build business relationships before you can expect to get referrals from your network.

In my book, “Work Your Network With The 4Cs,” my co-author Dr. Oudi Abouchacra and I share how each of The 4Cs affects the referral quality and quantity within your network. We discuss how Competence, Credibility, Clarity, and Connectivity impact the Referral Confidence Curve and I’ll share more about each of the Cs in future blogs.

Initially, referrals start to happen on a limited and gradual basis. However, everything begins to change when the threshold, called the Confidence Point, is met.
The Confidence Point is depicted as the red X on the graph above.

This point represents a threshold that, once it’s established, changes the curve thereafter. When your network has complete confidence in you, referrals will begin to flow your way with a greater magnitude, and as a result, the curve steepens after the confidence threshold is reached. The Referral Confidence Curve assumes that when people are not confident in you, or your business, or your service or product, you’re not going to get many referrals. And when the Confidence Point is reached, referrals increase more steeply. 

Quantity AND Quality

It’s interesting to note that not only do those referrals increase in quantity, they often increase in quality, too. When networking partners have confidence in you, they refer others to you with that confidence and begin passing higher quality referrals.
Whatever the type of your business, it will take time before people have enough confidence in your abilities to know that referring other people to you will not hurt their own reputation. Think about it – none of us want to give our best clients and our best customers as referrals until we know that the person is going to do a good job with them.

It’s common for networking group members to test you out, to see if you’re good at what you do. They may use your product or service occasionally to find out how well you do what you say you’re going to do. When a member uses you, that’s really important because they can then confidently refer you to their network. It helps you reach that confidence threshold much quicker.

Earning Confidence

Most professionals know that the results of the business interaction with a potential referral partner and/or their fellow networking member can lead to more referrals from them. They think: this is a friend of mine, I’m in a networking organization with them. I want to make sure and do a good job for them.

I learned this for myself years ago when I bought my house in Los Angeles, California.
I had a lot of work done on the house by a number of contractors, and almost all of them

were BNI members. However, there was one specialty contractor I hired because there was no BNI member for that category in my area. Afterward, I found out from one of the BNI contractors that the specialty contractor had asked the rest of them, ‘Why are you guys busting your butt so hard on this job? I mean, you guys are working really hard.”  And one of them replied, ‘Yeah, well, this is the Founder of BNI. You know, we want to do a good job because he’ll refer us to other people.”  And they were right, I did.

The key takeaways from the Confidence Point on the graph are that if you have not established confidence with your network, you should not expect many referrals. If you HAVE established confidence within your network, you should expect a steady stream of high-quality referrals over time. Remember, it is critical to your business that others have confidence in you.

Have you experienced more referrals after reaching the Confidence Point with your networking partners?

 

 

 

 

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Work Your Network With The 4Csstring(30) "Work Your Network With The 4Cs"

I am excited to tell you about my new book, co-authored with Dr. Oudi Abouchacra, called “Work Your Network with the 4Cs.” Our goal with this book is to empower businesspeople, BNI® members, and other professionals with the fundamentals to create a powerful personal network.

In the book, we refer to our four key fundamentals as The 4Cs. They are:
Credibility – trust or trustworthiness
Competence – knowledge and skill
Clarity – understandable communication
Connectivity – quantity and quality of connections

Consciously or subconsciously, we all assess the people we interact with in terms of their credibility, competence, clarity, and connectivity. And they, too, are evaluating us with respect to the 4Cs. In future blogs and podcasts, I’ll dive into the details for each of these four, exploring how they apply to the business world, and how you can build a greater network and work that network effectively. 

Business from Networking and Referrals

For anyone who has been in business, even for a limited time, you recognize that a percentage, and it’s often a large percentage, of business referrals that you receive comes from your professional network. In fact, for small business owners, regardless of the industry or sector, networking referrals are typically a very significant proportion of their business.

A few years ago, we did an online BNI survey, open to the public, that had almost 4000 participants worldwide. We found that 73% of businesses reported getting most of their business from networking and referrals. That is a compelling statistic!
The other ways they got business were advertising – about 12%; P.R. was less than 5%; cold calling was less than 10%. And 73% was from networking and referrals!

