Passing People By Can Mean Missed Opportunitystring(45) "Passing People By Can Mean Missed Opportunity"

A good friend of mine, Patti Salvucci, runs dozens of networking groups in the Boston area.  A while back, Patti was visiting one of the groups she oversees, and she made an unlikely and very remarkable connection.  This is one powerful story . . .

A true master networker, Patti arrived early for the networking meeting in the private meeting room at Fenway Park, home of the Boston Red Sox.  She noticed an older gentleman setting up coffee mugs for the meeting and when she struck up a conversation with him, she was extremely impressed by the tenor of his voice. She asked him what he had done before he retired.

He told her he’d been a commentator for CNN but had decided to find less hectic work and move closer to his daughter.  He now managed the owner’s suite at Fenway and enjoyed reminiscing about the famous people he’d met while in the radio business: John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King Jr., Nelson Mandela and others.  Patti was astounded.

Later, when the meeting was in full swing, one member, Don, announced that he would like to do a radio talk show someday and was looking for contacts who could help him pursue that dream.  After the meeting, Patti directed Don’s attention to the gentleman in the  back of the room and told him that the man used to be a commentator on the radio.  Don was flabbergasted.  It was better than any contact he could’ve expected, and it happened at the very meeting in which he asked for it.

The irony was that Don had seen the man on many occasions, but it had never occurred to him to strike up a conversation. After all, the man obviously had little in common with him.  What could he possibly have to offer? . . . Obviously, a lot. 😉

This story is a great lesson to all of us that we really don’t know whom we could be standing next to on a daily basis and that taking the time to find out a little bit about the people we cross paths with can bring great rewards.

Networking at Holiday Partiesstring(29) "Networking at Holiday Parties"

The holiday party is a great time to meet people but . . . you should have a plan!

Everybody goes to parties, and the holiday season is full of them. It’s also a business slowdown season for many of us who are not in retail. The holiday parties are NOT just a place for free food and drinks.

Holiday parties and other social mixers bring new opportunities to network, even more than the rest of the year.   The holidays are times when we are more likely to see people in a social setting, and this setting definitely lends itself to building relationships.

Most people think of networking only in traditional networking venues, such as the chamber, strong-contact referral groups like BNI, and other business-oriented gatherings. But that’s not using the power of networking to its fullest.

It can be the best time to introduce yourself or have a friendly conversation with one of your superiors. Making an impact on someone important can be a real career booster; it could open the door for new job opportunities, promotions and/or new business.

In order to make the most of “holiday party networking,” here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Be prepared! If you’re going to hobnob, try to know whom you are talking to, what their job and role in the company are and what they’ve done this year for the organization.  Use this info as a way to start a conversation. If you know some of the people who will be in attendance, do a Google search on them.  Do some homework.
  • Ask questions. Some suggestions: How did you start the business? How did you take the business international?  How did you start franchising? What were some of the challenges with . . . ? Have you read any good books lately? (My favorite is: How can I help you?)
  • Have a “teaser” topic ready. Approaching the end of the year, every business wants to increase profits and performance in the New Year. Have an idea ready that describes how you can improve your sector in the coming year. (Word to the wise: Don’t give away the goose; set up a meeting to discuss the details.)
  • Use this introduction as a segue for a future meeting. As mentioned above, you don’t want to “end” the conversation at the party. The end game here is to open the door for follow-up. You want to be able to connect with the person after the party, one-to-one.
  • Don’t have more than a couple drinks. It’s a party, but it’s not YOUR party. You don’t want to be stinking of liquor when you approach the people you want to connect with. Impressions count. Make the right one.
  • Be confident of your value. Introducing yourself to an executive can be an intimidating experience, so give yourself an informed pep talk. Before the event, make a list of the things you’ve done over the past year and understand how what you do may integrate into discussions. Once you’ve got this down, there’s no reason you shouldn’t feel good about yourself. Consider how what you’ve done can integrate with the executive’s interests.
  • Honor the event. Make sure when networking at a holiday party–or any non-traditional networking event–that networking is supplementary to the reason people are there, so don’t treat it like a chamber mixer.  Be sincere.

