checked in

Get Checked Instring(14) "Get Checked In"

Today’s guest blog about being checked in is by my Personal Assistant, Dana Coyle.

Dr. Misner, the Founder of BNI, wrote an article about how to be mentally present to succeed. It was about someone so engrossed in their cell phone that they almost walked into him. He talked about being fully present in whatever you’re doing rather than just going through the motions.  Be here now – make sure that you are ‘checked in’.

At a busy US airport there was an older gentleman who went to the gate attendant in the boarding area to check in for his flight. That attendant told him that it was a full flight and all of the seats were taken.

He said that they had made the reservation and purchased the tickets two months ago.

She said, “I understand, but it is a full flight and there are no seats.”

He continued to explain that they had a paid reservation and he wanted to check himself and his wife in for the flight.
She replied that “…you have to check in within 24 hours to confirm your seats.”

He said, “We couldn’t check in before. The hotel shuttle brought us to the airport and we just got here. We’ve had the tickets for two months.”

To which she said, “I’m sorry sir. It doesn’t matter when you bought the ticket, it’s when you checked in.” 

Be checked in at your BNI meeting

This sometimes happens at BNI chapters.  Members pay for their membership and then just go through the motions. Some are 90-minute members, only thinking about BNI on the day of their meeting, which can lead to fewer referrals, minimal visitors and less business growth.

Then something clicks – a Member has an effective One-to-One and gains a new referral partner, so they schedule more One-to-Ones. Getting to know their fellow members better means they are able to GIVE more referrals. This often leads to gaining more referrals, too, so they get more business. The excitement of successful referral marketing spreads as they tell others and invite them to visit the chapter.

They…get….checked…in.  They realize there is more for them in BNI if they are willing to put in the effort and use the tools available with their membership. The Givers Gain philosophy, put into practice, can be pleasantly contagious as the chapter gains energy and grows, while members see growth in their own businesses, too.

It doesn’t matter when you bought the ticket, it’s when you checked in. Are you fully participating in all that you do? It’s a good reminder in BNI, in business, and in life — Be checked in so you can be here now.

your C.P.A.

Do Not Allow Your C.P.A. To Ruin Your Businessstring(46) "Do Not Allow Your C.P.A. To Ruin Your Business"

We are living in a world more connected than ever. However, this hyperconnectivity can create situations when your C.P.A. can effect your business. Working from home can easily lead to a state of “Continuous Partial Attention” (your C.P.A.). This occurs when people are only partially paying attention to others during their online networking or Zoom meetings.  There are some definite pitfalls in our hyper-connected world when we are not giving our full attention to others. Your business relationships and networking may be affected because of your C.P.A. in these three situations.

Monitor your C.P.A. when attending your online networking meetings

Continuous partial attention can hamper your relationship-building efforts – on both a personal and professional level. When attending an online function of any type, it is becoming increasingly common to find people typing away during the meeting. They remain connected to their emails and social media networks during their meeting. This desire can dilute our efforts by driving us to stay “live” online with other things instead of with the person in front of us. You can easily watch them on camera not paying attention to the meeting. Even worse, they fall asleep in their recliner during the online Zoom meeting with their camera live for all to see until they are awoken by another chapter member calling their phone.

Keep your C.P.A. away from your phone 

Speaking of phones. We have probably all experienced being in conversation with someone at an in-person networking function and getting pinged during the conversation. This is happening much more now during online meetings. When we take our attention off what is happening in front of our nose to take a look at what is happening on our phone, we lose the connection with the person who is presenting. We will not remember this part of the conversation well, if at all. And we send a subtle message to this person that he or she does not matter as much as the various pings coming in on our mobile device do.

Our desire to connect and be connected is one of the strengths of business networking. Therefore, when doing online networking, or when we return to in-person events, we will want to effectively be connecting with others. Over the years, I saw people many times on their phones texting during networking meetings, such as at a BNI chapter meeting, a Chamber of Commerce luncheon, or even a gala dinner event.

Be honest: whom do you greet first when you get up in the morning — your spouse, kids, the dog, OR your virtual community? Do you reach for your phone before you even throw your legs out of bed to get up? I have found myself doing that. Consider waiting to look at your mobile phone until after you are ready to receive messages. For me, I wait to turn it on until after I am up, have exercised, showered, and had my breakfast. Furthermore, I think social media is great. I use it regularly to stay in touch and build relationships. But knowing when to focus on your networking and not your phone is extremely important in this digital age.

