A More Purposeful Life (by Bijay and Anna Shah)string(47) "A More Purposeful Life (by Bijay and Anna Shah)"

International Networking Week®: “A World of Thanks” story submitted by Bijay Rajnikantt Shah and Anna ShahBNI National Directors – BNI United Arab Emirates

BijayThe United Arab Emirates (UAE) is a beloved home for people of all ages, ethnicities, backgrounds, religions, and cultures. It has been more than a second home for hundreds of thousands of ex-pats, that have come to this gracious land and made a living, started families, and made life-long friends. With generations of families being settled in this Middle-Eastern country, the new-generation even considers the UAE as their first and ONLY home.

When Anna & I first moved to the UAE, BNI was not on our radar and we had no plans to make it our permanent home. We were just exploring what could be possible and if there might be any opportunities for us to make a good living and build a future for ourselves.

We came here knowing only 2 people in 2004. Fast forward 16 years later and we can proudly call the UAE our permanent home. Our 13-year-old son Aryan is born here and he considers this to be his first and only home. We are surrounded by an active community of over 600 givers in BNI and over the years made connections with thousands more both locally and globally.

As we celebrate the 14th International Networking Week and its theme “A World of Thanks”, Anna & I would like to take this opportunity to express our deepest gratitude to the following people for what and who were are today:

Bijay and Anna Shah share a “World of Thanks”

  • Dr. Ivan Misner & the late Elisabeth Misner for creating this amazing organization that is truly Changing the Way the World Does Business®. Over the last 16 years, the BNI system has helped generate over US$ 440 Million in new business for our members in the UAE.
  • Under the Leadership of our CEO, Graham Weihmiller, and the support of the BNI Global Support Team, the last 5 years have seen exemplary progress in our technology and systems – creating a pathway to an even stronger and brighter future both for ourselves and our members.
  • Our Members and our Executive Teams who trust us and followed the BNI system in an organization that changed their life. Their continued support and enthusiasm are what keeps us motivated in doing what we do every day.
  • Lastly and most importantly, the leaders of this great country we now call our permanent home – the UAE. The UAE has also taught so many to dream big and to keep thriving until they achieve success, all being the influence of the great and visionary leader, H.H. Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan.

H.H. Sheikh Zayed’s legacy is indispensable to healing the fractures of a world that is being disfigured by demagoguery and divisive politics. Upholding human dignity – treating “every person, no matter what his creed or race, as a special soul”, as he put it – was his principal objective in public life. He emphasized the urgency of opening up opportunities in “all sectors” for women and warned that no society that excluded half its citizens could prosper. He welcomed people from every part of the world with open arms, transforming the UAE into one of the most pluralistic societies in the world.

The momentous change over which Sheikh Zayed presided was never, in his eyes, a departure from the heritage of the UAE but an affirmation of its finest aspects. The true genius of culture and society lay, he believed, in their capacity to adapt and thrive in a changing world. A cursory glance at the Middle East shows how right he was – and how well he prepared the UAE for the 21st Century. In a region characterized by strife and conflict, the UAE is not only a haven of stability and prosperity but also the place where the future is imagined and brought into being. At the same time, it has given so munificently to the less fortunate that it has gained recognition as the most generous donor of aid on earth.

We owe a World of Thanks to all of the people mentioned above for helping us find meaning and making our life more purposeful – Thank you!

Bijay Rajnikantt Shah and Anna Shah | BNI United Arab Emirates National Directors

#BijayShah   #AnnaShah   #BNIUAE  

Tiago

The Language of Thanks (by Tiago Henriques da Cunha)string(52) "The Language of Thanks (by Tiago Henriques da Cunha)"

International Networking Week®: “A World of Thanks” story submitted by Tiago Henriques da Cunha, National DirectorBNI Spain SLC

TiagoIn 2021, BNI invites you to celebrate a World of Thanks! A World of Thanks is a universal and wonderful pledge!