The irony in that statistic is that more than 87% of the people in the same survey said they had never taken a college course that covered networking or word-of-mouth marketing. Forget about an actual class on networking; we’re talking about a course that just even discussed the topic of networking. It’s ironic that most people get their business from networking, and most people have never been taught how to network.

This is disturbing on many levels. Business students are almost completely unaware of how crucial networking will be to their future success. Business professionals are not investing in a source of income – networking and referrals – that is potentially responsible for nearly three-quarters of their livelihood. Additionally, they are not investing the necessary time in growing their network. 

Many businesses are leaving opportunities on the table and those opportunities could be the ticket to taking their business to the next level. Dr. Oudi and I want this book to do what colleges and universities have failed at doing.

The 4Cs are designed to help you gain more referrals with every handshake and with everyone you meet. Each of our Cs – Competence, Credibility, Clarity, and Connectivity, has the potential to affect the referral quality, quantity, significance, and consistency within your personal network.


Special Offer

Right now, the Kindle version of “Work Your Network with the 4Cs” is on sale for only 99¢ USD. You can download your digital copy at amazon.com (you don’t need a Kindle device; you can get the free Kindle app).
This offer is at amazon.com only and may not be available in all areas.

This special offer ends on Sunday, August 21st, 2022, at 3:00 am EDT USA.

Transactional or Relational Networking?string(39) "Transactional or Relational Networking?"

When it comes to successful business networking, it is important to recognize the difference between a transactional approach and a relational approach.

My book, “Business Networking and Sex (not what you think),” is based on a survey of 12,000 people from which we found that women and men DO network differently. I share more about it in this short video.

This video is part of my Master Class from the BNI®  2021 Global Convention.

Which is Better?

As your heard in the video, the survey of 12,000 people found that men tend to focus more on transactions than relationships, and women tend to be more relational in the way they approach business networking.

However, it also showed that all people who focused first on building relationships and then on business scored higher in success. When you are focused only on making a sale and completing the transaction, you are never going to create the trust and build the relationship that is needed to generate the business referrals you seek. 

My Experience

My personal tendency is to just go for the facts, and that is not an effective networking practice. It has taken many years for me to learn how to ask questions to find out more about the other person and to be more relational in the conversation.

Successful business networking takes both a mindset – a mental attitude, AND a skillset – a collection of abilities. When you network in a relational way by building connections with other people, you are going to generate more business. Remember, if your network is a mile wide but only an inch deep, it will never be a powerful network. It needs to be both WIDE and, in some places, very DEEP.

What is your experience? Have you found success through the business relationships you’ve built?

 

 

 

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Hard Work and Good Choicesstring(26) "Hard Work and Good Choices"

I believe that everyone wants some degree of success. I’ve yet to meet somebody who doesn’t want to be successful at something important in their lives. I also believe that while everyone is entitled to pursue success, success itself is not an entitlement.

It is largely determined by our hard work and our choices. I have known many people who work hard but make bad choices, and most of them think they deserve to be more successful because they have worked so hard. On the other hand, I don’t know of very many successful people who have made good choices but didn’t work hard.

Working hard is only the first part of success. Making good choices is the second part. It truly takes both to achieve success at whatever you do.

Advice About Making Decisions

Years ago, when I was the CEO for BNI®, I knew the choices I made were important to the business. My decisions impacted hundreds of employees and franchise owners, as well as hundreds of thousands of BNI members around the world. I remember talking to a good friend and mentor about some tough decisions I had to make and my concerns about them. He said, “Not every decision you make has to be a good one. Just make sure that you make more good ones than bad ones and when you make a bad one – minimize the impact by fixing it quickly.”

Wow! That was great advice! It is advice that precisely hits the point about working hard and making good choices. Not every choice you make must be on the mark. However, enough of them do so that you can get the results you want. Some of my biggest lessons in business have come from my losses, not my successes. Generally, neither had much to do with luck but instead with the choices I made or the commitment I gave to the project. I think the harder you work, the luckier you get. And you want to work smarter, not just harder.

Plan the Work and Work the Plan

During my career, I’ve had the opportunity to work with thousands of people who have experienced varying degrees of success in their lives. A recurring theme I see with these people is that they plan their work and work their plan. They think through their possible choices, make the best ones they can with the information they have, and then work hard to carry out the choices they’ve made.