Do not allow your C.P.A. to distract you when working online

Most of us work from our computers, laptops, or tablets with notifications switched on. Our email, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Teams, and WeChat accounts are sending us notifications. Across your screen, they distract you with their messages. “Look at me! Someone retweeted you! Someone wants to be your Friend!” Even people who do not have ADD are working in a state of attention deficit due to the distraction all these notifications cause.

It is very easy to lose track of whom you have just followed up with. You end up sending your follow-up email twice. You reference something you were discussing with someone else. Worse yet, you send an email to the wrong person entirely. (Who hasn’t done that?) Continuous partial attention keeps you from being alert, attentive, and focused and can hamper your post-event follow up not to mention your day-to-day activities.

Don’t allow your C.P.A. to ruin your business. Continuous partial attention can hamper your efforts to build profitable business relationships with the people you want to connect with. I believe a price is being paid by how this constant connectedness is affecting our real-time relationships. The truth is that our brains are not capable of multi-tasking. Brains don’t work like a computer, which can have many programs running simultaneously. Our minds have to switch among tasks. Some of us can task-switch extremely quickly, seemingly multi-tasking, but we are not actually multi-tasking. Others of us task-switch with a little more difficulty, making it extremely challenging to really pay sustained attention to anything when we try to multi-task.

fear

Frozen by Fear or Focused by Fearstring(33) "Frozen by Fear or Focused by Fear"

The time you focus upon your networking efforts will improve on the connections that you would like to turn into stronger relationships. Take the time to reach out to your closest colleagues and see how they are doing. Find out if there is anything you can do to help them. You may not be able to help everyone but you can help someone. Talk to them about how you are doing and ask for help that you think they may be able to provide. It may be moral support or it may be referrals to assist your business.

I don’t know what our future holds but I do know that we can influence it and the best way to influence it is to embrace the relationships that you’ve established over the years. Today, more than ever, you need your network. You need people around you to help and support you. You can get frozen by your fear, or focused by your fear, and your network is a beacon of hope in a sea of fear.
HOPE

Hope is More Powerful than Fearstring(31) "Hope is More Powerful than Fear"

When times are difficult, we have two choices. We can choose to have hope, make the most of it, and come out better and stronger. Otherwise, we can choose to be overcome by our fear. I choose to be better and stronger. To do that, I choose to focus on solutions.

Please watch this video:

Rather than get caught up in fear, I try to

  • Focus on solutions.
  • Maintain a positive and supportive attitude.
  • Enlist Charles Swindoll’s quote about attitude

Attitude – by Charles Swindoll

The bottom line here is – almost all of us are stuck at home.  We can choose to make the most of it and come out better and stronger

business blueprint

Build a Better Business Blueprintstring(33) "Build a Better Business Blueprint"

Take the time to re-examine your business blueprint biannually.  It is important to not only set your goals for the year but to review those goals in six months and take action to refocus yourself on these goals. Plus, I recommend that you look at why you’re doing what you’re doing. Why you do what you do is more important than the actual doing of it.  You may think you know why you’re in business, but perhaps it’s been years since you gave it serious thought.

Ask yourself the following questions to create a blueprint for a successful business strategy. Do not rush the process. Take the time needed to write your answers and really dial in to your business mission and personal vision when answering these questions.

What is my business mission?

Beyond simply making a living, what are my long-range professional goals? Do I wish to become the standard by which my competitors are judged? Is it my dream to help make the world a better place?

Where is my organization going?

Am I achieving my mission? Am I making plans to accomplish it? How can I change policies, procedures or personnel to improve my chances of achieving my mission?

What environment is my organization operating in?

Are the current social, economic and technological trends effecting the way I do business and my progress toward my goals?

What is my marketing strategy?

Do I have a social media plan to support my business and do I manage this plan well? Is it time to get someone to assist me with this?

What are my core competencies?

Do I like to do what I am doing? What is it that I do better than my competitors? Do I have the skills to grow my business or do I need to hire someone with these aptitudes?

Is my business blueprint mission compatible with my values?

I’ve seen too many business professionals and companies make the mistake of trying to be all things to all people. Starting out with the fundamentally sound goal of finding a niche that will make them successful, they go astray by changing direction every time a customer or associate suggests a new product or service. The mission gets lost in a frantic scramble for business before the original idea ever gets a chance to pay off.

So, even if you think you know your mission, it will serve you well to pause periodically, analyze your business blueprint and, if necessary, refocus on your mission and philosophy to stay on track. Share which of the above questions you struggle with most in your business. We are here to help you to stay on track.