Don’t act as if you’re in the boardroom giving a presentation; keep it natural and leave them intrigued. The real emphasis must be on “finesse” at a company holiday party. Yes, it is a great networking opportunity–but if you overtly “sell,” you may turn people off! After all, it is a holiday.

You can network anywhere, including events where it might not at first occur to you to try it–and, paradoxically, it’s at these non-traditional networking settings where you’ll often get the most bang for your buck.

‘Just Listen’–Get Through to Absolutely Anyonestring(64) "‘Just Listen’–Get Through to Absolutely Anyone"

It’s no secret that a master networker has two ears and one mouth and uses them proportionally. But even if you think you’re a good listener, you may be surprised at how much you might still be lacking when it comes to listening effectively.

My good friend Mark Goulston’s new book, Just Listen, will not only teach you how to make a powerful and positive first impression by listening effectively, it will even show you how to turn the “impossible” and “unreachable” people in your life into allies, devoted customers, loyal colleagues and lifetime friends.

The point is, if you want to maximize your networking efforts and build the strongest network possible, the skill of truly listening is crucial for you to develop; and Just Listen is the ultimate, must-read guide that you need to get your hands on.

Mark is a bestselling author, a psychiatrist, a business consultant, an executive coach and a hostage-negotiation trainer for the FBI. Over the span of his career in these fields, he has found what consistently works to reach all kinds of people in any situation. Any guesses as to what he’s found one of the most powerfully effective strategies for getting through to anyone might be? . . . Yep, you got it! . . . LISTENING!

You’d be hard-pressed to find anyone who could teach you how to listen more effectively than Mark, and I can guarantee you that you won’t have a problem focusing on reading his book (“listening” to his words as you read) because he’s not only a pretty darn interesting guy, he’s also remarkably entertaining! 🙂

CLICK HERE to visit Mark’s website

CLICK HERE to find out more about Just Listen.

Read reviews and purchase Just Listen on

Read reviews and purchase Just Listen on Barnes&

Networking–It’s More Than Just Talking Businessstring(59) "Networking–It’s More Than Just Talking Business"

People often think that networking is all about talking business and exchanging cards, but that’s a definite misconception.

In a networking group, you should talk about more than just business. A referral relationship is more than just, “I do business, you do business, let’s do business.” A much better approach is to find common ground on a personal level, then relate your business to it.

The longer I’ve been involved in networking, the more I’ve seen the power of personal interests in making connections. Networking is about building personal relationships. If you remove the personal from the equation, you limit the amount of business that can happen.

In one networking group I worked with, I introduced an exercise called the GAINS Exchange, in which people share personal and professional information about themselves. Two of the participants in this group had known each other for more than a year but had never done business. During the exercise, they discovered they both coached their sons’ soccer teams. They quickly became close friends and were soon helping each other conduct soccer practices. After a few months, they began referring business to each other–two guys who had barely spoken to each other the first year because they seemed to have so little in common.

By finding a common interest and starting with that, we can make connections that have a very good chance of turning into business. Try this strategy out for a while and then come back and leave a comment to let me know what your experiences have been–I’d love to hear about them!

Is Your Follow-up Strategy Helping or Hurting You?string(50) "Is Your Follow-up Strategy Helping or Hurting You?"

I had a conversation with an associate recently who was surprised that she’d gotten flack from a referral source for taking five days to follow up with a prospect that the referral source had referred to her. My associate explained to me that she doesn’t like to follow up with prospects for four or five days because she doesn’t want the prospect to feel like she’s too eager. I told my associate that I strongly disagree with her follow-up strategy and my reasons why are outlined in the following paragraphs . . .

When building relationships, it’s always important not to let much time lapse without following up the first contact. Within seventy-two hours, send your prospect a note expressing your pleasure in communicating with her. It’s still too early, though, to send business literature or make any move toward sales promotion.