I remember talking to someone I’d known for years about the growth of my business and some of the personal goals I had achieved, and he said, “Man you’re lucky. It must be nice.”
I responded by saying “Yeah, I’m “lucky”. Let me tell you the secret to my “luck.” First, I went to college for ten years. During that time, I started my own business and  worked really long hours for two decades. Along the way, I mortgaged my house a couple of times for the business, and I wrote five books. You too can have this kind of “luck.” All you need to do is apply this kind of effort to whatever you do, and you can be just as lucky.” He laughed and said, “Okay, okay, I get it!” 

Success is most often earned. It is not handed over because you are entitled.
If being successful was easy, everyone would have the success they think they deserve.  Working hard is only the first part of success. Making good choices is the second part. It’s important to remember that it truly takes BOTH to achieve success at whatever you do.

Class Reunions: Do’s and Don’tsstring(35) "Class Reunions: Do’s and Don’ts"

Many countries throughout the world have class reunions for high school and sometimes for college, too. During a recent radio interview, I was asked, “What do you do at a class reunion? How do you make it worthwhile for yourself?” I thought it might be of value to share the answers that I gave for each of the questions.

Elevator Pitch: What to say when you’re asked, “What have you been up to? What do you do?”

The idea with an elevator pitch is to tell people what you do in a very short period of time. And it’s important in that elevator pitch, or your weekly presentation at your networking group, to keep it simple. Don’t try to tell everything you do in a short amount of time. Avoid using industry jargon. Share your Unique Selling Proposition.  

You want to talk about what makes you different, and, more important than anything else, you want to be very clear about what things will look like after you do what you do. Don’t just say, “I’m an accountant.” or “I’m a lawyer.” Describe how the situation has changed for a client after they have used your services or products.

Body Language: Is there a way to stand that subliminally invites people to have a conversation with you?

I’ve written and talked about the importance of open groups, and about Open Twos and Open Threes in previous blogs and BNI Podcasts. You always want to be in a stance that is inviting

You want to make and maintain good eye contact throughout the conversation, too. I believe it is really important to stay focused on the person that you are talking with. I also think it’s important to use some hand gestures. Not where your hands are constantly moving, however, you can use gestures that are well matched to your message. Your facial expressions are something else to be aware of, remember that every facial expression tells a story. 

Should you keep the conversation light? How personal should you get?

My answer is that contextual intelligence is key here. How well you knew them in school should determine how deep you go in a conversation. If you knew each other well, it’s okay to talk about more personal topics than if you barely knew them. If you barely knew them in school, don’t try to go into a deep conversation.

What if you’re feeling nervous about going?

I think many people might feel nervous about something like a reunion. My advice is to reach out to a couple of your friends from school if you’re nervous about going. Contact some people that you’ve kept in touch with and see if they’re going to the event. If so, make sure to meet with them as soon as you get there. If you meet somebody that you were good friends with in high school or in college as you arrive, then you’re going to feel more comfortable walking into the reunion. 

How can you become an “opportunity magnet” at your class reunion?            

Remember that the reunion is an opportunity to reconnect with people. Master networkers keep their eyes and ears open for opportunities to help others. When a former classmate says they have a problem or are looking for someone in a certain industry, offer to connect them to someone you know who can help them. When you learn about their profession, ask how you can help them in their business. Being helpful can make you memorable after the reunion.

Should you try to sell your product or service?

My answer is brief. NO – absolutely don’t sell to them. Don’t make the mistake of using the class reunion as a face-to-face cold calling opportunity. Desperation is not referable, it’s not saleable. I’ve gone to class reunions where people have done that. It just doesn’t work. People really do want solutions for their problems, they just don’t want to be sold to – especially at a school reunion.

Update social media?

Should you update your LinkedIn page or your social media before you go to the event?
My answer is YES. You always want to keep your social media pages up to date because anyone who really wants to connect with successful people at the reunion is going to do a search on you to see how you’re doing and what you’re up to.

What about following up?

How do you follow up with revived contacts after the reunion? Do you reconnect on social media, ask for their phone number, or what?
You definitely want to reconnect and keep in touch with old friends. I recommend that you ask for their business card or ask for their social media moniker and then connect with them either via social media or by email after you see them at a class reunion. Reminder: don’t try to sell to them when you follow up!