All cultures have a way to express thankfulness. In Portuguese we say “Obrigado”, in French “Merci”, in German “Danke”… but although all these different ways of expressing our positive feelings about something someone has done for us are unique, they all add something special and distinct.

 

I believe from my experience that a glimpse on these ways to say “Thanks” makes our Thanking much more joyful and meaningful.

World of Thanks in Spanish is “Mundo de Gracias” to Tiago

The Spanish word “Gracias” has the same Latin origin as “Gratitud” or “Grace”. So when we say “Gracias” in Spain (or in Latin America), we are telling people that we are “Grateful” and that we wish them to be filled with Grace.

This has a poetic flavor, and it evokes for me the “Law of Reciprocity”: what goes around, comes around. In Spanish culture, saying “Gracias” is not just a word, but something that builds our relationship with that person. Where does this relate to the idea of Networking? I think it has everything to do with it!

Through Networking we should build meaningful relationships with people. Get to know them well, help them in any way that seems appropriate and possible, and yes… thank them when they do something positive for us. Through our Networking endeavors, we build positive, self-fulfilling Communities around us. When we thank people, we are generating well-being and well-feeling. And for that, I think that here lies the power of saying “Gracias”. What better way there is to build those communities than to tell people we are grateful and that we wish them to be full of Grace! That’ is one of the reasons I think Networking is so strong within the Spanish culture (although there is no direct Spanish word for it).

In Spain, relationships are a key part of our culture. People just love to be with other people, from big family gatherings to staying out late on the terrace chatting about anything. So networking comes naturally to Spaniards. Saying “Gracias” was very important to me when I started working in Spain. Coming from a very close country (Portugal), I had to make some adjustments to the way I interact with people. I soon come to discover the uniqueness of saying “Gracias”. In just 9 years, we have created a community of almost 9000 committed people who network together and thank each other every week. Through that journey, I discovered that when really meant, to say “Gracias” is a powerful and truthful relationship builder. No long-term positive relationship is possible without the mindset that saying “Gracias” represents and demonstrates.

So I would like to say “Gracias” to all the people who have helped me on this wonderful journey of developing BNI in Spain: our Members, Executive Directors, Directors and Ambassadors, National Office colleagues, both past and present, and especially to my family. To them, I wish “Un Mundo de Gracias”, a “World of Thanks”, a “World of Graces” during International Networking Week® 2021

Tiago Henriques da Cunha | BNI Spain SLC National Director     

#BNIespanaSLC   #Tiagodacunha

INW

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International Networking Week®: “A World of Thanks” story submitted by Avryl Au, BNI National Director – BNI Thailand, BNI Macau & Hong Kong, China

AvrylWhat a great theme, “A World of Thanks”, is to kick start the year.  Each week on Monday, it is my team tradition when we meet to plan for the week ahead that we share gratitude and thank someone in mind. We often send a caring message to team members who cannot attend due to caring for their own family needs. I am thankful we have a team that sets priorities right, family is our highest priority to care for. We often have full participation every Monday morning. For that, I am thankful to my team of Directors and Ambassadors of KL West and KL South, Malaysia.

I want to say a special thank you to the INW Committee 2020 and continuing to 2021, Desmond Sia, Daisy Lee, Wong Chee How, and Andrew Hooi. Together with a very supportive team of assistants from throughout the regions, INW2020 made history in BNI by introducing a bigger vision and the possibility of Diamond Chapters. The result was 3 double diamond chapters are now in existence, in less than 12 months from the event. The first two were kicked off in 6 months. I sincerely thank the INW Diamond committee for making the historical event.

AvrylAvryl

Avryl thanks her INW teams

In the upcoming INW2021 event on 1 Feb, the same committee has extended the theme  “A World of Thanks”, by encouraging the entire region to care more and share more of their success stories to impact those who are already in BNI and to those that are not yet in BNI. The event’s purpose is to showcase the effectiveness of BNI through the power of stories. They have put together a range of success stories from members who have given beyond expectations for the community they are in. This year the event is online and it is easier to share our stories with the whole world.