Standing

Standing in the Middle of a Room Full of Referralsstring(50) "Standing in the Middle of a Room Full of Referrals"

 Referrals are all around us. Are you paying attention? You are standing in the middle of a room full of referrals.

Referrals are all around us, it’s just that we’re not paying enough attention to what’s going on in order to identify them.  You see, there’s a part of our brain that’s called the Reticular Activating System.  It can be described as a filter between our conscious and our subconscious mind. Your subconscious screens out things you determine that aren’t important and it alerts you about things you think are important. Therefore, understanding how it works can be a great tool to recognize the daily referral opportunities surrounding us.

Standing in a Room Full of Referrals

Watch the video now to learn not only about the Reticular Activating System but also about another powerful tool which I call the “Language of Referrals”.  After watching the video, you will likely begin to remember times when your Reticular Activating System was in full effect. However, you just didn’t realize it at the time.  You may also remember instances where you’ve clearly heard the language of referrals in conversations with people.

I’d really love to hear about your referrals experience with one or both of these things so please share your story/stories in the comments below.  Thanks!

“Can't do” or “Won’t do”

Helping others depends on either a “Can’t do” or “Won’t do” answerstring(82) "Helping others depends on either a “Can’t do” or “Won’t do” answer"

Whatever the issues are that are holding someone back, focus on a constructive approach. If you ask them, “How can we help you?”, their answer will always be either a “can’t do” or “won’t do” answer. The person will either explain why they are having difficulty with the situation because they don’t know how to address it effectively, or they will give an answer that illustrates that they don’t really want to do this for some reason or another.

How to handle a “Can’t do” answer

Once there was a printer that was dead last on P.A.L.M.S. report in a local BNI group. We did not tell him that he was dead last. Instead, we asked him, “How can we help you?” His response was that his print shop was new and he admitted that he did not understand networking. This is a classic “Cant’ Do” response. It is our job to teach them because we were all a “can’t do” when we first started networking. We all make tons of mistakes. When someone says they can’t do something, they are open to being coached. It is our job to teach them.  If we were just negative and told the printer he was dead last, he would have quit. Instead, if we pour into them and help them, they become champions in BNI.

Where the clients come into the lobby area of the print shop, we recommended that he put up a sign where everyone could see it with slots for the BNI members’ business cards. He was instructed to get 20 copies of everyone business cards to fill sign with only the cards from BNI members. When someone took a card, they were told to say that Bob’s printing referred you. If someone not in BNI wanted to give him their cards for the sign, the printer was instructed to invite them to the next BNI meeting instead. True story! Nobody just took a card and left. They asked Bob his opinion on each of these. He gave a testimonial with everyone he had cards for. He went from last to number one in giving the most referrals. He went from being embarrassed to the top referral giver within 6 months. He was the winner of the year. He now loves BNI. We changed his business by coaching him.

How to handle a “Won’t do” answer

In this example, they give excuses: it’s too difficult… they are busy…I’m different. With a clear-cut “won’t do” answer, if you open the door for them they will leave on their own. I recommend saying, “I understand your frustration, it is ok to leave the group, feel free to come back if things change”. However, if you kick them out, they will become defiant and negative towards BNI. They blame the chapter and claim it is everyone fault. Therefore, if they don’t save face, they will fight you all the way. On the other hand, they don’t hate you if you give them the option to leave in a positive manner.

Here’s a suggestion. On rare, rare occasions – when someone is a “won’t do” but they don’t want to leave.  Tell them you appreciate their involvement and that you’ll throw them a “retirement party”. OK, not a real party – but recognize their past participation in the group and thank them for their involvement. This should be done rarely but it allows them to save face and leave. With this advice, you can cut down the percentage that will require a tough conversation by 90%. Then, only 10% of the time you need to have the tough talk about opening their classification and not renewing their membership. You want to be invested in their success, yet cut them loose when needed.

Being a member of the group is not enough.  If you are not contributing then why are you there? Being complacent is what I call a “MINO” (Member In Name Only). How can we help you to get more engaged? How can we help you to… bring more members? …bring more visitors? …bring more referrals? Whatever the issues are, just ask, “How can we help?” Their answer will tell you if you can help them.

Look Up

Look Up! How to Learn to Be Mentally Present to Succeedstring(55) "Look Up! How to Learn to Be Mentally Present to Succeed"

I was once walking along a very crowded city street in a large European city. People were walking in both directions with great purpose. One pedestrian, however, stood out from the rest in her green coat. She was walking a bit slower, with an uneven, irregular pace, and she had her head down. She wasn’t looking to the left or to the right. She wasn’t looking around. She wasn’t even looking at the sidewalk, or her feet. She was looking at her mobile phone. She was actually texting while walking on the crowded sidewalk, and she was on a direct trajectory to collide with me.

