Conversation Archives - Dr. Ivan Misner®
Love Is Just Damn Good Business

Love Is Just Damn Good Business – Ivan’s Inner Circle Interview

Join me as I join fellow Transformational Leadership Council member and friend, Steve Farber, to discuss topics from his book, “Love is Just Damn Good Business”. Steve is one of the best speakers I’ve seen on the stage.  His message is both surprising and impactful about focusing on finding love in creating a damn good business.

According to Steve, “Love is what leads to customer loyalty, it’s what leads to word-of-mouth and growing your organization.”

I think this advice is spot on. If your customer relationships are held in as high regard as the service you provide, you can only benefit. Customers want to love you-they want to trust and believe in you, which are foundational building blocks of love. Focus on building those blocks with the goal of creating loving, loyal customer relationships, and you’ll create a strong reputation that will hold up in the business community.

His game-changing approach to love as a practical business strategy will help you to:

  • Identify your passions and share them with others
  • Create a culture of love at work and spark innovation, productivity, and joy
  • Serve your customers, so they love how you treat them and have them coming back for more
  • Invest time in making personal connections that are mutually rewarding
  • Focus on serving the needs of others they’re going to love it
  • Do what you love and make it your business, so others love it, too

Love Is Just Damn Good Business,” is one of my favorite books and I am looking forward to these interviews with Steve. We are going to host three different sessions so it is convenient for everyone to join us:

Monday, December 9th at 10:00 AM / 4:00 PM / 11:00 PM (Eastern Standard Time)

Click here to register: SteveFarberWebinar

Steve Farber, the founder of The Extreme Leadership Institute, is a popular keynote speaker and leadership expert. Steve’s been featured on my blog before. He’s the bestselling author of The Radical Leap, The Radical Edge, and Greater Than Yourself. Learn more about Steve on his website at stevefarber.com

I hope you are able to make one of our sessions as I know this will prove to be a great use of your time.

Sentence

“No” is a One Word Sentence

To network well, you really need to learn how to help people, build relationships, and support your connections in some way.  But sometimes, just sometimes, you need to also say “no” to requests that are made of you. The word “no,” can, in fact, be a one-word sentence.

Here are four more ways to say “no” and not come across like a jerk (or worse).

I don’t do that. 

Sometimes the request and my response are very simple.  For example, when someone tries to get me to have a piece of cake or pie – I simply say thanks, but I don’t eat processed sugar.  When they say something like, “oh, just a bite,” I have no problem telling them they should feel free to have my bite – because, I don’t eat sugar. To learn why, read my book, “Healing Begins in the Kitchen“.

Don’t Seinfeld it.

One of the really humorous things to see on the old TV series, Seinfeld, was how the characters would go off on some crazy subterfuge or ruse that was complicated and ended up getting them in more trouble than if they had just been candid to start with. Be polite but be honest and be direct.

Propose something else.

If you are unable to do something that you’re being asked to do, offer them something else instead.  For example, I am always having people ask me to send some communication out to my entire mailing list.  The answer is always – “no.”  However, with people I know and trust, I propose something else.  I propose that I post it on my social media instead.  That generally works just as well to post on my facebook page to maintain the relationship.

When you say it, mean it.

Be a broken record.  Sometimes, people don’t take “no” for an answer.  I try to be polite, smile, and repeat what I said before (on some occasions, I’ve repeated myself three times before they realized I really meant it).

One important thing to note is; don’t become addicted to “no.”  I look for opportunities to help people and to say yes.  It’s only when I really, truly, can’t help or believe that I’m not a good fit for their request – that I actually say “no” to people.  Many times when you say “yes,” there is an opportunity cost to you for saying yes.  You have to be clear in your mind whether this is truly an opportunity or a distraction.

Don’t get me wrong, I am totally good with saying “no,” to people when it is necessary. The secret is: how do you say “no” without sounding like a jerk? The older I get, the more I have learned to say, “no thanks!”  (Ok, it’s two words but it’s still a sentence).

opportunity cost

The Opportunity Cost of Saying Yes

Although we love to say yes as often as possible, sometimes the opportunity cost of saying yes is too great. In these cases, try to be at peace with your decision to say no and realize you are protecting entry into your room. Say no and then move on knowing that you made the right decision for you. To network well, you really need to learn how to help people, build relationships, and support your connections in some way. But sometimes, just sometimes, you need to also say “no” to requests that are made of you.