I would also like to take this opportunity to thank the Directors, Ambassadors, Leadership Teams, Subject Matter Experts, and Trainers for their persistence and patience to support every member in 2020, one of the most difficult years for a large majority of us. A special mention to Pava and Yee Peng who has walked the extra mile to push forward and accepted more responsibilities for the good of others.

My sincere appreciation to everyone for making my journey in BNI for the last 20 years,  very memorable and fun.

Avryl Au |  KL West & KL South Regions, and Klang Valley, BNI Malaysia Executive Director

#BNIMalaysia #BNIChina  #AvrylAu

Frank

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International Networking Week®: “A World of Thanks” story submitted by Frank De Raffele Jr., BNI Executive Director, Hudson Valley Regions (New York, USA)

FrankAmericans are Too Selfish

What if I told you that I had wanted to get 80,000 people together in the USA to help grow each other’s businesses? Would you think Frank was crazy? Would you say it is impossible? Would you say to me, “Frank, Americans would never do that, they are too focused on themselves, they are too independent, they are too selfish”?

Well, they’re not.  For the last 36 years, hundreds of thousands of American business owners and sales professionals have worked together under the banner of BNI to live a Givers Gain life and to make a difference in each other’s lives.  For over one-third of a century, Americans with their entrepreneurial spirit have been thanking each other for referral business through BNI.

Frank’s Great Memory 

A few years back I was at a BNI chapter meeting.  Toward the end of the meeting, which is when everyone “gives back” to the chapter, a gentleman stood up and shared a big event he had going on that day.  He told the chapter of an appointment he had that morning to close the largest deal ever for his company.  It was NOT a BNI referral.  It was something he had been working on himself for over 3 years.  He was just so excited and proud of finally making it happen he wanted to share it with his “BNI family.”  When he finished telling of his accomplishment the room went wild.  Everyone stood up, applauded, hollered, shook his hand, and hugged him.

As I watched this happen, I thought, “This is amazing.  Where else does this happen?”  Where do you find a group of people who receive no benefit from your business yet are truly excited and happy for your success?  How crazy is it to have a group of people who want to help you grow your business, success, and desired lifestyle?  After, he said his family didn’t even react as his BNI chapter did.

I am Thankful

It hit me hard that morning how lucky and thankful I am for this lifestyle I lead. Through BNI I have built a community of people who are focused on growing their business by first helping others grow theirs.  A community of like-minded people who believe, live and practice Givers Gain.

In 2021 I am thankful for every Nurse, Doctor, Firefighter, EMT, and Police Officer that risks their lives every day for me. Someone they don’t even know. I am thankful for my wife that has put up with me for 30+ years. (God Bless Her!)  I am thankful for the person I am today because of my Mom and Dad.  They were amazing people and parents who taught my sisters and me the value of hard work, respect, honesty and giving to others.  The amazing part is that they didn’t talk much about giving to others, they just did it. My sisters and I learned it by watching them live it.

Finally, I am thankful for a man back in 1985 that decided the way for him to make more money at his business was to put a “referral group” together using the philosophy of Givers Gain.  A simple idea, that became a Global Network called BNI, and for 36 years has been, “Changing the way the world does business.”

My life has been affected in ways that Dr. Misner will never know.  That my family will never know. But I know. I know that I am a better person today than I was 28+ years ago when I first became a member. Thank you, Dr. Ivan Misner, and every leader I have met in BNI that has made me the person I am today.

Frank De Raffele Jr. | BNI Hudson Valley Regions Executive Director

#FrankDeRaffele #BNIUSA   

INW

Diana

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International Networking Week®: “A World of Thanks” story submitted by Diana Ninsiima Kibuuka, National Director – BNI Uganda

DianaIn May 2005, we launched the first BNI Chapter in Uganda. It was an exciting event and I looked to the future with great expectation. Three weeks later, I had my son, and shortly after his birth, I was diagnosed with vertigo. Vertigo is a deliberating disease that incapacitates you and my doctors could not understand the cause or tell me how long I would be incapacitated.  I could not walk; I could not carry my baby and I could not lead the young BNI team.

