Networking Archives - Page 2 of 63 - Dr. Ivan Misner®
Master the Art of Networking

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.

Social Capital

Build Social Capital by Networking

Social capital, otherwise known as the value behind your social contacts, can be an extremely important resource in both business and life.  If you take as much care in raising and investing your social capital as you do your financial capital, you will experience benefits that can greatly enrich your life as well as multiply your material returns many times over. Investing in your networking is one of the best investments you can make to secure future success for yourself and others with whom you network. Below, I share my 4 step process to build your social capital, the international currency of networking.

Social Capital

This is acquired through networking because successful networking is all about building and maintaining solid, professional relationships. The trouble is we don’t have the natural community-like business relationships that existed before. Many business owners hardly know their neighbors, let alone the local businesspeople in town. Therefore, networking is critical to an individual’s success in business.

Effectively developing your networking can be a daunting task. However, doing so within a structured, organized networking framework will leverage your efforts. You begin building your capital to positively impact your bottom line.

Here are some keys to creating social capital

  • Give your clients a personal call
  • Call all the people who have referred business to you
  • List 50 people to stay in touch with
  • Follow up with everyone

As you invest your time in developing your networking, you are increasing your bottom line. Strive to make the most effective use of this investment. Do everything possible to thoroughly enhance the relationships you develop in the coming year because social capital leads to improved financial capital.

Watch the video and then take a minute to leave a comment below. I would love to hear your story about how investing in your social capital significantly paid off for you.

Public Speaking

Conquer Your Fear of Public Speaking

People have ranked the fear of public speaking higher than the fear of dying. They would rather be in the coffin than giving the eulogy at a funeral.   Standing and talking to an audience can be frightening, especially if it is for more than a couple of minutes. As a business owner, you may find yourself giving a sixty-second weekly presentation at a networking meeting, a ten-minute presentation at a chamber function, or a forty-minute educational presentation to a prospect. Take a deep breath, you can do it.

Five Tips to Conquer Your Fear of Public Speaking:

1) Prepare, prepare, prepare.

Do not wing it!  Prepare an outline of what you want to say and practice it.  Print out your remarks in a very large font. It will be easier to read with or without your glasses.  Plus, this will help you to not lose your place in your presentation.

2) Be specific and talk about the things you know best.

Do not try to teach everything you do.  Instead, focus on sharing with the audience something of significance.  Focus on just one or two areas of your business, the topics you feel you understand the best. This will increase your comfort level and reduce stress.

3)  Use visuals or PowerPoint slides to support your presentation. 

If you are worried about stage fright, these can help you stay focused and add to your presentation. You will be less fearful when the audience is looking at something besides you.  Avoid reading from your PowerPoint slides.  Create slides with photos and graphics that tell your story without text. PowerPoint should support your presentation, not be your presentation.

4) Remember, you are the expert. 

In the eyes of the audience, you are the expert and they want to hear what you have to say.  They want to learn something from you.  If you focus on what you know best, you will feel more confident and be more credible.  Believe in yourself and in your message.

5)  Be creative. 

Find a way to communicate that makes you comfortable.  Don’t be afraid to be different.  Surprise your audience.  Walk around the stage or up into the seats.  People get tired of the same old approach and are invigorated by something unexpected.  Have fun with your message; it will help you turn your nervous energy into positive energy.  The audience will feel it and before you know it, your fear of public speaking is gone.

You should do a presentation that you feel comfortable with. Think creatively about what you know and what you feel comfortable doing to express that knowledge. You will become better and better at public speaking. You will discover that opportunities will develop to speak publically in larger audiences over time. Take a breath. It is good to be a little nervous.  Just convert that into positive energy, and you will have the audience in the palm of your hand.

Business Networking Diversity

Business Networking Diversity

I believe that it is important to build a diverse network of professional contacts that include people with different interests and backgrounds.  The only thing that they should have in common with you is that they should be really good at what they do.  Create a personal network like that, and you’ll have a network that can help you succeed at anything.

