By knowing why you are networking and what you want to achieve, it is possible to plan accordingly and get great, measurable results. If you have any comments about Andy’s “V” list or any additional “V” words about networking you will want to add to the list. please leave me a comment below.
As a business networking strategist, Andy Lopata works with companies on how to use networking tools to develop their businesses. Networking is not just about sales. Whether for lead generation, breaking down silos internally, recruitment and retention of top staff or developing future leaders, networks and collaboration have a key role to play. Andy works with clients to help recognize that role and put the strategy and skills in place to leverage it.
Over the years I’ve recognized that there are some people who are positive and supportive individuals that I really want to be around. They are solutions focused relating to most problems and are almost always willing to talk through challenges with a positive end in mind. These people are engines. They help me be my best self and they motivate me to drive forward.
I’ve also noticed, as I’m sure you have, that there are some people who complain as though it were an Olympic event (for the record – it’s not!). They tend to be negative, argumentative, and obsessed with problems. I’ve learned not to spend much time with these people because they focus on all the things that are wrong relating to most challenges. If all someone does is focus on problems – they become an expert on problems and not on the solutions. These people are anchors, they hold me back and weigh me down.
Who do you surround yourself with: engines or anchors?
This is an important question for everyone. It’s particularly important if you are trying to build a powerful personal network of people around you. Is your network full of people who are engines helping you go to the next level in your life or your career? Or, are they anchors weighing you down with the plethora of issues, problems, and complaints? Do they hold you back, or do they drive you forward?
The funny thing here is that no-one thinks they’re an anchor. No one! Of course, they’ll tell you that they are an engine – they just do not like the direction you are going and that’s why they come across the way they do. For the record – they’re an anchor – with a motor attached. My advice is to call for “all hands on deck,” cut loose the anchors in your life, partner up with your fellow engines and go full-speed ahead.
This is where your Doorman comes in. Your Doorman is looking for engines, people helping you go to the next level in your life. Your Doorman should forbid entrance to the anchors, people weighing you down with a plethora of issues, problems, and complaints.
This is just a little of the content from my new book, “Who’s in Your Room? The Secret to Creating Your Best Life.” Check out the book here: https://tinyurl.com/WhosInYourRoom.
People often ask me, “how can I get back in touch with people or stay in touch with people that I haven’t seen or spoken with recently?”
If you want to connect or reconnect with others, do what is best for you, but go to where these people want to meet with you. So, here are seven strategies that will help you improve in this area — now. If you can’t do them all — do what works for you.
Don’t be a cave dweller. Please watch this video
1. Sort through your list.
You can’t stay in touch with everyone. Who do you want to make sure to stay connected with and why? It could be personal, it could be professional, but create a list that you want to focus on.
2. Use the system they use.
It doesn’t have to be Facebook or LinkedIn — use Pinterest or other programs, Snapchat, What’s App — whatever they use. Each of my children use different systems. If I want to connect with them — I need to go where they are. For my oldest daughter, it’s texting or a phone call. My second daughter, it’s What’s App or texting. For my son, it’s an online game called Steam. I have some business associates who only reach out to me on Facebook or LinkedIn. Others are strictly emailed. The key here — is to go where the people you want to talk to, hangout.
3. Use social media platforms.
Use social media platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter to your advantage by sharing news and reading updates without having to reach out to people on an individual basis. Social media is fantastic. Instead of starting your next call with, “What’s new?” you can jump to, “You cut off your hair!” “You have a new job!” If you need help with this, contact Brian Bentzen, my social media coordinator.
4. From time to time, use snail mail.
Yes, OMG, send a letter or a card. It’s so “old school” and it’s almost guaranteed that someone will read it.
5. Skype or other instant message systems.
I’m not a big fan but — it’s not about me, it’s about the other person. What are they using? I see many people using messaging systems online? If you want to stay connected, connect where they are.
6. Periodic phone calls.
I know, crazy idea, actually talk to people. Your smartphone has a green button — use it. If appropriate, set up regular calls. My wife and her sister have done that for many years.