I hope you find these tips useful when you attend YOUR class reunion so that you have an enjoyable and worthwhile experience.
Share your story about using these suggestions in the comment section below.

 

 

 

 

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Set a Vision That Makes a Difference

Set a Vision That Makes a Differencestring(36) "Set a Vision That Makes a Difference"

I believe that anyone can do extraordinary things with the right mindset, a plan and effort. I believe that our vision controls our perception, and our perception becomes our reality.

Set a vision that makes a difference to the people around you – then hold the vision, NOT the obstacles. This is something that is so difficult for a lot of people; they continuously focus on the obstacles. The truth is if you want to be successful, hold the vision, not the obstacles. Forget about the noise and distractions all around you. There have always been distractions and there always will be distractions.  Set a vision that makes a difference to the people around you.

Our vision controls our perception, and our perception becomes our reality.
Don’t become so attached to a limiting belief that you can’t see what is possible. Move past limiting beliefs and move towards meaningful beliefs.
Remember to keep your focus on your vision.

Walking into a Networking Event – Where Do You Start?

Walking into a Networking Event – Where Do You Start?string(55) "Walking into a Networking Event – Where Do You Start?"

Many people walk into a business networking event, look at all the people standing around, and wonder, “Where do I start?” I think a lot of people feel that way. Sometimes I feel that way, too, when I walk into a room. I’ve learned some tips to help networkers get more comfortable meeting new people at these events.
This video is part of my Master Class from the BNI®  2021 Global Convention.

Look for Open Groups of People

When you walk into any networking event, you want to look for the open twos and open threes. You want to see people who are standing slightly askew, so that you can just walk on up and introduce yourself without feeling like you interrupted a private or closed conversation. This is a subtle and significant technique to determine where to go to begin networking  when you go to an event or mixer. 

It is also an effective practice for networking groups, such as BNI chapters. The leadership team can remind members to always stand in open stances because it’s very inclusive. It makes people feel welcome when they can easily step in and have a conversation with the members.

A Suggestion for Introverts

For those of you who are introverts, consider this. It is actually easier to join a larger open group of people at a networking event. I know it seems counterintuitive, however it’s true. If you can find an open four or open five or six, it’s easy to slip in unnoticed and then just slide into the conversation after a while. This is often easier than joining an open two or an open three.

I hope you find these suggestions helpful for your next business networking event or chapter meeting. I’d love to hear about your experience with finding and joining open groups of people at events.

Who Has Inspired You?string(21) "Who Has Inspired You?"

I’m often asked, “Who has been an inspiration to you during your life?”
My answer is that there are a handful of people who have influenced me in terms of business and personal development. I’d like to tell you about four who have impacted my life both professionally and personally.

Michael E. Gerber

The first is Michael Gerber. Michael is an icon in the field of management. He wrote the book “The E-Myth” (entrepreneurial myth). I did not know Michael when I read the book, which I first picked up when I started BNI®. One of the things that really resonated with me was that he talked about systems, systems, systems. You have to write everything down and create systems. Make it replicable and sustainable. AND you have to learn how to work on the business, not just in the business. There are so many things that Michael wrote that I applied to BNI. I truly believe that BNI, as an organization today, exists the way it does because of the influence that “The E-Myth” had on me.

What really amazed me is that going forward almost 20 years, I finally had the opportunity to meet Michael and spend a fair amount of time with him. He visited me at my home, which reinforced my attitude about his knowledge and business acumen. He is amazing. I highly recommend that you read his book. He absolutely makes a difference in people’s business lives.

Jack Canfield

Number two is for personal development as much as business development, and that is Jack Canfield. You may know Jack from the “Chicken Soup for the Soul” book series which has sold over 500 million copies worldwide. I’ve gotten to know Jack really well and I think he is an amazing guy. He invited me into the Transformational Leadership Council (TLC), which I have been a member of now for a number of years, serving on their board and membership committee.

For somebody who has sold 500 million books and is as well-known as he is, oftentimes ego enters the room several minutes before they do. Not so with Jack. He is easy to talk to, very well-read, low ego, very intelligent, very personable, very driven, and very connectable.

