Don’t Show Off, Show Intereststring(31) "Don’t Show Off, Show Interest"

Sometimes at networking events, I observe people engaging in what I call “dueling monologues” which are basically prolonged dueling talks by one person at a time.

I don’t think most people are really interested in participating in this type of conversation. The problem is that a lot of people are winging it when it comes to networking, and they often go straight into sales mode. When they do this with someone who is also winging it, it leads to a dueling monologue syndrome. I’ve seen it many times.

So how do we avoid the dueling monologue syndrome?
I believe the answer is don’t show off, show interest.

The Goal of Networking

What is the goal for your networking efforts? If it is to build your business, then it is all about building relationships with people.

Go to networking events with the intention to build a business relationship. Don’t try to dazzle people with your brilliance. You can certainly do that later. Stand out from the crowd and impress them with your genuine interest in them. Not your interest in selling to them but your genuine interest in them as a person.

A good networker is like a good talk show interviewer. A good interviewer asks the guests questions and gives them time to elaborate and respond. I think a good networker is very similar – they ask questions, then listen and let people talk.

Follow the Conversation to Ask More Questions

Follow the thread of the conversation to the point where you can ask more questions. Your questions should be open-ended, probing, and respectful. These are questions that allow the respondent to really open up and discuss what you’ve asked.

Here are some examples of questions to start with. Don’t ask one question after another in rapid succession. Do ask one or two of these questions at the beginning and then follow the thread of the conversation to ask more.  

  • What do you like best about what you do?
        If their answer is short, ask them Why? Or ask for some examples. 
  • How did you get started in your industry?
        You can ask clarification questions as they start talking

  • What is your target market?
        Ask more questions to be clear about who their best customers are.

  • What is an example of a great client for you?
        You want them to be very specific in describing the example.

  • What are some of the challenges you have in your business?
        This can be your opportunity to find a way to help them, without selling to them.

  • Where else do you network? What other groups do you go to?
        Follow up with: What do you like about those groups?
        This is great information to find out where you are likely to see them again.

Listen for the Need

If you hear them describe a problem or a need of any kind, think about someone in your personal network whom you trust that you can refer them to. Nothing expedites a relationship faster than helping someone you’ve met by referring them to another person – or sometimes even a book, website, or article – that can help them with the challenge. It is very powerful when you can refer people to other content that helps them succeed and goes a long way toward building a mutually beneficial business relationship. 

Many people out there think they know how to network but are really just doing face-to-face cold calling. YOU can be different.  A great networker is fully engaged, asking questions, and actively listening. They make it about the other person rather than about themselves. Remember: Don’t show off, show interest. 

Specialists Get More Referrals

Specialists Get More Referralsstring(30) "Specialists Get More Referrals"

Your business may perform a variety of services or offer a range of products, however, if you want a referral, your description of what you do should be detailed and focused on a single aspect of your business.

Your referral sources will find it much easier to get you an appointment with a prospect if your sales message addresses the prospect’s specific needs. You’re an office-furniture wholesaler? No help. You specialize in custom-designed, made-to-order desks, shelves, in and file cabinets in large lots? Bingo – you got an appointment.

A Broad Net has Big Holes

I know it seems counterintuitive. The reality is that the more specific your description, the more likely you will receive referrals. People tend to say they do everything because they want to throw as broad a net as possible, catching everyone.

The problem with a really broad net is that it has big holes in it. When you say, “I’m a full-service printer; I do everything,” that doesn’t mean anything to your prospects, or to those who refer you to them. What they’re thinking is, I don’t need a full-service job. All I need is a particular kind of print job.

When you tell a referral partner that you’re a full-service provider, they have to mentally sort out all the people they know and cross tabulate what they do against all the things you do. That doesn’t work; people aren’t computers. It takes too much time and effort.