Follow up early, but don’t push beyond the prospect’s comfort level. Once the prospect has expressed an interest in your products or services, provide information about them, but don’t force it on her. Continue presenting your products or services, but avoid the hard sell. Focus on fulfilling her needs and interests. Your goal should be to keep your prospect aware of your business without annoying her.

Remember, to secure the long-term loyalty of your prospect and convert her into a customer, you must first build a relationship, and that relationship must develop through the visibility, credibility and profitability stages. It may take a while, but if you’ve selected and briefed your sources well, you’ll speed up the process.

Always, always, always remember to follow up with people, in any situation, at the very least within seventy-two hours. There’s a reason people commonly say that the fortune is in the follow up . . . when you follow up quickly with people, your reputation will benefit, your business will benefit, and eventually your pocketbook will benefit as well.

Small but Mightystring(16) "Small but Mighty"

So many times we take our business cards for granted, and we so easily forget to carry and use this compact, energy-efficient, low-cost, low-tech instrument–a self contained device with no gears, springs or batteries that keeps working hours, weeks, years and even decades after it has left our hands.

I’ve said this many times before. But since I haven’t blogged about it in a long time, I thought it’d be a good time to reiterate that the business card is the most powerful single business tool, dollar for dollar, that you can invest in.

Your business card serves a multitude of functions–none of which goes into action until the second you give it away!


  • It tells people your name and the name of your business.
  • It provides your address, telephone number, fax number, e-mail address, website and other ways of contacting you.
  • It lets people know who you are, what you do, what your qualifications are for doing what you do, how the things you do can help them and, perhaps, even what you look like.
  • It demonstrates in text and graphics why a person should consider doing business with you rather than somebody else.
  • It can give others a taste of your work, your style, your personality–even your voice.
  • It can persuade the person you give it to that you are intelligent, creative and resourceful.
  • It can be so unusual, attractive, strange, charming or funny that it sticks in the memory like a great radio or television ad.
  • It can present the same messages to anybody who gains possession of it, long after it has left your hands for the last time.


  • It never needs repair or maintenance.
  • It requires no license to own or operate.
  • It can be carried by the dozens in your shirt pocket or purse.
  • It fits easily and unobtrusively in your hand and starts working automatically the instant you hand it to someone.

Here’s the bottom line: this amazing little tool, this tiny advertisement that keeps working and working, is the most cost-efficient promotional device you can own. If you haven’t given much thought to your business card lately, or have been neglecting to hand it out at every opportunity, now’s the time to start paying attention to your business card and utilizing it to reap the great benefits.

Just Ask. Right? . . . Nostring(25) "Just Ask. Right? . . . No"

The following article was written by my friend and partner in the Referral Institute, Mike Macedonio. I wanted to share it with you here because it mentions some very important points regarding asking for referrals. After you read the article, I’d really like to hear what you have to say in response, so please feel free to post a comment.

Just Ask. Right? . . . No.
By Mike Macedonio

I was recently attending a BNI National Conference and there was a lot of effective networking going on. With the culture of “Givers Gain” there were participants offering to help one another and make connections. On several occasions I was also watching some businesspeople walk up to people who barely knew them and ask to be referred to their valued relationships. I felt a sense of awkwardness in the conversation.

I think what I was actually feeling was deja vu. I’ve been on the receiving end of the “referral ambush” before, when someone I may hardly be in the “Visibility” phase with is asking me to expose my reputation by referring them to one of my valued relationships. In some cases, I was even asked to promote them or their company to my entire database.

During the BNI Conference, there was one participant who approached the main speaker and introduced themself. Shortly into the conversation, they let the speaker know that they understood the speaker knew an internationally known personality and that they would like an introduction to that person in order to pitch their business to him. WOW . . . that was a big ask. So why did it feel inappropriate? Part of the reason is the stage of the referral process, or the VCP Process, that the attendee and speaker were engaged in.

VCP is the acronym Ivan Misner uses for Visibility, Credibility, and Profitability. In the Visibility stage, two people simply know of each other. If both people can state the other’s name and business, that would be considered a qualified Visibility relationship. Credibility is when the relationship between two people has developed and both parties hold a mutual trust for one another. Profitability is the ultimate referral relationship goal. In this stage, both parties are reciprocally referring each other business.