Here is one of the things that I really love about him. He is highly engaged when he is at a seminar. He is up front, listening to everyone’s presentation and taking copious notes. I have learned a lot from Jack; he is a great guy. I urge people to read his books on success, such as “The Success Principles,” and read any of the Chicken Soup books – they are outstanding.

Stewart Emery

The third person is someone who may not have the name recognition as the first two, however he has really influenced me personally and has influenced BNI. It is Stewart Emery. Stewart has written a number of books including, “Success Built to Last.” I highly recommend that book. He has also written the book, “Do You Matter?” It’s about branding and design of a business, which is really good. I think Stewart is one of the great minds of our time. He has come up with some ideas that are really powerful, two of which I talk about often.

The first is culture eats strategy for breakfast. I love that concept. Culture eats strategy for breakfast. If you are part of an organization that has marginal culture and great strategy, you’re not going to do well as an organization. If you are part of an organization with great culture and a marginal strategy, you will probably do pretty well. If you are an organization that has great culture and a great strategy, you are going to beat the competition every day of the week.

The second thing that I learned from Stewart is the concept that became the basis for the book we co-authored together, “Who’s In Your Room?” The idea is that, assuming you let somebody into a metaphorical room that you create and you can’t ever let them out, would you think twice about who you let in? It’s a great concept and it is particularly relevant for BNI chapters and networking groups because if you bring people in, you realize that you are going to be with these people for a long time and can never get rid of them if you let them in. I appreciate Stewart for sharing this brilliant concept with me, and with all of us.

Sir Richard Branson

I got a chance to meet Richard Branson, entrepreneur and founder of the Virgin Group, several times through my visits to Necker Island. I’ve spent time with him there and got to know him reasonably well. He is gracious, kind and patient with people. He can connect to anyone at any level of an organization and make them feel empowered and good about themselves. He knows how to relax and have fun, and he’s a great host. I love that he has absolute laser focus on anyone he meets; he gives his undivided attention to them. He talks with that person as if they are the only one in the room, maintaining eye contact with them the whole time. I have gone to school on Richard and his ability to network effectively with all people at all levels of an organization, and I’ve learned a lot from him.

So those are people who have influenced me both personally and professionally.
Who has inspired you? I invite you to think about two or three people who have made a difference in your life and share why & how in the comments section.

I believe gratitude is a good thing. I suggest that if you know these people personally, or if you can connect with them somehow, let them know that they have influenced your life.

 

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Give Valuable Information to Get More Business

Give Valuable Information to Get More Businessstring(46) "Give Valuable Information to Get More Business"

We all want to do business with people we know and trust. So, how do you build rapport and create trust with new contacts at business networking events? One way is to offer value-added advice – solid, helpful information provided out of a genuine concern for another person.

For instance, a real estate agent may be talking with someone at a networking event who is not ready to buy a home today, however they are considering it soon. The agent could say something like this:
“Well, I know you’re not interested in buying a home right now. When you’re ready to start looking, I highly recommend checking out the north part of town. Many of my clients have seen their homes appreciate in the 10 to 20 percent range, and from what I understand, the city is thinking about building another high school in that area.”

This example shows that it is possible to offer relevant information that has something of value without being too salesy. A statement like this acknowledges that the person is not currently in the market, and yet it still demonstrates the real estate agent’s expertise, making them memorable when it’s time for the new contact to begin house hunting.

This model can be effective for consultants, accountants, financial planners, coaches, and for most professionals in a service-based industry in which knowledge is the main product. 

Give a Little Test Drive

Some people are concerned about giving away their intellectual capital for free. I say look at it this way: very few people are going choose to work with you if they’re not sure you can do the job and provide what they need.

If your business does not have a tangible product, you only have your technical expertise to demonstrate your capability to help them solve their problem. Think about it – when you’re ready to buy an automobile, it doesn’t matter how much research you’ve done on a particular model, you’re probably not going to sign on the dotted line until you’ve taken the car for a test drive.

The same is true for your prospective customers. Give them a little test drive to show how it would feel to do business with you. If you are a marketing consultant, give them a few ideas on how they can increase the exposure of their business. Don’t go overboard; simply offer a technique you read about or tried with one of your clients. Just give them something they can try to see if it works for them.