If you say, “Who do you know who’s a sports enthusiast? Here’s how they can use my product,” then you’re letting your referral source do a simpler kind of mental sorting. The more you can educate people about the different things you do–one at a time–the more likely you’ll get referrals in the long run. Getting referrals in a specific area does not preclude continuing to offer other products or services.

Narrowing Your Focus

When you present yourself as an expert in an area where someone needs expert advice, you become a specialist rather than a generalist. As the specialist, you can more thoroughly articulate what you do and how you do it to your referral sources, allowing them to easily present it to other people.

You may not be convinced that narrowing your focus is a good idea. You may think that if you present yourself as a specialist, you limit your potential referrals and future business; that is, you can’t do business outside your niche. The truth is, whether you’re a true specialist, or a generalist presenting yourself as a specialist in order to facilitate easy referrals, you are not limiting yourself by doing so. People are actually more likely to refer a specialist than a generalist.

Most specialists that do only one or a few kinds of business still offer related products or services. Yes, you’ve narrowed down your business to the things you like to do or do best, or bring you the most profit, but you can do other things, too.

Remember, specialists get more referrals. Eventually your referral partners need to know the full range of your products or services. Right now, they need to know the specific needs you can fill, because that’s what the customer focuses on in any given instance.

Be Self-Aware, Be Selfless, and Then be Selfishstring(47) "Be Self-Aware, Be Selfless, and Then be Selfish"

Let’s face it, networking is about…. you. Yet, that’s the problem. Every day, millions of business seekers go to networking events with one thing in mind: themselves. Don’t feel guilty; it’s totally natural. It’s also counterproductive. While you shouldn’t apologize for being a product of your baser (and selfish) instincts, you need to be aware of them when networking for new business.

Does that mean you are destined to be a self-centered, one-way, “What’s in It for Me” sponge? No! Here is some advice on how to manage it: Be Self-Aware, then Selfless, then Selfish.

Be Self-Aware

Never walk into an event or enter into a business relationship without knowing what you want from it. That is not being cold and impersonal. That is being realistic. Although most people think this way, not all will admit it. It is smart business because you need a plan. This is something you need to know before you begin networking.

You really need to think about, and fully understand, what your specific target market actually is. Does the person you’re speaking to in a meeting represent your target market? Do they have the ability to connect with people who can get you to your target market? Understanding yourself and your business, and what you want out of your networking efforts, is critical to being self-aware.

Be Selfless

This is what most of us were taught while growing up. Now that you’ve determined what it will take to grow your business, it’s time to motivate your potential referral sources to think of you when they hear of someone with a need for your products and services. The only way this will happen is if you are genuinely interested in the people you talk to and interact with.

Have you ever had a conversation with someone who hung on every word you said while making spectacular eye contact? Then every time you met them later, they did it again. Have you met someone like that? You can be like that, too. Strive to be more interested than interesting as you build business relationships.

Be Selfish

Some people are probably anxious for a couple of reasons. Some people are anxious about time. “I am networking, I want to get business.” Others may feel, “Givers gain. It’s not about being selfish.” A little bit of constructive selfishness is good.

Have you ever given a lot of business to someone and received nothing in return? If you know what you want from that relationship and you have invested social capital into it – you’ve helped them, supported them, been there for them, then examine the reasons why that person is not reciprocating. Perhaps you haven’t taken the time to properly educate them. Do they understand what kind of referrals you would like, of what quality, how many, and how you want to be introduced? Your referral partner may want to help you and they need to know how. So, arrange a time to meet with them and provide them with the information they need to start sending business your way.

There is a rhythm to the relationship process. Ask yourself the question, “Does my business rely on referrals?” If the answer is “yes,” then understand that referrals come from people. Referral marketing, unlike any other form of lead generation, is 100 percent reliant on other people to be successful. So why put forth the effort?  The answer lies in a survey conducted by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce several years ago. Nationwide, business owners responded that while they closed only 2 percent of cold calls, 75 to 85 percent of referrals resulted in closed business. That makes referrals worth pursuing, worth having a system to go after them, and worth learning how to motivate people to give them to you.