After my diagnosis, I received a visit from my business partners, Bijay Shah and Muraguri Elizaphan, and the president of the chapter, Tracey Ntabazi. I could read the shock on their faces as they saw my condition. At that time I was a Launch DC and I had one thought “that my journey with BNI Uganda had to come to an end”. During the visit, I mentioned I did not know how long my condition would be persist.  Bijay, Muraguri, and Tracey left me with one clear message; until I was back on my feet, they had my back.

Today, I am the co-national director of BNI Uganda. The words shared with me in that season have stood the test of time and been proved over and over again. From that season, I embraced BNI Giver’s gain philosophy because I had seen it lived out. Today, BNI Uganda’s Kampala Region has some of the highest retention rates in the world, because we have a culture of watching out for each other and can confidently say to each other, “I have your back”.

Diana owes “Ulimwengu wa Shukrani” to members and leaders from across the world for walking with her and truly having her back:

  • Francios: ED from France: during my first global convention you shared your lessons from your ED experience and I believed I too could make a difference;
  • Runjhun Gupta: for the words of wisdom and courage you have shared in the past and continue to share;
  • Avryl Au: for initiating that conversation in which you expressed your interest in African Art and ultimately flying  over 11 hours to share your 20 years BNI experience with my BNI family;
  • Graham Southwell: for the conversation, we had over lunch when I attended my first Executive Council meeting;
  • Murali Srinivasan: thank you for the morning walks in Dubai and Warsaw and the wisdom you continue to share;
  • Claire Sherman: for answering all my questions graciously;
  • YP Lai: for the lessons you continue to share and doors your opportunities avail;
  • Kenny Olunbanjo and the team from Nigeria: for the celebrations and navigating this BNI journey together;
  • Mike and Beth Levin: you have shared of your resources and are ever ready to help;
  • Sandra Hart: for creating the platform from which so many told their stories and inspired me;
  • BNI Uganda family: you have watched out for each other and created opportunities for each other in all seasons;
  • Bijay, Anuradha, and Muraguri: for starting me off on a journey that has made it possible for us to make a difference together;
  • Mac Srinivasan: for your story to keep our years on the light and not waver; and lastly
  • Ivan Misner: a world of thanks, for without your courage we would not be.

Diana Ninsiima Kibuuka | BNI Uganda National Director

#BNIUganda     #DianaKibuuka    

World of Thanks

A World of Thanksstring(17) "A World of Thanks"

Welcome to the 14th annual “International Networking Week®”. Held annually during the first week of February, organizations around the world celebrate the power of networking and recognition. “International Networking Week” is an initiative of BNI created 14 years ago. This week, we are promoting our theme, “A World of Thanks”, by asking you to share your stories of gratitude and appreciation for those who helped you to grow or maintain your business during the difficulties of the “Great Pause of 2020”.

Welcome to “International Networking Week”

Please share this video with your chapter members this week during your BNI meeting.

This is the perfect time to recognize someone and say “thank you” in appreciation for what they have contributed to your life and your business. Thank someone in person (or online) during your BNI meeting this week or at any networking event celebrating “International Networking Week”. Furthermore, consider posting a thank you message on social media using the hashtags #aWorldofThanks and #INW2021 with your post.

Video Contest Winner

Thank you to all that submitted your video entry for this contest. I am honored to announce that Paul Richardson of the BNI Crossroads Chapter is the winner of the 2021 “International Networking Week” Video Contest. Please take a moment and click here to watch this award-winning video of Paul thanking fellow BNI member Caroline Matte of the BNI Champlain Valley Chapter who made a difference in his life.  Paul will have his business, and his BNI chapter in Vermont, USA, featured globally on BNI’s social media pages and featured in SuccessNet™ this week.