This way of offering advice lead to a positive conversation with new contacts while you’re networking, and it also increases the likelihood of them contacting you when they have a future need for your type of service.  

Prospective Referral Sources

Remember that your networking group members are also your prospective referral sources. Consider the ways that you can give them valuable advice related to your specialty or profession. Perhaps you can tell them about an upcoming change in procedures that will affect them, give tips on how to initiate the changes they will need to make, or provide other pertinent information that can help your chapter members achieve success.

One of the goals of a master connector is to help your networking partners feel that you are a link to privileged and helpful information. The advice you give may lead prospective referral sources to seek you out for answers to their own questions, which is a great way to remind them of what you can do for others.  

Here are some tips to help you decide what to share with your network and how to share it with them:

  • Make a list of the topics that you feel comfortable and confident giving advice on.
  • Decide whether you will share information formally, such as in a newsletter or a presentation at your networking group, or informally, such as a personal note.
  • Determine how frequently you will provide updates on the topics.
  • Ask your sources to think of others who might benefit from your advice.
  • Periodically ask your network members if they find your information useful. You can ask them if they have other questions or topics that you can share, too.
  • Be sure that your network members know that they can tell you if they no longer wish to receive your updates.

Offering valuable information to your network will not only help them, it will also keep you on their minds and encourage them to refer you and speak highly of your professional knowledge to people they know.

A Giving Approach

I learned about the power of giving when I was in my first management position working for private industry. I went to each member of my team and asked, “How can I help you?” By offering to help people with this simple question, I built strong relationships with them and learned what it was that they needed most from me.

I later discovered that this approach worked very well in promoting my consulting services in my own business. I would find ways to help people – even if it meant not selling them my services. The attitude of helping with a ‘giving’ approach was a way to build my credibility and it brought people back to me later when they had a need.

When it comes to building rapport and creating trust, offering value-added advice is one of the best ways to do so. Everyone can benefit when you give valuable information to your business networking group and networking partners.

Have you found it beneficial to share some of your expertise with potential customers? I’d like to read about your experience in the Comment section.

The 2nd Annual BNI Founder’s Daystring(34) "The 2nd Annual BNI Founder’s Day"

In April of 2021, I announced something that I had been contemplating for quite a while: a special day of one-to-one meetings with BNI Members from around the world. The idea came to me from “The West Wing” TV series – the episode titled ‘The Big Block of Cheese,’ which was based on something that U.S. President Andrew Jackson did in 1835. The tradition from that episode motivated me to begin a networking variation of the idea.

As the Founder of BNI®, I will have one day each year that is full of meetings with BNI Members who want to talk with me about their networking and business questions.
This year, during the 2nd Annual BNI Founder’s Day, I had the honor to meet with twelve members from around the world:

Anshu Harsh, India
Alpesh Mehta, India
Muhanthis Ehsan, Sri Lanka
Bhawana Satwani, UAE
Paulo Roberto Freitas, Brazil
Karina Megna, Argentina (with translator Gabriela)
Chayne Riggs, USA
Chris Vezina, Canada
Angelica Lobo, Mexico (with husband Alberto)
Angel Hammering, USA
Paulita Baclig, Philippines
Daryl Lee, Singapore

It was great to talk with each of them! These twelve members were selected from more than 220 requests that were received this year. I was so impressed with all the submissions that came in that I decided to offer a group meeting to all of the other members who sent in a request. Through these two invitation-only Group Meetings I had the pleasure to visit with dozens more BNI Members. I intend to continue this new tradition during the annual event.


Additionally, through social media, I asked BNI Directors and Members to hold their own BNI 1-2-1 meetings during Founder’s Day, which many people did – thank you. Next year, I will again suggest that the BNI community use Founder’s Day as a day of intentional one-to-one meetings with other members in their chapter, region, or country.

I am so appreciative of everyone who participated in this year’s event and look forward to doing it again next year.

BNI Members, watch for my social media announcement in April 2023 for YOUR opportunity to be part of the 3rd Annual BNI Founder’s Day on June 29th.  

Wishing you all continued networking success!