Don’t Seinfeld it.

One of the really funny tropes from the old TV series, Seinfeld, is how the characters go off on some crazy subterfuge or complicated ruse that ends up getting them in more trouble than if they had just been candid in the first place. Be polite but be honest and be direct.

Propose something else.

If you are unable to do something that you’re being asked to do, offer them something else instead. For example, I am always having people ask me to send some communication out to my entire mailing list. The answer is always “no.”  However, with people I know and trust, I propose something else. I propose that I post it on my social media instead. That generally works just as well to maintain the relationship.

When you say it, mean it!

Be a broken record. Sometimes, people don’t take “no” for an answer. I try to be polite and smile, and repeat what I said before (on some occasions, I’ve repeated myself three times before they realized I really meant it).

say no

Ways to Say “No” Without Sounding Like a Jerk

It’s important to recognize when someone’s opportunity is your distraction. These are generally situations where someone’s project is not on mission for your business or your life. In these situations, you need to learn how to say no.  The word “no” is a one-word sentence. It’s just not a full sentence that I like to use very often and I think there are a fair number of people like me out there.

Don’t get me wrong, I am totally good with saying “no,” to people when it is necessary. The secret is: how do you say “no” without sounding like you don’t care?

If I said yes, I’d let you down.

A very effective way to tell someone “no” is to tell them that you believe that you’d let them down if you do what they are asking. It might be because you don’t have the bandwidth, the knowledge, or the expertise to do what they are asking. In any case, you’re not the person to help make this idea a success and you don’t want to disappoint them.

Recognize the difference between an opportunity and a distraction.

That begins by knowing your own personal or professional mission. If you know your purpose/expertise/mission then you can say “no” when someone comes to you with something that is a distraction to that mission. I do this all the time by telling people that my mission is to do X. As interesting as their idea is, it’s not something that fits with what I do.

Refer them to someone more qualified.

When I say “no” to someone, I almost always try to refer them to someone who is more qualified or more suited to help that person.  I also try to refer them to someone who’s mission is more in alignment with their project.

To network well, you really need to learn how to help people, build relationships, and support your connections in some way. But sometimes, just sometimes, you need to also say “no” to requests that are made of you.

 

end a conversation

How to End a Conversation Without Offending Anyone Around You

I often get asked about the best way to end a conversation in a networking situation. Candidly, I think the answer is pretty simple. So, I’ll start this piece with the “simple solution.” In addition, for those of you who love to over-think things, I’ll give you some other “exit lines” options below.

The Simple Solution Saying

  1. Simply say something like, “It was really nice meeting you. Do you have a card so I can have your contact information? Thanks.” That’s it. Do not apologize because you have to go network and definitely do not say you see someone else you need to talk to. Simply thank them, end a conversation, and move on.
  2. Frame what you liked about the conversation or recap part of the conversation that you found most interesting and then state your simple solution saying above.
  3. If they say something that makes you think of someone else they should meet — tell them and promise to make an introduction.  If the other person is there at the event, make the introduction on the spot.  Being a “connector” at a networking event is always a good thing.
  4. Invite them to participate with you in another networking meeting you go to regularly, such as BNI. They may want to get out and meet more people. This is a great chance to connect them to another network of individuals and it gives you a chance to meet them again at your next BNI meeting.

The Exit Lines

For those of you who want more ways to end a conversation — I’ve read all kinds of “exit lines” and unless they are absolutely true — I don’t recommend most of them. Whether you’re ready to wrap it up immediately or have time for courtesies, here are a handful of efficient exit lines. Keep it simple and keep it honest. OK, you want to know what some of those other lines I recommend to end a conversation are — here you go:

  • I’ve got to get home by “X” o’clock to have dinner with the family
  • It’s been nice meeting you, I need to run to the restroom
  • I’ve got a deadline on a project and I need to take off

Anything similar to the above suggestions is fine but don’t fib. If you really have to leave and do something tell them. Otherwise, simply doing what I say above in your simple solution saying will work fine to end a conversation without offending anyone around you at your networking events.