It is human nature to build friendships with people that are like us.  The problem with surrounding ourselves with similar people is that they also tend to have similar contacts and know the same people as us.  When networking, it may be difficult to make connections with new people or companies with whom we desire to do business. In running a large business networking organization for over the past three decades, I often speak to people who tell me they want to network exclusively business professionals who have similar clients.  Although it is good to include these people in your personal network, networking with them exclusively would be a tremendous mistake. When it comes to business networking diversity, you never know who people know.  One of the important keys to being successful at building a powerful personal network is diversity.

A diverse personal network enables you to increase the possibility of including connectors or “linchpins” in your network.  Linchpins are people who in some way cross over between two or more clusters or groups of individuals; this allows them to link groups of people together easily.  The best way to increase the number of possible connections in your network is to develop a diverse network. The strongest networking groups I have seen over the years are generally the groups that are diverse.  I believe that one of the problems in understanding this concept is a somewhat built-in bias that many people have about networking with individuals that are outside their normal frame of reference.  Let me share a story:

An incredible voice, an incredible connection from networking diversity.

Patti, a BNI Director, arrived a little early to a BNI meeting that met in a private meeting room and noticed an older gentleman setting up coffee mugs in preparation for the meeting.  She struck up a conversation with the man while waiting for the BNI members to arrive.  In talking to him, she was really taken by the amazing tenor of his voice.  She mentioned to him that he had an incredible voice and asked what he did before this.  The gentleman informed her that he used to be a commentator for CNN!  He went on to share with Patti that in his later years, he wanted to work in a less hectic job as well as live closer to his daughter.  He decided to take on the job of managing these private meeting rooms because it gave him an opportunity to be close to his family while having a less hectic career later in life.

Later during the meeting, one of the BNI members, Don, mentioned in his featured presentation that his goal is to host a radio talk show someday. He was looking for some contacts that could help him pursue this dream.  After the meeting, Patti asked Don… “Do you see that guy over there (pointing to the ex-CNN commentator)?  Have you seen him before?”  “Yea,” said Don, “he’s the guy who sets up the coffee for our meeting.”  Patti said to Don, “Did you know that he used to be a broadcaster for CNN?”  Don said, “I had no idea!!!”  Patti suggested that Don introduce himself. Don had seen the man on many occasions but had not struck up a conversation with him because he felt that they had little, if anything, in common.  The truth is when it comes to networking – not having a lot in common with someone may mean that they can be a connector for you to a whole world of people that you might not otherwise be able to meet. This resulted in creating an incredible connection for Don in the broadcasting industry. Don now hosts a local radio talk show.

Diversity in your network is the smart thing and the right thing to do.

G.A.I.N.S. Exchange

The G.A.I.N.S. Exchange Approach to Networking

If you want to be successful in generating referrals, it is crucial to find out as much as you can about the members of your network. And there are five critical things that you must know if you truly want to be a productive networker. These five things are not mysterious secrets; they are facts we are exposed to every day but often pay little attention to because we are not aware of the benefits we can gain by sharing what I call the G.A.I.N.S. Exchange approach to networking. If you know the categories of the G.A.I.N.S. Exchange and use them effectively, you can strengthen your relationships, build a strong business, and live a better life. Of course, the exchange is a two-way street: Not only should you know these things about others, but you should also share the same type of information about yourself with them.

  • Goals
  • Accomplishments
  • Interests
  • Networks
  • Skills

Goals

Goals are the financial, educational, and personal business objectives you want to achieve for yourself and for the people who are important to you. You need to clearly and specifically define your own goals and have a clear picture of the goals of others. 

Accomplishments

Accomplishments tell you more about a person because people like to talk about the things they are proud of. Therefore, engage others in casual conversations to encourage them to talk about their accomplishments. Sharing your accomplishments with them may lead to mutual interests or connections that can be mutually beneficial.  

Interests

The things you enjoy doing can help you connect with others because people are more willing to spend time with those who share their interests. Knowing other people’s interests makes it easier for you to help them in some way. Let them know your interests as well. If you and your contact share many of the same interests, it will strengthen your relationship. 