Be a Motivational Speaker for Your Business

Be a Motivational Speaker for Your Businessstring(43) "Be a Motivational Speaker for Your Business"

When you watch or listen to a motivational speaker such as Jack Canfield, Brian Tracy or John Maxwell, can you feel the passion flowing through their words and actions? Think back to a speaker’s presentation at a convention or seminar you attended. Was there an energetic buzz in the room afterward? Were the other attendees excited about what they heard?  Usually the answer is YES. However, do you know why?

The hidden element behind a motivational speaker is passion. They have an uncanny ability to share passion through their words, which helps listeners remember their message.

When it comes to business networking success, our personal challenge is to have an extraordinary message that captures the essence of our business and highlights our unique selling proposition (USP). Our USP sets us apart from the competition and helps us get more referrals from our networking groups.

Tapping Into Your Business Passion

Are your referral partners excited about your business? If you’re not sure, ask yourself: Are YOU excited about what you do? Are you passionate about what you do? Hopefully, your answer is yes – you are excited and passionate about your business. You need to convey that feeling to your potential customers and clients, and to your networking partners.

Increasing the excitement about your business can be easy. You can capitalize on your passion and spotlight your uniqueness by answering these questions from your heart rather than your head.

  1. WHY are you excited about your business?
  2. As a professional, what do you do that makes you look forward to going to work each day?
  3. How does your work fulfill you?
  4. What element of your work do you enjoy the most ? Why?
  5. What can you say about yourself or your business that your competition cannot say?

Your answers will help you tap into your passion and incorporate it into your daily message about your work. I believe that successful people have passion about what they do, and it shows in how they describe their business. They are working in their flame and not in their wax.

Public Speaking Tips

After you identify your passion about what you do and develop your USP, it’s time to put them together for an effective business presentation. Whether it is a one-minute presentation, ten minutes, or more, these tips can help make it more comfortable and less stressful when speaking in public.

  1. Be prepared. Have reference notes about what you plan to say and review them ahead of time. Avoid reading them word-for-word.
  2. Be specific. Focus on just one or two parts of your business each time you speak on it. By being specific, you can talk about something you know well and will feel more at ease.
  3. Use visual aids. PowerPoint slides can help you stay on track. In-person handouts assure that your audience takes home important information.
  4. Remember that you are the expert. Nobody knows your business as well as you do. Speak confidently about your experience and your expertise.
  5. Be creative. If talking to a large group makes you uncomfortable, try starting with a Q&A session and share your information in response to the questions.
  6. Tell stories about your business. Make sure to relive the story, don’t just retell it. Relive the story as though you were experiencing it again; this will give you the same kind of excitement you had when it happened and will draw the audience in to the experience with you.

There is no right or wrong way to present to an audience. I recommend that you do what works best for you and for your business in a way that is comfortable for you.

Sharing Your Passion

Many business professionals offer to speak free of charge to service clubs or business organizations as a way of sharing their expertise while getting exposure for themselves and their business. If your product or service is conducive to this approach, tell the members of your personal network that you offer this service, and accept referrals for speaking engagements. Ask your referral partners to share your information with the program chairs of organizations to which they belong, such as chambers of commerce, Rotary, Kiwanis, or the local group of their industry professionals.

REMEMBER: These speaking engagements are NOT a sales pitch. You are there to provide expert information and education to the group and its members.

If you prepare well, incorporate the public speaking tips, and do a good job at these presentations by sharing your passion for your work, you may get many more speaking offers and a lot of new business. I know of a BNI member who took this advice and built her speaking resume by sharing information at chambers of commerce, professional organizations, civic and community groups, high schools, and with active-duty military personnel. Those connections led to being featured on local television, radio, and teaching a class at a community college, all of which helped her business grow.

Remember, nothing great in life has ever been accomplished without passion. When you are passionate about the solutions you provide for your customers and clients, and you share that excitement with your network and your referral partners, they become motivated to help you. When you become a motivational speaker for your business, great things can happen.

I’d love to hear your thoughts. How do you share your passion for what you do?

Related Blog Posts:
https://ivanmisner.com/support-material-techniques-for-increasing-referrals/
https://ivanmisner.com/conquer-your-fear-of-public-speaking/
https://ivanmisner.com/be-passionate-not-pushy/

Go from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be

Go from Where You Are to Where You Want to Bestring(45) "Go from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be"

My friend Jack Canfield is a best-selling author with hundreds of books, including The Success Principles and the Chicken Soup for the Soul series. He has also been my guest on The Official BNI Podcast. This blog is from my podcast conversation with Jack about how to get from where you currently are to where you want to be. We discuss his book, The Success Principles, and the companion book, The Success Principles Workbook, which helps people integrate the principles into their personal and professional success stories.