Cultivating referrals takes time, patience, and a commitment to the process.  Are you willing to make that investment in your business relationships? Be Self-Aware – what do you want to get out of your networking efforts? Be Selfless – how do you help others? Be Selfish – it is okay to think about yourself as you are investing in others. It is okay to ask for help to make your networking efforts worthwhile.

MISNER AUDIO PROGRAMSstring(21) "MISNER AUDIO PROGRAMS"

For a limited time, ALL of the Misner Audio Programs, including the entire package, are 50% off the regular price with the special code IVAN50.

The MISNER AUDIO PROGRAMS help you learn the essential skills of networking, whether you are a seasoned BNI Member, or a professional who wants to grow your business.

These audios cover a wide variety of topics that can help you refresh and re-energize; get a new perception – be exposed to or reminded of new skills, ideas, and techniques. Did you know that retention is much higher in audio learning than video? These audio programs give you the best of both worlds, convenience, and effectiveness.

New to Business Networking?

If you are just getting started, “How to Build Your Business Through Networking & Word of Mouth” is for you. I believe word of mouth is a basic skill for success in any life. I first introduced this concept to the world through BNI. Now, 36 years later it is still fundamental for building strong interpersonal relationships that are the baseline of successful referrals. Seasoned entrepreneurs and even new graduates appreciate this program and consider it essential listening.

In “Truth or Delusion: Busting the Biggest Myths in Networking”, I talk about my favorite networking myths from my book by the same name. Is your business operating on information that is outdated? Find out this and more as I expand on some of the principles and give new insight to create business success.

For All Business Professionals

“Masters of Success” will help you reach your goals. Whatever your age or stage of life, this audio has important lessons for everyone. It is based on my #1 best-selling book and shares the five themes all successful people have, along with the skills they practice to stay successful.

Entrepreneurs are the everyday leaders who change the way the world does business. Learn what they don’t teach you in college in “Entrepreneurs: Everyday Leaders”. I share what worked for me, along with what didn’t work and why, to help you save years from having to learn this on your own.

Especially for BNI Members

Although each of these audio recordings has helpful information that all businesspeople will find beneficial, they are specifically created to enhance BNI Members’ experience.

In “BNI Networking Secrets” you will understand the impact of the time confidence curve for your business. Learn the difference between networking and selling, find out about the VCP Process®and how to apply it to increase your success, and much more. Get 25+ years of networking experience in less than 3 hours.

When you listen to “The BNI Visitor Experience”, you’ll hear how to apply the VCP Process with chapter visitors so at the end of the BNI meeting they say, “I can’t wait to be part of that!” Learn the specific things you and your chapter can do to make sure every visitor has a great experience EVERY time.

Your Leadership Team can master the effective leadership strategies that are needed to build high-performing BNI Chapters with the information I share in “The Secret to Great Leadership Teams”. Get clarity on what each leadership role is designed to do and identify old habits that may keep your chapter from moving to the next level.

Enjoy a Discount and Benefit the BNI Foundation

For a limited time, ALL of the Misner Audio Programs, including the entire package, are 50% off the regular price with the special code IVAN50. Additionally, I am donating all of the proceeds to the BNI Foundation. You can continue the BNI Core Value of Lifelong Learning with your purchase of these audio programs AND know that you are helping the BNI Foundation’s mission to meet children’s education needs. It’s a WIN-WIN!

Whether you are a current BNI Member and want to brush up on the fundamentals and maximize your experience, or you are a professional thinking about adding networking as an additional aspect of business development, this collection of valuable information will take you to the next level.

Visit www.misneraudioprograms.com to see all seven of the audio programs and the specially priced bundles. Remember that you can save 50% on everything on that website for a limited time with the code IVAN50. It is now easier than ever to access instant audio downloads from wherever you are in the world!