Whatever you do, don’t “Seinfeld it.”

One of the really funny things on the old TV series Seinfeld was how the characters would go off on some crazy, complicated subterfuge or ruse and end up getting in more trouble than if they had just been candid to start with. Be polite, but be honest and direct. “Seinfeld-ing it” almost always fails and both you and the other person end up uncomfortable.

Remember: Don’t overthink it. Be polite and friendly. Don’t make excuses and politely move on. The real key about ending a conversation is how you follow up! 

Communication

What a Brigadier General Taught Me About Communication

I recently received an email from someone I didn’t know.  His email could only be described as “War and Peace!”  The original printing of the book War and Peace was 1,225 pages long.  His message felt like that to me.  It was long.  It was so long, I sent it back to him and told him this story about communication:

One of the best lessons in communication I received as a young man was given to me by a retired Brigadier General who taught in the Doctoral program at USC.  He was an amazing professor who always shared the most incredible stories and taught valuable lessons.

The course was “Management Theory.”  He asked us to write a ten-page paper on a specific topic relating to management and to turn it in within the next two weeks.  There were only twelve students in the class and we all dutifully showed up with the paper in hand two weeks later.  He collected all of our papers and sat down at his desk in front of the class. After skimming through all 12 submissions, he stood up, and handed them all back to us!  He then told us to come back with a five-page paper on the same topic.  He told us to take out all the fluff and get to the heart of the issue and turn it in next week.

We were furious – but we did it.  The next week we came back with the five-page papers.  He then went through the same routine, handed them all back and said, “You can cut more. Make it two pages and turn it in next week!”  As you might guess, we were incredulous… and we did as we were told.

We came back the following week with our two-page paper.  As you might guess – he looked at them and gave them back one last time and said, “Now, make it one page and bring it back next week along with your original ten-page paper.”  We were beyond annoyed, but we did as we were told.

We all came back the next week and turned in both papers.  He then shared one of the most valuable lessons of my academic training.  He said, “During your career, you will be working for people who are incredibly busy.  They may ask you for a report on an important topic for the company. They may not have the time to read your long-drawn out papers going through detailed minutiae covering your brilliant recommendations” (I think that might have been sarcasm).  He went on to say, “If you can learn to de-obfuscate your writing and boil things down into a simple, easy to digest document – busy people will respond better your work.”  He said, “Always create an Executive Summary that bullet points the critical findings, recommendations, or advice.  Put that at the front of your longer report.  This will give the boss a chance to get an overview of the issue and then allow him or her to go deeper into your findings from the full report.”  He also suggested that your summary bullet points make reference to the relevant page or pages that this issue was covered in the full report.

That was incredible advice that has served me well over the years.  Your communication doesn’t have to be War and Peace to be effective.  Heck, the Gettysburg Address was only 272 words long (yes, shorter than this blog, I know).

This was a great lesson for me.  I hope you find it to be a great lesson for you as well.

 

greatest asset

How talking too much in class turned into my greatest asset

Those tendencies standing “in your way” can be “the way”‘ to success and can become your greatest asset. When I was in elementary school, I generally received good reports from my teachers. However, one thing that came up time and time again was a comment by almost all of my teachers: “Ivan talks too much in class.”

My mother had numerous conversations with me about this but to no avail. I figure that she thought my grades were pretty good and she generally liked to pick and choose her battles on issues. Consequently, she didn’t really push the matter, and so… I talked and talked and talked in class. It showed up on many of my report cards. My teachers felt that it was a problem for me in school. On the other hand, my mother didn’t give me much grief on the subject.

My Greatest Asset

My talking too much in class was thought of as a roadblock by my teachers. Candidly, at one point, they almost had me convinced that it was a problem. My mother — not so much. She didn’t see my talking as such a big issue and that gave me the freedom to be myself. True, I had to tone it down a bit — but it wasn’t drummed out of me. I am grateful for that because, despite the fact that some people thought that talking was blocking my way, the truth is — it would eventually become “the way” for my life.