Many people read helpful books like The Success Principles and are excited about the ideas they get. However, many don’t do the things that they learned about – sometimes they need more support. Jack shares some ideas, exercises, and activities from The Success Principles Workbook which provide a way to integrate and apply the principles.

Recognizing OUR Part in Creating Our Experiences

It’s easy to talk about taking 100% responsibility and giving up blaming and complaining. But to actually do that requires some interaction with you and your thinking process. There is an exercise called ‘The Difficult and Troubling Experience Exercise’ where you answer a series of questions such as “What’s a difficult or troubling experience in your life – at work or at home?” And then “How are you creating it?” Because we’re always doing something to create the current situation.

Jack shares the story of a person he met who was getting robbed all the time, and Jack asked him, “Where do you live?” He said, “New York.” Jack said, “In an apartment?” He said, “Yeah.” Jack: “What floor is it?” He replied, “The first floor.” Jack asked him if he had bars on the apartment windows to which the man answered, “No.” “Do you have triple locks on the door?” “No.”  “Do you have a alarm system to alert the police if someone breaks in?” “No.”
Jack then asked him, “What are you pretending not to know? You live on the first-floor apartment in New York City. So, one of the next questions is what are you pretending not to know? And then the question is – What’s the payoff for keeping it like it is?”

What’s the cost of keeping the situation like it is?
What would you rather be experiencing?
What actions would you need to take to create what you really want?
On a scale of one to 10, are you likely to do that?
And when will you do that?  

These types of questions take you through a process of looking at what’s not working in your life and how you’re creating it. You’re not a victim but there’s something you’re doing to either create, promote, or allow it to happen.

Life Purpose

Jack recommends three exercises to help us get clarity about our life purpose.

  1. It’s important to have a vision. He suggests creating a vision for seven different areas of your life.
  2. Goal Setting. Turn your vision into goals and create an affirmation for each of your goals.
  3. Create a mastermind group. Determine the five or six people you would like in your group and decide the date by which you’re going to call them. Meet with your mastermind group virtually or in person every two weeks.

 

Accountability Partner Culture

For business success, find an accountability partner to talk to every morning. Tell them five things that you plan to do that day to achieve your breakthrough goal, and then they tell you five things they are going to do to achieve their breakthrough goal. The next day, you hold each other accountable for the five things you each said you would do.
Do this for five days each week.

I find that many people like this concept, however they say, “I don’t have time to do that.” What I think is crazy, is they’re stuck in their life and they’re having challenges. They’re not making things work, but they don’t have a few minutes a day to do one thing to help themselves.

Create an accountability partner culture. Take five minutes, once a day. The reality is you can’t afford NOT to do it. As humans, we avoid doing the things that are uncomfortable or difficult, even if they have the greatest long-term benefits.

Often, we never do the big goals or make the big breakthroughs that you do when you have an accountability partner and a mastermind group. Those five minutes every morning are so valuable. Jack told me, “It’s literally been one of the greatest secrets of my success and the people in my company.”

One Thing at a Time

Many people spend way too much time doing things that are ineffective and then they don’t have the time they want for their family, for self-care, for exercise, meditation, or even healthy eating. It can be overwhelming when you try to do everything at once. When we are overwhelmed, we usually don’t do anything.
Do one thing at a time, space it out, and then integrate it, so that it becomes part of your natural experience – it becomes a habit.

Jack recommends that people create FOUR new habits a year. Resist the urge to do more than that. If you create four new habits a year – for your health, business, home – AND you stick with them, in five years you’ll have 20 new habits! The habits that you have are what get you where you want to go. OR, if they are bad habits, they’re keeping you stuck. Implementing positive changes, over time and consistently, can change your life and help you get to where you want to be.

I love Jack and appreciate how much he shares to help others be successful. Check out his website, his blog, and the many free resources he offers. I can tell you firsthand that he is somebody who walks the talk. He doesn’t just talk about success. He lives the principles that he talks about.

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