“Look up. Look up. Look up,” I was softly repeating under my breath as she approached headlong towards me. She was about to run smack into me, and the sidewalk was so full that it was impossible to step out of her way without colliding with another person. I was on the verge of making my mantra, “Look up,” audible. At the very last moment before crashing into me, she looked up with a completely startled reaction. She was mentally not present, even though she was physically walking on that sidewalk with all of us. She was so distracted by her mobile phone that she was just going through the motions of walking somewhere.

Sometimes I am asked by young business professionals to share my advice for reaching a certain level of success. I think my primary message surprises them somehow. Here’s what I tell them:

Learn how to ‘be here now.’ When you are working, work. Don’t spend time stressing over the things you are or are not doing in your personal time. When you are not working, don’t work! Don’t let the distractions of your professional pursuits keep you from being fully present in your personal life.

It is very easy to allow ourselves to be so wrapped up and so caught up in something, that we cannot set it aside to change gears and focus on what is right in front of us. That is what the young lady pedestrian was doing before she pulled herself out of her virtual world to rejoin the events going on around her.

I have written many books. When I first started writing books, I was a father with very young children. I knew I wanted to be very present in the evenings when we were having family time together, so I set my writing times for after they were tucked in for the night. Instead of watching television or reading, for a few months, I wrote between 11 PM and 2 or 3 AM several nights a week. When my first book was published, my then-8-year-old daughter exclaimed, “When did you write a book? I didn’t know you were writing a book!”

It’s the same concept in the reverse, as well. When you are working hard on a project or accomplishing something demanding in your business, it is necessary to keep yourself focused on the task at hand. There are many things which can be a distraction. I have seen people become completely inept at the job at hand because they cannot be fully present due to some other pull on them from another area of their life.

My mother had an approach to this dynamic that works well for me when I want to “be here now” and there are some distractions encroaching on my ability to do so. She used to say, “Put that in a jar and set it up on a shelf. When you are done, it will still be there, and you can take it down and get it out then.” Moms give the best advice, don’t they?

So my mantra of “Look up. Look up. Look up,” can also be a way to keep yourself in the present and really begin to “be here now.” I think you’ll find that you navigate the paths of life, work, networks and family more profoundly and with greater success in all areas.

Networking is a Contact Sportstring(29) "Networking is a Contact Sport"

Networking is a Contact SportMany entrepreneurs belong to networking organizations, but they simply don’t know how to effectively get a return on that investment of time.  Thoughtful engagement is the answer.  Engagement is an absolutely critical step in the networking process.  It involves a promise and an action.  In order to achieve success with your networking partners, you must promise to support one another, and then you must take the action necessary to fulfill that promise.  The only way to do that effectively is to connect on a deeper level than you do with most of your business contacts.

There are several ways that you can become more engaged with your networking partners:

  1. Have you taken the time to regularly meet with the people in your network on a one-to-one basis?  This means setting up times outside the context of any normal meetings and getting to know them on a deeper, professional level.
  2. Have you taken the time to educate them regularly on the key elements of your business, so that your products or services will be top of mind in the event they meet someone with a need for what you do?
  3. Have you taken the time to become educated on the key elements of your networking partners’ businesses, so that you can do the same for them?
  4. Have you visited their offices to get first-hand understanding of their services?
  5. If possible, have you used their products or services to get first-hand knowledge of the quality their products or the services they provide?

Networking truly is a “contact sport.”  It involves full engagement in order to get solid results. In fact, research has shown that reciprocal engagement in a business relationship results in higher productivity.  According to Psychology Today, people who are “actively engaged” in a business environment are “43% more productive” than those who are not.  Furthermore, they say that engagement includes “regular dialogue, quality of working relationships, perceptions of ethos and values… and recognition.”   Effective networking is all about building meaningful relationships that include most, if not all of these characteristics.

Every time I hear someone talk about how networking didn’t work for them – I discover it’s because they have never done a deep-dive on the relationship building process relating to their networking.  Most of their networking activities were very superficial.  Or worse yet – it mostly involved an attempt at direct selling.  Networking is not a face-to-face, cold-calling opportunity!  When it’s done right, it’s about building long-term meaningful relationships.  In fact, networking is more about “farming” than it is about “hunting.”  It’s about the slow process of cultivating long-term, professional relationships.  Over time, this long-term process gives you the opportunity harvest a substantial amount of business, but it only happens with full engagement in the relationship process.