While the teachers definitely felt that it was a roadblock to my learning, I think they may have been wrong on that. What my teachers saw as a problem ended up becoming an incredible asset. I talk a lot. I talk to individuals, small groups, middle size groups, large groups, and massive groups. Any way you cut it — I’m a talker. It is my greatest asset. My job today is to talk to people. In fact, I get paid to talk. I get paid a crazy number to talk to companies, associations, and organizations. I love to share ideas with people, I love to coach people, and most of all I love to inspire people. And to do that — I talk.

Over the years, I’ve learned that oftentimes, What is in the way, becomes the way”.  

I believe the secret is to take the thing that is “in the way” and channel your efforts in a manner that makes that problem part of the solution. I have noticed that my wife, Elisabeth, has been able to channel what was in the way for her as a child and how powerfully that has served her. She was constantly being told that she was “too rebellious.” She had a very hard time doing things she was told she had to do just because an authority figure in life told her she must do them. Now when she was faced with a medical diagnosis and told by her medical doctor that there was only one path, her strong “rebellious” nature found another, more effective and gentle healing path. What was in her way has become her way!

Some of us do this unconsciously. However, imagine how impactful this paradigm could be if we were more conscious of it at work in our lives. I would encourage you to think about something you were told was “in the way” as part of your life? Has it “become the way” for you and your greatest asset? If so, how? For me — of the first things in my life that were in the way was that I talked too much in class. Looking back, I’d have to say it worked out pretty well. 

Voicemail Email Messages

Tips on How to Return Voicemail and Email Messages

Tiffanie Kellog and Jason Avery discuss how behavioral styles affect how we respond to voicemail and email messages.

So you received a message and you do not know exactly how to return it. Based on the book, Room Full Of Referrals, it depends on how people want to be treated, their behavioral style.

Behavioral styles are affecting your referability. When you receive a voicemail or email message, pay attention to the length and pace of that message.  Was the message long, detailed and full of information, or was it short and to the point? Know how to respond based on the behavioral style of the person who SENT the message. There are little clues in their message to identify what is the behavioral style of the person you are communicating with.

Go-Getter

“Hey it’s Tiffanie, call me”. The person leaves a short message that is very direct and to the point or only a few sentences. They are a fast-paced busy-busy person without a whole lot of time and they expect the same from you. When you call them or reply to their email, start with “I am sure you are very busy, I only need a moment of your time. Here is what I got for you”. Get straight to the point with the relevant information listed in bullet points.

Promoter

The message is upbeat and enthusiastic. The person is talking about having a good time. They are the “Fun Loving” people. They use in their message ALL CAPS, emojis and lots of exclamation points !!!!!! When you call them or reply to their email, use words such as  “Super, Great, Fantastic, or Awesome”.

Examiner

The Message is very detailed with page numbers, questions and full of details. They want all the information. If they give you a long list, do not reply with just one or two short sentences. They might become offended and question your credibility. When you call them or reply to their email, start with “I am tied up at the moment but I will get to all these questions and I will respond by this date with all the information you requested”. Be specific.

Nurturer

The message has indecisiveness. They need more options to compare before making a decision or they want to consult with someone else first. When you call them or reply to their email, start with “Here is what you need to know about the impact on their business, family or community”.

Once you know their style, you can adapt. Mirroring is a good way to start. You behave the way that they are behaving and they will appreciate you. Another option is to have four different employees representing each of these four behavioral styles to reply to the various messages based on the sender’s behavioral style. 

10 Questions to Ask When Meeting Someone for the First Time

When meeting someone for the first time, do you ever find yourself getting tongue-tied or feeling lost when it comes to knowing what questions you should ask to get a conversation going? Help is here!

Below, I list 10 questions that I personally use when I’m meeting someone for the first time.  Most of the questions shouldn’t be too surprising to you because what you’re trying to glean from an initial conversation with someone is usually pretty standard.  However, there are two questions that I really, really love.  One of them will allow you to get an idea of what someone is truly passionate about when it comes to their business.  The other will create a powerful opportunity for you to make a real connection and begin building a lasting, mutually beneficial relationship.

Here are ten great questions to ask someone while networking that are then likely to be asked of you in return. These would be great questions to pose during your next one-to-one meeting.