7. Face to face.
Don’t be a “cave dweller.” Nothing beats actually meeting someone face to face and having a conversation. You have to eat breakfast and lunch every day, so why not do this a few times a week with a good referral partner? You can kill two birds with one stone by strategizing with your referral partner about how to help each other over a meal.
Benign neglect is a horrible thing when it comes to building social capital. Start today to stay in touch. Pick a few of the techniques I listed above and “touch” someone. You have to start by making a commitment to improving in this area. If you haven’t been good at this in the past, start to focus on improving today. I would love to hear any more that you might have. Do you have a strategy to add? Or an example of how you use one of the seven? Share it in the comments.
Those tendencies standing “in your way” can be “the way”‘ to success and can become your greatest asset. When I was in elementary school, I generally received good reports from my teachers. However, one thing that came up time and time again was a comment by almost all of my teachers: “Ivan talks too much in class.”
My mother had numerous conversations with me about this but to no avail. I figure that she thought my grades were pretty good and she generally liked to pick and choose her battles on issues. Consequently, she didn’t really push the matter, and so… I talked and talked and talked in class. It showed up on many of my report cards. My teachers felt that it was a problem for me in school. On the other hand, my mother didn’t give me much grief on the subject.
My Greatest Asset
My talking too much in class was thought of as a roadblock by my teachers. Candidly, at one point, they almost had me convinced that it was a problem. My mother — not so much. She didn’t see my talking as such a big issue and that gave me the freedom to be myself. True, I had to tone it down a bit — but it wasn’t drummed out of me. I am grateful for that because, despite the fact that some people thought that talking was blocking my way, the truth is — it would eventually become “the way” for my life.
While the teachers definitely felt that it was a roadblock to my learning, I think they may have been wrong on that. What my teachers saw as a problem ended up becoming an incredible asset. I talk a lot. I talk to individuals, small groups, middle size groups, large groups, and massive groups. Any way you cut it — I’m a talker. It is my greatest asset. My job today is to talk to people. In fact, I get paid to talk. I get paid a crazy number to talk to companies, associations, and organizations. I love to share ideas with people, I love to coach people, and most of all I love to inspire people. And to do that — I talk.
I believe the secret is to take the thing that is “in the way” and channel your efforts in a manner that makes that problem part of the solution. I have noticed that my wife, Elisabeth, has been able to channel what was in the way for her as a child and how powerfully that has served her. She was constantly being told that she was “too rebellious.” She had a very hard time doing things she was told she had to do just because an authority figure in life told her she must do them. Now when she was faced with a medical diagnosis and told by her medical doctor that there was only one path, her strong “rebellious” nature found another, more effective and gentle healing path. What was in her way has become her way!
Some of us do this unconsciously. However, imagine how impactful this paradigm could be if we were more conscious of it at work in our lives. I would encourage you to think about something you were told was “in the way” as part of your life? Has it “become the way” for you and your greatest asset? If so, how? For me — of the first things in my life that were in the way was that I talked too much in class. Looking back, I’d have to say it worked out pretty well.
People who say that networking played a role in their success spent an average of 6 1/2 hours a week networking and had half of their clients from their networking time. However, people who did not invest as much time networking also did not report as much reward. So, how much time should you spend networking?
Therefore, spend about 8-10 hours per week networking and do the right things to build the relationships first when networking.
The secret to getting more business through networking is. . . spending more time doing it! OK, well, it’s a little more complicated than that because you have to spend time doing the right things. However, devoting the necessary time is the starting point. So how much networking time (or NetTime) should you spend developing your personal network and what kind of results can you expect to see?
The survey results
Based on a survey that I helped to write and conduct of over 12,000 business professionals from every populated continent in the world, we finally have a definitive answer to those questions. The study found that people who said “networking played a role” in their success spent an average of 6.3 hours a week participating in networking activities. On the other hand, the majority of people who claimed that “networking did NOT play a role” in their success spent only 2 hours or less per week developing their network.
Clearly, those people who spent very little time engaged in the process felt that networking was not an effective way to build their business. As with many other aspects of life, you clearly reap what you sow. It’s no wonder that the people who didn’t invest as much time also did not realize as much reward. This demonstrates the direct correlation between the amount of time you devote to the networking process and the degree of success that you will likely realize from it.