A World of Thanks

In conclusion, I would like to end by thanking the following BNI leaders for writing guest blogs during International Networking Week for my website:

 Wishing everyone a fantastic International Networking Week® 2021!

 

2021 International Networking Week

2021 International Networking Weekstring(34) "2021 International Networking Week"

The 2021 International Networking Week is just around the corner. Fourteen years ago, I helped BNI® launch an initiative we called International Networking Week which is held during the first week in February of every year. This initiative continues to grow year after year and it is open to ALL businesses around the world.  It provides business leaders a chance to celebrate networking by providing gratitude and appreciation for those people who are in their networks.

This will be a week of global recognition and gratitude from February 1 to 6, 2021 to thank those business owners who have helped you to grow your business while networking. Therefore, it’s time to build your powerful personal network now. Invite various business owners who helped you to grow your business to your BNI online chapter to network and to recognize the power of networking. Watch our promo video for the 14th Annual International Networking Week.

Announcing the 14th annual 

International Networking Week

The 2021 International Networking Week theme is A World of Thanks”

Building on last year’s success, we are continuing this initiative by connecting the BNI core values of Recognition and Building Relationships through a program we’re calling, “A World of Thanks”. Studies show that gratitude improves the connection between people and enhances trust.  This, in turn, actually improves performance. Please use these hashtags when posting your thank you messages, photos, or invitations on social media: #WorldOfThanks  #INW21

2021 International Networking Week Video Contest

“Thank you’s” make a difference. So, I ask you to take this opportunity to thank someone who has helped you in some important way.  Thank them in person, in writing, or on social media.  But thank someone who has been there for you or your organization. We are looking for your story and we would love stories from every country worldwide. Please create a 30-90 second testimonial video of your story expressing gratitude to another BNI member who helped you this year. The submission deadline has been extended to January 15, 2021. Submit the video at https://internationalnetworkingweek.com/

I would like to take this opportunity to be the first to thank BNI leaders and members.

2020 was the most challenging year I’ve ever seen for business people around the world.  I am incredibly proud of how members and BNI leaders got focused by fear and not frozen by fear.  We watched people come together to support one another both personally and professionally. BNI members have told me that they are proud to be part of this organization, and so am I.  I was humbled by what I saw happen last year and I want to thank everyone for living the philosophy of Givers Gain and being there to support the people in your network.

I would like to especially thank the following BNI leaders for agreeing to participate as an International Networking Week guest blogger this year.  Look for their articles about “A World of Thanks” on my website during the week of February 1 to 6, 2021.

  •  Frank De Raffele   BNI USA
  • Avryl Au                    BNI Thailand
  • Bijay Shah                BNI UAE
  • Diana Ninsiima      BNI Uganda   
  • Tiago da Cunha      BNI Spain SLC

See, it’s that easy to thank someone.  Now it’s your turn.  Be specific and have it come from the heart. Take a minute to think of people you can thank during the week of February 1 to 6, and celebrate The 2021 International Networking Week with us.  You, and they – will be glad you did.

Gratitude Effect

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I have asked Greg Davies to write a guest blog for my website. Greg is one of my co-authors of the book, Infinite Giving“.  He is sharing the topic of “Thanksgiving”, which is a holiday occurring in the USA today. Even though Greg is from Great Britain, and never has celebrated Thanksgiving before, he is truly an expert on the gratitude effect.

This is a bit of a weird one, a blog about Thanksgiving from the co-author of Infinite Giving, the Seven Principles of Givers Gain, which was written by Two Brits and a Yank. Why is that weird, I hear you ask? Well, I can easily discuss the gratitude effect as explained in our book. However, I am firmly in the “Brits” camp and have not attended a single thanksgiving celebration in my entire life (as we don’t celebrate it in the UK). I found myself researching this iconic holiday for the first time. Here is Ivan’s Thanksgiving message from last year. Now at this point, I roll out the elementary school presentation.