In the situation I observed at the national conference where the conference attendee asked for the referral to the internationally known personality, the attendee was merely in the pre-visibility stage with the speaker. It’s true that the attendee might have mistakenly felt that they were in the credibility phase with the speaker, maybe felt that they knew him, since they had been watching him connect with the audience repeatedly over the course of the three-day event. However, it’s important to always remember that credibility is something that is established over a substantial period of time–not just a few hours, days or weeks. It takes months and, in many cases, years to develop real credibility with someone.

In closing, let me clarify that yes, I do believe that in order to get referrals we need to ask. The key, however, is to know how to ask and when it is appropriate to make the request. When is the right time, you ask? The right time to ask for a referral is when BOTH parties are in the Credibility phase of the referral relationship. Networking should not be a system that ends up alienating your friends and family. Be conscious of the deposits you make into your relationships before you start “writing checks” or, in essence, ASKING for referrals from those you have relationships with.

Top 10 Ways to Waste Your Time in a Networking Group!string(53) "Top 10 Ways to Waste Your Time in a Networking Group!"

Membership in a good networking group can be worth a considerable amount of money. Especially if you calculate the time you spend each month and the business value of your time. Make your time and efforts worthwhile. Don’t squander your opportunity by doing the wrong things in those meetings!

Success in a networking group comes when the rest of the group members trust you enough to open up their best referrals to you. Until they’ve seen your work, you have to earn that trust by demonstrating your professionalism to them. Since I founded BNI almost 25 years ago, I’ve seen how people have truly succeeded in networks–and I’ve seen how people have totally wasted their time in them.

Here are the top 10 ways to waste your time in a networking group (avoid all of them):

No. 10. Go ahead, air your grievances among your fellow networkers and guests; after all, they really want to hear about your complaints.

No. 9. Wing it in your 60-second presentations; you’ve got plenty more chances anyway.

No. 8. Use one-to-one meetings to talk about your networking group’s issues instead of learning a lot more about each other.

No. 7. Focus your efforts on selling your services primarily to the members of the group.

No. 6. Don’t rush following up on a member’s referral. They know where you are.

No. 5. Use others’ 60-second presentation time to think about what referrals you can give that week.

No. 4. Why invite your own guests? Just focus on those who show up.

No. 3. Don’t worry if you get to the meeting late. No one will notice.

No. 2. Be absent; it’s no big deal. You can just call in your referrals . . . right?

And the No. 1 way to waste your time in networking groups . . .

No. 1. It’s OK, take that phone call or text message during a meeting. It won’t bother anyone, and it’s a real sign of professionalism that everyone admires.

So there it is–The Top 10 Ways to Waste Your Time in a Networking Group! Print this out. Memorize it. Share it with your fellow networking members. Above all–avoid these mistakes! You’ll get a lot more out of your group and so will your fellow members.

I’d love to hear some more ways that are big time wasters in a networking group. Please leave your comments below. Let’s add to this list.

Oh, and to visit a good networking group in your area, feel free to Click here.

June 23rd Teleseminar with Keith Ferrazzistring(41) "June 23rd Teleseminar with Keith Ferrazzi"

Early last week, I posted a blog about Keith Ferrazzi’s new book, Who’s Got Your Back, and how the book outlines imperative success strategies for developing meaningful relationships through networking efforts and accomplishing any goal.keithferrazzi2.jpg

I got quite a few comments on that post from blog readers who are really interested in Keith’s book and the subjects he covers, so I wanted to invite everyone to a teleseminar that I will be doing with Keith on Tuesday, June 23 at 3 p.m. (Eastern Time). You can sign up for the teleseminar by clicking here.

Keith and I will be discussing the one key thing that the world’s top business leaders and entrepreneurs rely on to achieve extraordinary results and record-breaking success–building the right relationships and leveraging them at the right times. We will also be joined by Andrea J. Lee, bestselling author of Multiple Streams of Coaching Income and a leading entrepreneur who excels at building powerful relationships in order to accelerate success.