What is the best way to connect with your network

What is the best way to connect with your network?string(50) "What is the best way to connect with your network?"

Their way. To build a powerful professional network it is important to connect and engage with them via the communication platforms that they use. This is particularly important if you need to develop a relationship with someone and want to get to know them professionally.

You have to go where they are, not where you are.

I learned that lesson after my children moved out on their own. My eldest would not respond to emails; she would not even answer the phone when I called her. I discovered, however, that when I texted her, she responded immediately. Rather than try to get her to move over to my preferred platform – email, I realized I could keep a good line of communication open with her by text.

My second daughter wouldn’t use email and didn’t use the phone to talk or text. She communicated by What’s App, which I had never heard of. However, I got the app and found a great way to communicate with her, usually with an immediate reply.

My son didn’t use email, or the phone for talk, text, or What’s App. How was I going to connect with him? I realized that he was a big online gamer on the platform called Steam, which had an instant messaging feature. I downloaded Steam and purchased a game so that I could instant message my son. It worked! If I saw him online and messaged him, I would get an instantaneous response.

I realized if I wanted to communicate with my children, I needed to use their preferred platforms, not mine.

A Lesson in Networking

This has taught me a lesson in networking. To stay connected to the people I meet, I need to go where they are, not stay where I am. That’s another lesson in networking: it’s not about me. It is about them. This applies to face-to-face networking as well as online opportunities. If building a powerful network is important to you, you have to go where your connections are. Don’t expect them to always come to you.

When we are growing our business and trying to increase our sales, we want to build relationships. As I have always said, networking is more about farming than hunting. We need to be in their territory, not our territory; we have to go where they are. That is where we will have the opportunity to do business.

How to find THEIR way

When you meet someone and plan to contact them again, ask them, “What is the best way to reach you?” or, “How would you like me to send that information to you?” Their answer will tell you their preference for future communications.

I recommend that you put their response into their contact information. Something as simple as “Prefers email” or “Prefers to be called” will help you to connect with them in their preferred way.

Staying connected to your network is important to grow business relationships. My children taught me that connecting with people in the way that THEY like to communicate is the best way to strengthen those relationships.

Personal Messagestring(16) "Personal Message"

Back in 2012 I was diagnosed with prostate cancer. At that point, I was told I should get surgery, radiation, or chemotherapy. I chose to go a holistic route. It has now been over nine years and I have not had to get surgery, radiation, or chemotherapy.

A few years ago, certain markers increased and I went to a specialized holistic treatment center for care from a medical doctor. Last week, the markers for my health condition changed again and so next week I am returning to that medical center. I feel good and I expect the same kind of results I had before. I will be going through at least two weeks of treatments. My social media team will continue to post my writings, but I will not be able to respond to any specific requests.

I’ll be back online again soon.

Thanks.
Ivan

Laser-Sharp Networking

Laser-Sharp Networkingstring(22) "Laser-Sharp Networking"

Did you know that the energy put out by a normal light bulb is equal to the energy put out by a laser beam? A laser has a very tight beam and is very strong and concentrated. A light bulb, on the other hand, releases light in many directions, so the light is comparably weak and diffuse. The difference between the two allows the laser, with focused energy, to have the power to do very fine and delicate surgery, artistic etching, and play the broad, full sounds of an orchestral overture. Is that the kind of precision you want from your networking activities?

3 Ways to Achieve Laser-Sharp Focus

Here are three ways to bring your networking efforts into laser-sharp focus to make it an even more powerful way to build your business.

Focus on one aspect of your business each time you speak at a networking meeting.

Remember, your goal in the networking process should be to train a sales force, not close a sale. Therefore, each time you have an opportunity, focus on a specific product or service you offer, then educate people how to refer you in this area.