The First Thanksgiving

In 1621, 90 Native Americans and 53 Pilgrims gave thanks for a successful harvest with a feast that lasted for at least 3 days, etc etc. Fast forward a few hundred years and we have Turkey, Mash, Pumpkin Pie, and the now infamous Black Friday. What I would much rather do, is point out that the “First Thanksgiving” was far from it.

Yes, it is the most referenced and the one that was recounted by attendee Edward Winslow in the American tradition and yes….well….maybe yes, it was the first where Pilgrims and Native Americans sat down and shared a meal (the jury is still out on that one), but the fact is those at the Plymouth Plantation would regularly give thanks for many different gifts that were bestowed upon them. The early Pilgrims would offer days of thanks for blessings such as military victory, end of a drought, recovery of a sick community member, and in this case, a successful harvest. They had built into their culture that when something good happens you need to take time to recognise it and say thank you.

The gratitude effect is not new-age, it’s science.

We cover this in the book, Chapter 11 Principle 7, The Gratitude Effect. There are some wonderful examples in the book of studies that show just how powerful saying “thank you” can be.

Gratitude, like so many other principles of success, is simple, but not easy.

The Pilgrims built gratitude into their religion and daily lives, it became a pillar of their belief and a cornerstone of their community, and for us to adopt this simple act will take a habit defining decision.

The gratitude effect requires a life-long journey of developing our ability to be grateful.

While the above may sound a little heavy, the actual effort involved in giving genuine gratitude is minuscule, but to begin with, it just feels weird. Try crossing your arms the other way, if you normally go left over right, go right over left or vice versa, SEE! IT JUST FEELS WEIRD. This has nothing to do with one way being right and the other wrong, it is just because your neuropathways have formed, and by doing it the other way, you are forging a new path.

That right there is the point, we must choose to forge a new path. We must accept that it may feel strange to begin with, but stick with it and recognise all of the wonderful things that are happening to us and say thank you. Then, a new habit has been formed.

The gratitude effect doesn’t take much effort and costs little or nothing.

I am thankful for the fact that I was asked to write this blog. I am thankful that in the single most challenging year that we as a planet will (hopefully) face in our lifetime, I have forged some of the strongest friendships, met some of the most inspirational people, and been touched by the light of human kindness like I never have been before. I hope that one day, people will give thanks for the difference I have made to them, because the real question is not who’s in our story but whose story are we in? Whose life have we made a difference in? Happy Thanksgiving from England, the original home of the Pilgrims.

difference

Make a Difference in Someone’s Lifestring(41) "Make a Difference in Someone’s Life"

My previous blog this week was about the 2020 Misner Leadership Scholarship winner, Jenna Valdez. My wife and I have been issuing these scholarships since 1999 to worthy students at Gladstone who have been actively engaged in leadership during their tenure at the school. When we issue the scholarship each year, we ask the recipient to help young people when they are an adult. We ask that they continue to be a leader by contributing to others in the future and to make a difference in someone’s life.

The leadership experience I received while at Gladstone changed the direction of my life. It was an integral part in helping to shape the person that I would become as an adult. It laid the foundation for many of the choices I made in college and throughout my professional career. There were individuals in my life who made a difference in my life. In this five-minute video, I tell the story of how one of these people really made a positive impact on my life. Back in high school, he helped to shape me into who I am today. He believed in me and gave me a chance when it seemed that no one else would. I learned from him to take time every day to make a difference in someone’s life.

Who made a difference in your life?

It is important to recognize the people who have made a difference in our lives. Therefore, it is important to acknowledge and understand how they positively impacted us. It can help us to gain clarity about ourselves as individuals about our personal values and ambitions. There probably is someone you can immediately call to mind who has impacted you and really made a difference in your life. Whether it happened recently or during your formative years, they made a difference in your life. Robert Louis Stevenson said, “Everyone who got where he is has had to begin where he was.”  Therefore, I firmly believe that our teachers, educators, and mentors play a huge part in helping us to get from where we began to where we want to go.