You may be reading this article and thinking – OK, I now know that I need to be spending at least 6 ½ hours a week networking. Well, that’s true IF you want to be average (and what successful business person wants to be average)! If on the other hand, you’d like to be above average – you need to devote more time than that to the cause. The optimum amount of NetTime is more likely to be 8-10 hours a week if you want to be one of those people that are generating well over half their business from referrals.
How much time do you spend networking each week? More? Less? and what percentage of business do you get from your networking efforts? Comment below.
When I was a child, my teachers all had the same complaint: “Ivan talks too much.” What my teachers saw as a problem ended up being an advantage. My job is to talk to people, and I am paid well to “talk too much”. I was able to take what was in the way and turn it around. It now becomes the way.
My teachers felt that it was a problem for me in school. My mother, on the other hand, didn’t give me too much grief on the subject. While the teachers generally thought it was a roadblock to my learning, I think they may have been wrong on that. What my teachers saw as a problem ended up cutting an incredible passion: I love to talk.
The secret here is to take the thing that’s in the way and channel your efforts in a manner that makes that problem part of the solution.
Please watch this video:
In 1985, I had a massive thing in his way. I had lost a client and could hardly manage to pay the mortgage, so I started a referral group to help myself and my friends generate more referrals in a structured way. That group became BNI, bringing success not just to me, but to thousands of business owners around the world.
Successful people know how to focus on a roadblock and turn it into an overpass. I think the secret here for anyone is to take the thing that is in the way and channel your efforts in a way that makes the problem part of the solution. What are your achievements?
This year, The 29% Solution is celebrating its 10 year anniversary. Looking back when Michelle and I shook hands in Long Beach, we began a memorable journey together as co-authors. Therefore, our journey included many, many hours of blending our writing styles, phone calls, and collaboration. Additionally, it included multiple versions of a title and cover design. Furthermore, our journey included changing the publisher mid-stream. Finally, it involved loads of radio interviews, speaking opportunities, and book signings. Most notably, our journey ended with a lasting friendship. Today’s blog is from my co-author, Michelle Donovan.
Happy Anniversary Michelle and a toast to “The 29% Solution”…CHEERS!
Celebrating 10 Years of Friendship and Collaboration in Seven Languages
By Michelle R. Donovan
Growing up in a small town outside of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, I never gave much thought to becoming a Wall Street Journal bestselling author. That is until I met Ivan Misner!
In 2006 I was performing the role of Education Coordinator for my BNI chapter, the Circle of Excellence, in BNI Western Pennsylvania. One week, while preparing for my spotlight, I came up with what I thought was a great idea for a book. I wanted to create a book for business owners that had one networking focal point each week for 52 weeks. I formulated an outline for the book and began to write a few chapters.
Since I had never written a book before, I thought it might be a good idea to share the concept with others to see if they too felt that the idea was a good one. There was one person in particular that I knew needed to see it and that was Deanna Tucci Schmitt, the owner of my BNI region at the time. Once she read the first two chapters, she said, “I think we need to show this to Ivan.”
As a BNI Director, I was scheduled to attend the next BNI Conference in Long Beach, CA with Deanna and some other colleagues. The plan was that Deanna would arrange a one-to-one with Ivan while at the conference to show him the concept. We had hoped that he would give us his blessing and maybe a few tips for a new author.
We met with Ivan around 9:30 pm in his suite. I remember it well because I was quite nervous. I didn’t know what to expect but I knew I would follow Deanna’s lead. Ivan, the icon of BNI, comes around the corner in a t-shirt and sweatpants. Instantly, I felt myself relax. The three of us discussed the concept while Ivan reviewed the outline and first few chapters. He passed it over to his wife, Beth. She gave her nod of approval. Ivan liked it!
What happened next changed my life. Ivan offered me two options 1) He could give me some tips and offer any help with some connections or 2) We could co-author the book and he would make me a bestselling author. Hmmmmm? Which would you choose? You guessed it. We shook hands on a co-authored book deal that would eventually make me and Ivan the Wall Street Journal bestselling authors of The 29% Solution.