1. What do you do?

2. Who’s your target market?

3. What do you like most about what you do?

4. What’s new in your business?

5. What’s the biggest challenge for you and your business?

6. What sets you apart from your competition?

7. Why did you start your business?

8. Where is your business located?

9. What’s your most popular product?

10. How do you generate most of your business?

In his book Endless Referrals, my good friend Bob Burg posed what may be the single best question we’ve heard to ask someone about what he or she does. Bob writes that the question “must be asked smoothly and sincerely, and only after some initial rapport has been established”. The question is this: ‘How can I know if someone I’m talking to is a good prospect for you?” Bob is right on the mark with this question. It separates you from the rest of the pack; it’s a question that the average person doesn’t ask. And it demonstrates one of the top ten traits of a master networker: helpfulness

Please think about what questions you ask people during an initial introduction.  Do you have any different or unusual questions which you’ve found to be particularly helpful in your conversations?  I’ve told you what questions I use and I’m very curious to hear what questions you’ve had success with, so please take a moment to share in the comment forum below.

Remembering Names

When networking, it’s important to remember the basics of interpersonal communication–making eye contact, listening more than you speak, and of course, actually remembering people’s names.

Yeah, I’d say remembering someone’s name is high up in the list of mannerisms that will impress others in networking. It shows you pay attention to detail, you listen well and are interested in the person, not just their business.

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 ensure you never forget your manners–and it actually works!

1. Repetition is key. When you are introduced to someone new, ask for their business card and read it carefully. Then, read the name on the card and ask them to repeat it; it will help lock the face with the name. “Hi! It’s great to meet you, Betsy Smith. It’s pronounced Betsy, yes?”

2. Use their name in conversation. When you begin a conversation, listen to what they are saying and respond by using their name; “Wow, Betsy, that sounds like an incredible opportunity! I’d love to sit down with you over lunch and talk more.” ID-10046846

3. Connect them with others and use their name in the introduction. You are networking after all, so it’s important to connect others if you can. Whe introducing two people, use their names when they first meet. “Joe, I’d like you to meet Betsy. Betsy is a realtor who just landed a big contract with the city. I bet you two would have a lot to talk about!”

4. Dedicate it to memory. Once you’ve left the networking event and you’re back at home or work, take out the business card and try and remember what that person looked like and what they were doing and saying. Maybe even send them a quick “nice to meet you” email to help you remember the conversation you had.

The next time your at a networking event, try to use these devices and see if it helps. If you can remember the devices, that is.

 

Talking on Givers Gain, Passions, and Family

I have been interviewed by countless reporters, blog authors, and more. Usually once you hit the “dozen books published” line, they assume you have a thing or two to say. With all of those interviews, you’d think I’d run out of things to say. In actuality, I’ve found that the energy of the person interviewing me really comes into play and helps make each conversation unique.

Below are a few clips from a recent talk I did with Cordelia Henry of the Referral Institute. We cover a wide spectrum of topics, which I always love because it gives plenty of variety.

On Givers Gain:

On Working in Your Flame:

On Family:

On the Greatest Referral I Ever Got:

Thanks Cordelia, for the wonderful conversation!

Network Your Way Into a New Job

ID-100244639In so many industries, landing a job is all about who you know – whether you define a job as a new client in your business, or a complete career change. People want to work with someone that they know, or someone that a person they know is familiar with. That being said, you can often network your way into a job. I often speak on using networking to expand your business, so this time we’ll take the route of a change in career.

First and foremost, never go into a conversation with a new or seasoned contact expecting a job offer or possibility to come out of it. When was the last time you offered or agreed to help someone who expected your help unconditionally? Not only that, but it is rare that all of your contacts will readily have opportunities that they know of to refer you to. Going into a networking event expecting a lead for a new opportunity will leave you disappointed.

Your primary goal should be to ask for career advice from trusted contacts who you admire. These people may be able to answer questions you have, give suggestions for how you can get where you want to be, and perhaps introduce you to new connections who maybe able to help you, too. Alternatively, they may shed light on aspects of a career that you had’t taken into account, which may cause you to reconsider your goals.

Have you ever networked your way into a new job? How did you use your network? Let me know in the comments below!

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