Networks

Most people have a broad network of individuals they associate with for either business or personal reasons.  The question is, how well you know them? The people you know are connected, directly and indirectly, with people you don’t know. Each of us has sources in abundance that we do not effectively cultivate.

Skills

The more you know about the talents of the people in your network, the better equipped you are to refer to them when someone you know is looking for someone with that skill. Therefore, identify the special skills you have and share your skills with others to help business relationships grow as well.

The best way to develop a strong relationship with others is by helping them to achieve something important to them. Some of your best insight into others comes from knowing what goals they have, what they have already accomplished, and what they are passionate about. Their passions are their most important interests because they are something they love to do and could do all day long. If you can tap the resources represented by their network of contacts, you can significantly improve your overall networking. The more they know about your skills, the faster your name will come to mind when an opportunity arises in which your own networking might play a part.

More Business Through Networking

Want More Business Through Networking?

In this classic video, I explain a proven way to get more business through networking.  I also discuss the results from a survey I conducted.

Everyone wants to be successful in or at something in their life. Success is determined largely by hard work, but also by good choices. Everyone feels like they deserve better at some point. Get over it. The most successful people plan their work and work their plan. They put serious effort into making good choices and carrying them through. Therefore, if you spend more time doing one thing, you will get more business through networking.

The Secret to Getting More Business through Networking

I’ve been asked time and time again by people all over the world what I consider to be the secret to getting more business.  I can, without a doubt, say that there is, indeed, one thing you can do to get more business from your networking efforts.  However, do you know what it is?  The answer may surprise you . . .

Watch the video and then take a minute to leave a comment if you have the time . . . I’d love to hear what some of your guesses were in regard to what the “secret” to getting more business through networking was going to be.  Chances are, some of the guesses you came up with are pretty good networking tactics as well and it would be great to get a conversation going about them!

NETWORKS AREN’T FLAT: The Seven Stages of Professional Relationships by Andy Lopata

Today’s guest blog is an extract from Andy Lopata’s book, “Connected Leadership”, about the seven stages of professional relationships.

When we picture a network it’s easy to visualize a flat entity, a single structure comprising all of the people we know. Much network theory focuses on the number of people in the average network, with classic studies such as Girard’s Law of 250(1) and the Dunbar Number(2) often quoted.

In my opinion, both of these studies are flawed. They are flawed in their interpretation: The Dunbar Number was never intended as an indication of the average network size. They are outdated: they were both developed in the last century, well before social media dominated our lives and networks. And flawed in the basic premise: Girard’s Law is based on the observation that the average number of guests at a wedding or funeral is 500. I went to a funeral recently that was described as ‘busy’ and I can promise you that nowhere near 500 people attended.

The way both studies have been used in network theory is the biggest flaw. We have been told that ‘the average network size is 250’ (based on Girard’s Law). Other objections aside, this oversimplifies the nature of a network.

Rather than being a flat structure or simple grouping of contacts, networks are more complicated organisms with people flowing in and out and between various levels. I tend to visualize a network as seven levels of a professional relationship with a group of expanding circles, much like the side section of half an onion.

The Seven Stages of Professional Relationships

Within that network, there are seven levels of a professional relationship:

  1. Recognize
  2. Know
  3. Like
  4. Trust
  5. Support
  6. Advocate
  7. Friend (moving into your personal network) 

 

Towards the center of the network are people you have a lot of time for and want to support. That feeling is likely to be reciprocal and you’d be available whenever the other party needs and, at stages six and seven, actively looking out for each other.

This is what we’d call your trusted network, people you are likely to see day in day out, week in and week out (although absence doesn’t necessarily exclude people from your trusted network).

As you move further out through the layers, the relationship becomes a little less trusted, not as deep. You might see each other less frequently, be less inclined to share openly with each other, or ask for help.

At the outer edges of your network are people who come in and out. If we meet at an event or dinner party I’ll be in your network for a few days. By that, I mean that if we bump into each other or I call you, you will remember me and know who I am. But that link is tenuous. After a few days or weeks, we will probably be strangers again.

Compare this to someone in the center of your network. You could probably go three years or more without speaking to each other but still, pick up where you left off as if no time had passed.