Please share your story below about a person you are grateful to. Let us know how they positively influenced your life and made a difference in your life. I would love to read your story about someone who impacted you in a way that helped you get where you are today.

Master the Art of Networking

Master the Art of Networkingstring(28) "Master the Art of Networking"

Networking is more than just shaking hands and passing out business cards, it is about building your “social capital.” Networking is more about “farming” than it is about “hunting.” It’s about cultivating relationships with other business professionals. It’s about realizing the capital that comes from building social relationships. Master the art of networking with these ten tips:

1. Follow up on referrals.

If you present an opportunity, whether it is a simple piece of information, a special contact, or a qualified business referral, to someone who consistently fails to follow up successfully, it is no secret that you will eventually stop wasting your time sending referrals to this person.

2. Have a positive attitude.

A negative attitude makes people dislike being around you and drives away referrals. However, a positive attitude makes people want to associate and cooperate with you. Positive business professionals are like magnets. Others want to be around them and will send their friends, family, and associates to them.

4. Remain trustworthy.

When you refer one person to another, you are putting your reputation on the line. You have to be able to trust your referral partner and be trusted in return. Neither you nor anyone else will refer a contact or valuable information to someone who cannot be trusted to handle it well.

5. Practice good listening skills.

Our success as networkers depends on how well we can listen and learn. The faster you and your networking partner learn what you need to know about each other, the faster you’ll establish a valuable relationship. Communicate well, listen, and learn.

6. Always network.

Master networkers are never off duty. Networking is so natural to them that they can be found networking in the grocery store line, online, and while working from home. After this “Great Pause”, we will soon be able to network again at chamber mixers and networking meetings.

7. Thank people.

Gratitude is sorely lacking in today’s business world. Expressing gratitude to business associates and clients is just another building block in the cultivation of relationships that will lead to increased referrals. People like to refer others to business professionals that go above and beyond. Thanking others at every opportunity will help you stand out from the crowd.

8. Help others.

Master networkers keep their eyes and ears open for opportunities to advance other people’s interests whenever they can. Helping others can be done in a variety of ways, from literally showing up to help with an office move to clipping a helpful and interesting article and mailing it to an associate or client.

9. Be sincere.

If you are not sincerely interested in the other person, they will know it. Those who have developed successful networking skills convey their sincerity at every turn. One of the best ways to develop this trait is to give your undivided attention to the people you are networking with.

10. Work the art of networking.

Master networkers do not let any opportunity to work their networks pass them by. They manage their contacts, organize their e-mail address files, and carry their referral partners’ business cards as well as their own. They set up appointments to get better acquainted with new contacts so that they can learn as much about them as possible so that they can truly become part of each other’s networks.

Do you see the trend with these ten points? They all tie into long-term relationship building. People who take the time to build their social capital are the ones who will have new business referred to them over and over. The key is to build mutually beneficial business relationships. Only then will you succeed to master the art of networking.

Handshakes

Handshakes in a Post COVID Worldstring(32) "Handshakes in a Post COVID World"

In the business world, handshakes are the staple of networking in many cultures. However, during these days of Covid-19, we are keeping a physical distance from each other and have avoided handshaking, It is hard to shake someone’s hand when you are networking online.

So after we are let out of the “Great Pause”, what will happen to our old friend, the handshake? I offer a few options in this video including what I suggest for the post COVID world.

Alternative options to consider instead of handshakes:

  • Asian Bow
  • Bump toes
  • Elbow bump
  • European Air Kiss
  • Fist bump
  • Hugs
  • And…

Learn what I recommend in this short, fun little video.

 

 

Gratitude

The Gratitude Effectstring(20) "The Gratitude Effect"

I recognize that when some people hear the phrase Attitude of Gratitude,” they are going to think, “Yeah, yeah, yeah, more new-age psychobabble, but we want hard facts.”  Well, I agree that hard facts are important and here are some from pretty reputable sources who argue convincingly about the science of gratitude’s positive impact.