We often try to cover everything we do in one introduction. When you have the chance to be in front of the same group regularly, avoid the mistake most people make by painting with too broad a brush. Laser-sharp networking calls for you to be very specific and detailed about one thing at a time.

Sometimes businesspeople say they have a “full service” business. I think saying this alone is a mistake–full service doesn’t really mean anything to people who don’t understand the details of all the services you offer. Instead, talk about what you specialize in or what you are best known for. There is something that sets you apart from the competition–let others know about that aspect of your business.

When asking for referrals from your networking partners, be very specific about what you want.

Identify specific people to whom you wish to be introduced. Personal introductions can open doors for you that would have otherwise remained closed. If you don’t know the name of the manager of a particular business you wish to meet, find out–then ask specifically for a referral to that person.

Give vivid examples of the type of referral you wish to receive. I recommend reviewing a case study from a current client or past successful referral with your networking partners. Define what the needs were of that prospect and how your business met those needs. Be as detailed as you can be so your networking partners can really visualize the experience. They will have a clear picture of how you were able to meet this person’s needs. This will give them clarity and focus when they’re away from you and they meet another person with the same needs.

Meet with each person in your networking circle.

Take the time to have a one-to-one meeting with each person in your networking group, away from the general networking session. This will help to deepen the relationship and dial up the focus of your networking efforts.

I can’t stress enough the importance of deepening the relationships with your networking partners. To really maximize the energy of the partnership you are forging with your referral sources, it is critical to spend time with them. Just going to a social function or sitting side by side at a conference or networking event isn’t enough. You have to be face to face, talking and exploring commonalities and complimentary aspects of each of your businesses, to be as powerful a referral source for each other as you can be.

It’s important to take your time to get to know your referral sources and cultivate long-lasting and mutually profitable relationships. It’s true that “time is money,” however it is essential to invest your time in one-to-one relationships to develop the strong and deeply focused referral sources you need to grow your business. By focusing your efforts like a laser beam, you can fine-tune your networking message and increase your results.

Dear 2021string(9) "Dear 2021"

Dear 2021

I ended the year of 2020 with a humorous graphic on my social media that said:

“I don’t want any trouble from you. Just come in, sit in the corner, don’t touch anything, and keep your mouth shut”.

2021 is now half over. We are moving from ‘The Great Pause’ to ‘The Great Acceleration’.

What are your takeaways from the first half of 2021?  What was something positive that you learned so far?  Give some thought to this question and write down your observations.  I believe that this type of reflection will help us all to recognize the good that took place during a tough year. #2021

BNI Founder’s Day

The First Annual BNI Founder’s Daystring(36) "The First Annual BNI Founder’s Day"

In April of 2021, I announced an idea that I have been contemplating for some time: a special day of one-to-one meetings with BNI Members from around the world. More than 170 requests were received, and sixteen Members were selected to meet with me to ask any business and networking questions they had.

Last week on June 24th we had the first BNI Founder’s Day, an enjoyable and fun day of exclusive meetings with amazing BNI Members that I was honored to meet. It has been quite a while since I was able to have 1-2-1 meetings with Members and I found the questions and conversations to be very refreshing.

I want to say Thank You to the following BNI Members for their contributions in helping to establish this new tradition.

Elbert Or, Philippines
Chandana Bandara, Sri Lanka
Mahadevan R, India
Praveen Samuel, India
Soaham Panse, India
Jayant Agarwal, India
Michel Smeets, Belgium
Piotr Muszynski, Spain
Faye Goodwin, South Africa
Ilaria Salonna, Italy
Marjanne Deelen, Netherlands
David Whitehouse, UK
Ryan Sarkkinen, USA
Phyllis Whetsel, USA
Libby Bigolin, USA
Ingrid Misner, Canada

I invite everyone to join me in having a day filled with your own 1-2-1s next year when the second annual BNI Founder’s Day is held on the last Thursday in June.