People on the outskirts of your network will come in and out. If you want to embed people in your network, your first challenge is to get beyond that outer circle and into their long-term memory.

 

Andy Lopata‘s book, “Connected Leadership” can be bought from amazon.com at a promotional price of $0.99 TODAY. As Ivan’s readership is global, this page lists the book on all of Amazon domains. 

Staying in Touch With Your Clients

Staying in Touch With Your Clients

Your business thrives by networking. Staying in touch is an important part of the networking process. Networking is much more than making contact with others and getting new business from them. The golden rule of networking is staying in touch with your clients. You strengthen your business relationships by fostering solid relationships with clients.

During “The Great Pause of 2020”, we started working from home. We created a plan to get through this situation with our businesses. Because we could not go to our usual places to network face-to-face with others, we took action and learned how to network online to stay in touch with people. Now, we need to plan on what we are going to do when society returns to the “new normal”. We need to get back in touch with those people that you have not seen or spoken with recently by focusing on strengthening these business relationships.

Here are six ways for staying in touch with your clients and strengthening your business relationships:

Spread out your phone calls.

Regular contact is important right now regardless of the type of relationship with your clients. Two short phone calls are more beneficial than one long call. Each phone call becomes an opportunity to strengthen the relationship and to enhance your credibility.

Schedule the phone calls predictably.

Stay in contact with your clients. Train them to expect to hear from you at certain times. If you usually contact certain customers during the first week of every quarter, they will come to expect it and will budget time for you.

One phone call leads to the next phone call.

Before concluding your telephone conversation, schedule the date of your next phone call. With this commitment, you are more likely to follow through. This practice establishes a chain of contacts, with each phone call leading to the next.

Assume responsibility for your phone calls.

Take the initiative and stay in touch with your customers. When clients do not feel cared for, they are more likely to leave. You are more likely to head off potential problems by staying in touch with them by picking up the telephone and calling them these days.

Invite them to your online networking events.

One way of making sure to stay in contact with your customers is to invite them to join you at your online networking events. This is a great way to introduce your customers to other people.

Stick to your plan for staying in touch with your clients

Occasionally your clients will telephone you. Do not let this interfere with your contact schedule. Do not count it as one of your prescheduled phone calls when they initiate the phone call.

People need their network, now more than ever. Maintain a powerful personal network by telephoning your clients and adopting these tips right now. You will have a stronger business tomorrow because of the actions you take today by staying in touch with your clients.

new normal

How to Network in the New Normal

With so many businesses and entrepreneurs quickly transitioning from face-to-face interactions to digital, networking has completely changed. Instead of meeting people at in-person events or venues, entrepreneurs are now needing to adapt to digital networking. You can continue to grow your social circle despite the current climate when you learn how to network in the new normal. You and your business can continue to network effectively in the new normal by adapting to digital networking

Please enjoy watching this pre-recorded video when I was taking on questions from the Entrepreneur.com audience to clear the air on a few important topics.

As businesses and entrepreneurs quickly transition from face-to-face interactions to digital, the way we network has completely changed. Instead of meeting people at in-person events or venues, entrepreneurs are now needing to adapt to digital networking.

waste of time

Is Your Networking a Waste of Time?

Do you suffer from “butterfly-itis” at the very mention of networking at business functions? If you answered yes, you are not alone. Many entrepreneurs get a bit uncomfortable when it comes right down to walking up to someone and starting a conversation. Many others are concerned about getting effective results from the time they spend networking. Leave out any of these strategies, and your networking is just a waste of time.

My Top Ten Networking Tips:

1. Have the tools to network with you at all times. These include an informative name badge, business cards, brochures about your business, and a pocket-sized business card file containing cards of other professionals to whom you can refer new business.

2. Set a goal for the number of people you’ll meet. Identify a reachable goal based on attendance and the type of group. If you feel inspired, set a goal to meet 15 to 20 people, and make sure you get all their cards. If you don’t feel so hot, shoot for less. In either case, don’t leave until you’ve met your goal.

3. Act like a host, not a guest. A host is expected to do things for others, while a guest sits back and relaxes. Volunteer to help greet people. If you see visitors sitting, introduce yourself, and ask if they would like to meet others. Act as a conduit.