The Benefits of Gratitude

  • Harvard Medical School recently reported that there have been multiple studies showing that people who express gratitude are “more optimistic and felt better about themselves.”
  • The Templeton Foundation conducted studies that showed that an “attitude of gratitude” can actually have a positive and “lasting effect on the brain.”
  • A paper published by the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence concluded that “expressing gratitude completes [a] feeling of connection” with others (something I’d say is pretty important in building relationships).
  • Even neuroscientists argue that gratitude is effective. Paul Zak, professor at Claremont Graduate University states that “the neuroscience shows that recognition has the largest effect on trust. . .” Especially when it’s tangible, unexpected, personal, and public.
  • UC Berkley conducted fMRI scans on individuals who wrote gratitude letters and compared them to the fMRI scans of people who did not. They found that the people who wrote gratitude letters had a greater activation in the medial prefrontal cortex than those who did not write the letters. The medial prefrontal cortex is, among other things, believed to be an area of the brain that triggers responses to nicotine, drugs and alcohol. In other words, showing gratitude is proven to be a healthy way of getting high.
  • Studies by the Cicero Group that were published in Forbes found that people who are on the receiving end of gratitude have a 33% increase in their innovation, a 22% increase in work results, and they stay with the organization longer than those who are in companies who do not have a practice of appreciating their people.

So much for psychobabble. Gratitude improves attitude, feelings of connection, and results.  It’s not new-age; it’s science.

The Gratitude Effect works when someone is coming from a place of being grateful and acknowledging people along the way.  This means that it is important to take time to notice all the good things you might take for granted. Like so many other principles of success, it’s simple, but not easy, meaning that this is a simple concept – but it is not an easy concept to apply regularly in your life.  It’s not easy, because the easy thing is to notice what is wrong, what you don’t like, what annoys you, or the problems that you face.

Solutions Focused

What I have learned over the years is that if you focus on problems – you become a world-class expert at problems, and it is hard to show gratitude when you are obsessed with the problems around you.  However, if you focus on solutions, you can become a world-class expert at solving those problems.  This process begins by recognizing what is right around us.  From that starting point we can be grateful for those elements. Plus, begin to acknowledge those around us for the efforts they are making.  The Gratitude Effect requires a life-long journey of developing our ability to be grateful.

Expressing gratitude completes the feeling of connection with others. Here is how you can start this practice today: many people have helped us during our lifetime.  They are “in our story.”  Have you acknowledged them? Have you thanked them?  Have you recognized the difference they have made for you?

I recently heard a story from a woman whose sixteen-year old son pretty much stopped going to school. His grades began to fail, and he started drinking alcohol.  Worst of all, he was caught stealing a car and joy riding late at night.  She told me that he was making some really poor life decisions and that she was beside herself with what to do.

She decided to send him to a leadership conference to see if that would help take his life in a new direction.  At first, he said, “no” but around the holidays, he said that if this was that important to her, he “would do it for her.”

He attended the multi-day event and came home telling her that the event was amazing.  He learned that people matter.  Decisions matter.  The people around you matter.  She told me that one of the speaker’s at that event had a particularly large impact on the young man.  Then she reached out to the speaker from that event and told him the story.  Expressing her gratitude for the impact that his talk had on her son’s life.  She told him “you gave me my son back.”  The speaker was so moved that he sent a video message to the young man telling him how grateful he was that he said something that the boy found helpful and that he was proud to be a small part of that. What’s more, the young man replied and told him a little about the life that he was now creating for himself.

The Gratitude Effect doesn’t take much effort and costs little or nothing. However, it makes a difference in yourself and the people around you. When you acknowledge people in this way, people are drawn to you like a magnet. This accelerates the relationship-building process. As the story above shows, the Gratitude Effect can come full circle and then continue to spiral off in new, impactful directions. Believe me.  It is science.

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