Even if you can’t make it to the live call, go ahead and register anyway because Elizabeth Marshall, host and founder of, will send you a recording of the call after it’s over. In the meantime, if you have any questions e-mail Elizabeth at

Click here to save your spot on the call and, whether you attend the live call or listen to the recording, come back and leave a comment. I’d love to hear your feedback!

Networking with Confidencestring(26) "Networking with Confidence"

You know, it continually amazes me how often I meet businesspeople who are at the top of their game in the business world, but who struggle with confidence when it comes to networking meetings.

How can these men and women–who are remarkably impressive performers in other areas of business–find networking so difficult?

It was this question which inspired me to make a new video, which you can watch here on

The truth is, there are a lot of reasons people struggle with networking. Sometimes it’s just confidence, but sometimes it’s organization or a lack of experience as well.

In the video, I give my Ten Commandments of Successful Networking, and I set out to give step-by-step practical guidelines covering everything you need to do to be a highly confident, successful business networker.

Here’s a little taste of what I recommend:

  • Teach yourself to listen and ask questions more. Be like an interviewer and ask questions that get other people to open up. A great networker has two ears and one mouth–and uses them proportionately!
  • Never push to close a deal at a networking event. Networking meetings are all about developing relationships with other professionals. They represent the beginning of a sales process, not the end.

Watch the video here for the remaining eight commandments.

Presenting at Networking Meetings is Nothing to Fearstring(52) "Presenting at Networking Meetings is Nothing to Fear"

I had an interesting experience with a BNI member some time ago that has really stuck with me. She was scared stiff of having to give presentations each week at her networking meeting; in fact, she found it so stressful that it was seriously affecting her networking activity. She was losing great opportunities to tell her fellow members about what she did, and it was keeping them from giving her referrals.

I suggested to her that rather than approach her next 10-minute presentation as a speech, she should approach it as if she were giving a test.

She liked my advice, and when it came time for her to give her presentation, she started by asking the audience 10 true or false questions about her area of specialty, tax law. The questions provided more of a discussion forum where people were engaged in communication with her, and she was able to talk more comfortably because all eyes weren’t solely on her. The presentation was a great success and, best of all, by the end of it she felt completely at ease.

By finding a way to approach your presentation that you are comfortable with and that is creative enough to make the session engaging for your audience, you will take much–if not all–of the fear out of presenting.

You’ll hear me tell the story of how this BNI member overcame her fear of presenting on my latest business TV show on and you’ll also get a detailed explanation of how to give powerful, creative presentations with these five practical tips:

1. Prepare well

2. Focus on what is important

3. Make use of visual aids

4. Remember that you are the expert

5. Be creative

The story above illustrates each of these points very well. Watch the show to hear me outline exactly why.

A Great Tip for Networking Eventsstring(33) "A Great Tip for Networking Events"

At networking meetings and events around the world, I often meet people who are uncomfortable with introducing themselves to new contacts. For some people, the barrier is a feeling of inadequacy (“Why would anyone want to meet me?”), but mostly the problem is the sheer awkwardness of approaching a stranger and saying “Hi.”

One of the best ways to put yourself at ease and overcome this awkwardness is to act like the host of the event. This approach is recommended in Dr. Adele Scheele’s book, Skills for Success, and I cover it in a new (free) show hosted by yourBusinessChannel.

The idea is that by acting as if you are the host of an event, you learn to behave in an active way, not a passive way. All of a sudden, it seems natural not only to introduce yourself to people, but also to introduce people to each other, to watch for lulls in conversation and prompt further conversation, and so on. In other words, you are acting just as you do when you are the host of your own party or event.

This is a great trick for improving your networking abilities, and you can even take it a step further by not just acting like the host but by actually being the host. What I mean by this is that most networking organizations, BNI included, have a position available in their networking meetings for a person to be the host for a given meeting and welcome new people.

I believe  it’s often the lack of context that makes it awkward to introduce yourself to new people at a networking event and, by being the host, you provide yourself with proper context.

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