4. Listen and ask questions. Remember that a good networker has two ears and one mouth and uses them proportionately. After you’ve learned what another person does, tell them what you do. Be specific but brief. Don’t assume they know your business.

5. Don’t try to close a deal. These events are not meant to be a vehicle to hit on businesspeople to buy your products or services. Networking is about developing relationships with other professionals. Meeting people at events should be the beginning of that process, not the end of it.

6. Give referrals whenever possible. The best networkers believe in the “givers gain” philosophy (what goes around comes around). If I help you, you’ll help me and we’ll both do better as a result of it. In other words, if you don’t genuinely attempt to help the people you meet, then you are not networking effectively. If you can’t give someone a bona fide referral, try to offer some information that might be of interest to them (such as details about an upcoming event).

7. Exchange business cards. Ask each person you meet for two cards-one to pass on to someone else and one to keep. This sets the stage for networking to happen.

8. Manage your time efficiently. Spend 10 minutes or less with each person you meet, and don’t linger with friends or associates. If your goal is to meet a given number of people, be careful not to spend too much time with any one person. When you meet someone interesting with whom you’d like to speak further, set up an appointment for a later date.

9. Write notes on the backs of business cards you collect. Record anything you think may be useful in remembering each person more clearly. This will come in handy when you follow up on each contact.

10. Follow up! You can obey the previous nine commandments religiously, but if you don’t follow up effectively, you will have wasted your time. Drop a note or give a call to each person you’ve met. Be sure to fulfill any promises you’ve made.

The process doesn’t have to be traumatic, scary, or a waste of time. When done properly, it can truly make a difference in the amount of business your company generates. With the right approach, you can use it to build a wealth of resources and contacts that will help make your business very successful.

net

Networking on the Net

Are you suffering from “networking withdrawal”, missing networking at business functions? If you answered yes, you are not alone. In only a few short weeks, an entire technology, vocabulary, culture, and virtual marketplace have been born. Cyber entrepreneurs, online customers, and a whole new net economy have evolved at a blinding speed.  It is no wonder so many business owners are at a loss about what to do and how to do it when it relates to the Internet and their business. The net is to the world what the printing press was hundreds of years ago. It is to the world what radio and television were only decades ago. The Internet has opened doors and opportunities these days in a way beyond anything that has preceded it.

The Internet is an excellent vehicle for networking via social media and “Zoom Room” communities. These communities allow people to connect online regularly, exchange information and ideas, and get to know one another a little better. Besides, staying in touch via the Internet is our only option these days of working from home during “The Great Pause”. I’ve found the net to be a very powerful mechanism for regularly connecting with people with whom I already have a casual relationship. That’s the key–that the Internet is a great tool for staying in touch with people you’ve already established a connection with. Granted, you may do some business with people that you’ve met on social media. However, for the most part, people do “repetitive” business with people they know and trust.

Learn how to utilize the net as part of your networking strategy.

  • Understand that your business fundamentals might need to quickly adapt to the “new normal”
  • Create a social media business plan for your online marketing
  • Develop your online networking skills
  • Update your company’s look and brand with a new website to reflect what is happening with your business during “The Great Pause”
  • Learn how to network on the internet and stay connected with platforms such as “Zoom”

Those businesses that neglect to consider these issues today will most surely be a casualty of this new technology tomorrow. But more importantly, those businesses that do consider these issues today will be the success stories of tomorrow. When done properly, networking on the net can truly make a difference in the amount of business your company generates. Not only now while we are all working from home, but when we return to our “new normal” at the office after “the Great Pause”. With the right approach, you can use it to build a wealth of resources and contacts that will help make your business very successful now and in the future.

Sure, I’ve seen some business relationships begin, develop, and prosper via the net. However, I have found that most repetitive referral relationships start through personal contact and are maintained via Internet communication. We live in the Internet age, where change seems to take place at light speed. Now, more than ever, you need your network. Work together with them by networking online. If you’re in business today, you need to be on the net.

Handshakes

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.

 

 

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