BNI Founder’s Day

2021 BNI Founder’s Daystring(24) "2021 BNI Founder’s Day"

Welcome to the 2021 BNI Founder’s Day. Later this week, I start a new tradition at BNI. I selected 17 BNI members from around the world for a one-to-one meeting with me on June 24th. These seventeen BNI members represent eleven different countries. I am looking forward to these 17 individual one-to-one meetings.

The 2021 BNI Founder’s Day

It is going to be an amazing BNI Founder’s Day as I have one-to-one meetings with our BNI members. Furthermore, I am anticipating great questions from the BNI members during our one-to-one meetings on Thursday. The purpose is for BNI members to ask any business or networking-related questions during their meeting with me. Congratulations to those who were selected for a one-to-one meeting on June 24th.

187 requests were submitted from my April 15th blog. Thanks to the more than 170 additional BNI Members who also submitted request forms.  I wish I had the time to have a one-to-one meeting with all of you. Founder’s Day will become an annual event on the third Thursday of June every year. I recommend that you reapply again next year.  Founder’s Day will be the last Thursday in June each year.  Therefore, I will be planning to schedule another day full of individual one-to-one meetings with BNI members from around the world. The 2022 BNI Founder’s Day will be on June 30th, 2022. Look for the announcements in mid-April 2022 and submit your request form to my assistant by mid-May.

Celebrate Founder’s Day by Scheduling One-to-One Meetings this year on June 24th 

I invite all my followers to help me celebrate BNI Founder’s Day 2021 globally by scheduling several on June 24th too.

Your one-to-one meetings should be both structured and social. The more you can find overlapping areas of professional and personal interest, the more successful your one-to-one meetings are going to be. The Gains Exchange form (Available on BNI Business Builder for BNI members) is an effective tool for discovering these common interests. There is a direct linear correlation between the number of one-to-one meetings conducted and the number of referrals. Those who do three or more one-to-one meetings per month give and receive twice as many referrals as those who do one or fewer one-to-one meetings in a month. More One-to-Ones equal more referrals.

BNI Founder’s Day, on June 24, 2021, is an excellent opportunity. Schedule your own one-to-one meetings with your fellow chapter members or even BNI members from around the world. Reach out and invite other business owners and professionals to have a conversation with you to learn more about their business. Share your G.A.I.N.S. profile and ask some questions. It can be a great way to build and strengthen your business relationships.

BNI Master Connector

BNI Master Connector YouTube Livestream Eventstring(45) "BNI Master Connector YouTube Livestream Event"

It was very exciting to be a panelist during The BNI “Master Connector” YouTube Livestream Event on Tuesday, May 18th, on the BNI TV YouTube channel. If you missed the event and want to watch it, click here.

Thank you to all attendees who sent me their messages. The comments from this third global event were just as positive as our first event: Growing Forward Together, and just as informative as our second event: Restart the World. Thank you to each of the BNI members, directors, and visitors who joined us during this worldwide event.

About The BNI “Master Connector” YouTube Livestream Event

I want to thank BNI Chairman and CEO, Graham Weihmiller, for hosting an engaging panel discussion about becoming a Master Connector. I also want to personally thank the other two panelists for participating in the discussion: BNI Uganda National Director, Diana Ninsiima Kabuuka and the President of Membership Services Inc., Robert Skrob.

The event was open to businesspeople and entrepreneurs worldwide to help them build their business in 2021. During the panel discussion, I shared my vision for the future as well as my insights for business growth and personal success. We discussed how BNI and its 279,000 members are teaching businesses worldwide to foster global business recovery. Building strong relationships and empowered networks will lead to professional referrals and business growth. We shared ideas on how entrepreneurs can effectively build strong business relationships that can restart and ramp up their businesses.

Become a Master Connector

Master Connector is a BNI global initiative to help businesses and people connect. We hope that the tips we shared will help your business navigate through challenging times. Ultimately, we can build our relationships to create empowered networks and give referrals to others. Different people, different places, different countries, different faces, different cultures; we all speak the language of referrals, as we become Master Connectors.