Today, The 29% Solution is currently published in seven languages. When I see this book on my shelf in multiple languages, it warms my heart. I am reminded of how much I love to write, the generosity of my friend Ivan Misner and the true power of networking to make even my unimaginable dreams come true. I am grateful to Deanna for bringing Ivan and me together for a book that keeps on giving to its readers.
Happy Anniversary Ivan and a toast to The 29% Solution…CHEERS!
In today’s modern business world, people are working together to crowdsource products, services, or ideas in a team or in an organization creating something together through a joint effort. Therefore, I am asking you to co-create a book with us.
Please watch the video below then take the survey. In addition, feel free to share the survey on your social media pages with as many people as you would like.
I am working on a new book with Frank De Raffele and Dawa Phillips called The Third Paradigm. We are so very close to reaching our goal of 4,000 survey responses and would love to have you as part of the book. All ages welcome. Click on this link to take the 4-minute survey and be part of the book:
As an added bonus, here is the draft opening to the book:
Chapter One: The Three Paradigms
We live in an age of sweeping skepticism. Conflict is pervasive. Balanced discourse is a thing of the past and pundits tell us what’s wrong with society. People complain like it’s an Olympic event, and the marketplace obsesses over the massive problems in the world. Negativity seems to be the norm.
We, however, believe there is hope. There is an answer and it does not rest with the problems. It rests with a focus on solutions. When people focus on problems – they become world-class experts on “the problem.” When they focus on solutions, they become world-class experts on “the solution.” We believe the “solution” lies within The Third Paradigm.
As a reference point, a paradigm is a philosophical framework or discipline within which theories and laws are formulated. We believe we are entering the era of the Third Paradigm. Let us take you on a short journey through the three paradigms before we talk more about the solution.
This is the second classic video in the “Ivanism” Garage to Global series, hosted by Entrepreneur.com. I expand on common phrases I’ve used over the years. How can they apply to your business and referral networking style? Today I discuss the Ivanism, “Working in Your Flame vs Your Wax“
In this classic video, I explain why I equate the phrase ‘working in your flame’ with being in business and loving what you’re doing, and the phrase ‘working in your wax’ with being in business and really not liking or enjoying what you’re doing.
Are you flame or wax happy? That sounds like a bizarre question–but it’s not.
When you’re working in your wax and when you’re working in your flame are two very different things, and can affect you in different ways. If you’re flame happy, you’re excited, motivated and ready to pursue your ambitions. But what happens when are wax happy, and simply complacent with working on things that you aren’t passionate about?
The video below talks about this idea and ways you can make sure you’re always flame happy.
Watch the video now to learn how to take small yet significant steps in your journey toward truly loving what you do for a living! What does working in your flame mean for you? What is it you do in your chosen profession that you truly love? Likewise, what is it you do that causes you to work in your wax and how might you delegate those tasks to another employee who might actually enjoy those same tasks? I’d love to get your feedback on this–thanks!
When is the right time to ask a favor? Building a relationship takes time, and cashing in your relationship capital before it has earned enough interest can be devastating.
The following video is classic rebroadcast of my “Ivanism” Garage to Global series, hosted by Entrepreneur.com, where I expand on catch phrases I have used frequently over the years. Originally published on March 30, 2016.
In this video, I discuss how to identify and prepare for the appropriate time to ask for a favor within the context of a business relationship. Social capital is a key factor when it comes to asking for favors from others.
Most of us have been in a situation where someone has asked for a favor before the social capital to make that kind of request. If you want to amass financial capital, you have to invest and grow your assets. Social capital works the same way. You have to invest before you can withdraw.
Throughout my career, I have had a huge number of folks come to me and ask me to promote something for them. The thing is the majority of those who contacted me had never even met me, had never had a conversation with me. If they did, they met me once and we had the briefest of conversations. They never invested in the relationship and yet they wanted a withdrawal from the relationship.
You may be shocked at the level of personal knowledge required for a deep referral relationship. You may want to argue that referrals should be all about business. I completely disagree. It takes a lot to develop this type of relationship. Those who do will certainly succeed at building a business from referrals.