Spend some time thinking about new ways you can support your networking partners.  This will help you promote engagement with them in the various networking groups to which you belong.  You will find it is time most well spent.

What Is Your Intent? Do You Know Your Purpose?string(47) "What Is Your Intent? Do You Know Your Purpose?"

Photo courtesy of Boykung at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Photo courtesy of Boykung at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

All great teachers assert the importance of having intent and purpose in our lives.  According to Benjamin Disraeli, “The secret of success is constancy of purpose.”  Before you go into a networking scenario, make sure you know your purpose.  If your underlying pupose is to exploit the group, you will communicate differently, both verbally and nonverbally, than if you intend to give to the group.  You expect an eventual return, of course, but a good networker goes in with the immediate benefit of others uppermost in mind.

We are, at most times in our lives, a dynamic mixture of intentions.  We seek to do good for others, and at the same time we seek personal benefits in many different forms.  When we attend networking events, our attention instinctively and constantly jumps from situation to situation, searching for opportunities that favor us.  To fix your intention firmly on benefitting others, it is useful to organize your thoughts before the event by formulating, in writing, a clear statement of your main purpose–a mission statement.  Focusing on your number-one priority helps you push your many other impulses into the background.

With your attention and intentions focused, you will communicate clearly and unambiguously your willingness to help others solve problems and satisfy needs.  You will be more self-confident and open to the messages of others, and they will sense it and be attracted to you.  Your message will foster trust and rapport with your networking partners, enabling you to establish and strengthen mutually beneficial relationships.

For the networker, the most authentic message of all is this: “I would like to be your friend, and for you to be my friend.  I think we will both benefit from it.  And I want to start this friendship by doing something to help you.”  If you communicate this orientation toward others in all possible ways, with integrity, you will easily form valuable, rewarding, long-lasting networking relationships.

What have you personally found to be an effective tactic in relaying your genuine networking intent/purpose?  Please share your feedback in the comment forum below.  Thanks!

Continuous Partial Attentionstring(28) "Continuous Partial Attention"

How many times have you been at a networking function and realized that half of the people there are paying more attention to their mobile devices than to the other attendees they showed up to meet and network with?  Worse, have you yourself been guilty of staying so glued to your phone or tablet that you have missed the opportunity to make a powerful connection with the person standing right in front of you?

We are living in a world that is more connected than ever and there are some definite pitfalls in our hyperconnected world as it intersects with our business relationships and our networking.  One of these pitfalls is that hyperconnectivity can lead to a state of what I call ‘continuous partial attention.’

In this video, I introduce the concept of ‘continuous partial attention’ and I also discuss the risks and repercussions which accompany it.  Watch the video now to learn how to avoid falling into a state of continuous partial attention and prevent it from wreaking havoc on your productivity at work and your ability to achieve your goals.

If you have any stories about how falling victim to a state of continuous partial attention has affected you or someone you know, I’d love for you to share your experience in the comment forum below.  Thanks!

 

Staying Focused in a Hyper Worldstring(32) "Staying Focused in a Hyper World"

Some months back, I posted a blog about my good friend John Gray’s most recent book, Staying Focused in a Hyper World.  Today I’d like to share another video with him about the topic because recently I’ve been reminded several times about the increasing importance of finding ways to stay focused amidst the bombardment of technology we’re faced with daily.

Dr. John Gray is not only my good friend, he’s also an extremely well known author–his most well known book being Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus.  At a recent TLC (Transformational Leadership Council) conference, I had the chance to record this video with him where we discuss his latest book and reveal natural solutions for increasing/restoring memory, improving attention span and focus, and overcoming ADHD no matter what cacophony of bustling and distraction is going on around us.

John was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease some years ago and he embarked on a mission to treat it through natural solutions.  During this time, he discovered he had ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder)and, quite interestingly, he was able to counteract that through natural means without the use of harmful, side-effect-inducing drugs.

In this day and age, we are so bombarded with technology and distractions that even if we don’t have ADHD, it can often be extremely difficult to stay focused and this can be a great deterrent to our success.  For this reason, I highly recommend John’s new book.  Businesspeople can especially benefit from the advice in this book as they tend to live highly fast-paced lives and they are often simultaneously pulled in several different directions.

I’d love to hear your thoughts about what John has to say in this video (you can leave your comments in the comment forum below) and if you’d like to learn more about Staying Focused in a Hyper World, please click here.  Thanks!

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