If you are not a current BNI member, we invite you to visit a local BNI chapter and begin the process of building meaningful relationships with the other professionals at the meeting. If you are looking to grow your business, we can help and support your business in the essence of Givers Gain®. To receive an invitation to a BNI chapter in your area, simply click here.

During the livestream event, my fellow panelists and I featured the benefits of becoming a Master Connector and helped attendees understand that the person who builds trust by giving referrals and bringing visitors to their BNI chapter, is the person that experiences the greatest growth. Everyone learned how they can become a Master Connector by building strong relationships, giving referrals, and putting the “Connector Effect” to work in business and in life.

“The Connector Effect”

Viewers learned about the Amazon best-selling book, “The Connector Effect”, which I co-wrote with Graham Weihmiller and Robert Skrob. In this book we describe how using “The Connector Effect” can make business more lucrative, rewarding, and fun.  This book supports the broader business community with tips on how to become a Master Connector.  Use this link to download your own Kindle version of the book.

Connect at BNI Global Convention 2021 – Master Connection

Learn more about the content available to Connect. Master. Grow. by attending BNI Global Convention October 6-9, 2021. BNI is excited to offer two ways to participate, either in-person in Miami, Florida or virtually.

  • Connect to Master Connectors near and far through easy-to-use technology.
  • Master skills from industry leaders with a flexible schedule to meet your needs.
  • Grow through the Master Connections you are creating with the other attendees.

Tickets for the BNI Global Convention 2021 are now available. Click here to register.

Thanks to the BNI Marketing Team for the planning, marketing, and execution of another amazing livestream event. I also want to personally thank the BNI Chairman and CEO, Graham Weihmiller, for his inspirational vision for the future. BNI brings so many people together and connects them with each other for such a productive purpose.  With BNI you can become a Master Connector too.

 

introvert

I am an Introvertstring(17) "I am an Introvert"

Back in 2009, Elisabeth and I were sitting around the kitchen table talking when I made a comment about being an extrovert. She looked over at me and said, “Uhh, honey, I hate to break it to you, but you’re an introvert”. I smiled and said, “Yeah, sure, I am an extrovert”.  She then looked at me quite earnestly and said, “No, really you’re an introvert”. But, I am a public speaker and founder of the world’s largest networking organization.

I cannot be an introvert

Elisabeth insisted that I was an introvert. She proceeded to share with me all the ways that I have introverted tendencies.  All the examples she gave were true, but I still couldn’t believe I am an introvert.  On the other hand, we were married for over 20 years at that time. She knew me pretty well. Therefore, I found an online test to see where I was on the introvert-extrovert spectrum.  The test said that I am an “introvert / situational extrovert”I was something of a loner who was reserved around strangers but very outgoing in the right context.

This revelation gave me the insight to improve how we network at BNI

  1. As an introvert, I am naturally uncomfortable meeting new people when networking. However, BNI uses a structured meeting agenda that enables our members to meet new people comfortably either online or in-person. Therefore, I feel more comfortable when meeting new people at a BNI meeting.
  2. As an introvert, I am naturally uncomfortable introducing myself at networking events.  However, I ask the local or national BNI Director to assign a liaison when I visit BNI events.  This person walks with me at the event and introduces me to as many people as possible.
  3. As an introvert, I am naturally uncomfortable circulating the room at networking events. However, I realized that volunteering to be one of my BNI chapter’s visitor hosts allowed me to circulate more comfortably during the meeting.  This led to the concept I used many times of “acting like the host, not the guest“. I recommend that article to all my fellow introverts out there who are also uncomfortable networking.

Whether you are an introvert or an extrovert, you can be good at networking.  Both have strengths and weaknesses. If you can find ways to enhance your strengths and minimize your weaknesses, anyone can be a great networker.

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