How many times have we heard people say that it never hurts to ask? Surely more times than we can count.
Well, in this video, I explain why it definitely hurts to ask sometimes–especially if you ask to soon! I share a personal story of a recent time when a stranger contacted me via LinkedIn wanting to connect and accompanied the connection request with a note asking me something which I found inappropriate to the point that I decided right then that I was never even going to consider connecting with her.
Watch the video to hear the story and to find out why I flagged the woman’s LinkedIn request as problematic on three significant levels. Let me just say that this is ‘Networking 101’ and if I were her teacher, she would have gotten a failing grade–this is not the way to network! Whether you frequently participate in face-to-face networking, online networking, or both, you’ll definitely want to hear this story so you never make the three mistakes that this woman did.
I’d really love to hear your feedback on this. What are your thoughts? Also, please share any similar horror stories you may have in the comment forum below–I’m looking forward to hearing from you. Thanks!
Imagine handing your card to someone at a networking event and having it handed back to you with “I don’t need it.” Well, that’s exactly what happened to Juan Vides recently. Juan found this pretty insulting, and he wrote to me to ask how I thought someone should respond in this situation.
First, let me talk about giving and getting business cards.
- A business card is a tacit invitation to make a future connection. How you handle that connection afterward will determine how responsive your new contact will be. So be respectful with what you do after someone gives you their card.
- You should always have plenty of business cards with you. It still amazes me that people go to networking events and knowingly don’t bring cards with them. I recently read a blog where many people said they didn’t bring cards so that they wouldn’t get spammed by people they meet. Really? Have they never heard of a spam filter? I use it regularly with unwanted spam. Besides, that argument is like saying I don’t want to advertise because someone might read the ad and cold call me? What kind of logic is that? Buck-up, dandelion, bring cards. It is a “networking” event!
- The ideal scenario is to have a meaningful (even if brief) conversation with someone where they ask for your business card (how to do that is an entirely different blog). However, that doesn’t always happen. When it doesn’t, it is still ok to offer your business card to someone. There is nothing wrong with that.
Refusing to take someone’s offered card is just plain bad form and it’s probably too late to send them back to Mom for retraining on how to play with the other kids in the sandbox.
So what do you do if this happens to you? Pick the correct choice below:
- Squash a cupcake on their nose and say “take that, you dandelion.”
- Say “Really, you [bad word, bad word] dirty [bad word], I hope I never see you again at one of these events.
- Let’s go outside and finish this (like someone I actually know did at a networking event!)? or
- Realize that some people just have little or no people skills and move on to someone who does.
The correct answer is number four however, for the record, I kind of like number one a lot.
Last week, Facebook closed down my personal account as they claimed that I was “impersonating Ivan Misner.”
While waiting for Facebook to fix this, I began thinking that there just might be an opportunity here to turn “lemons into lemonade.” Turns out there certainly is such an opportunity. Austin Coulson (from Riverside California) came up with a great idea. He suggested we create a social media campaign called: “Hey Facebook, Free Ivan Misner.” We’re hoping this will aid in helping to wrestle back the social media pages that are linked to my account AND serve as a social media boon for us at the same time. (Thanks, Austin–great idea!)
Please take five minutes to watch this video and, most importantly, please join the group: “Hey Facebook, Save Ivan Misner” at: https://www.facebook.com/groups/829011050464326/. I really appreciate you taking the time to help–thank you so much!
[Important Update: Since this was published, I am very pleased to announce that Facebook has let me out of Facebook Jail! I have my page back. I want to thank the Facebook employees who helped to make that happen. I also want to thank the hundreds of people who assisted by joining the “Free Ivan Misner” group on Facebook. This truly shows the power of a personal network! Check out the video though – it is pretty funny (in a sad sort of way).]
Two years ago last Friday began one of the most depressing weekends of my life. My wife and I attended the Prostate Cancer Research Institute Conference in Los Angeles. Don’t get me wrong, they are good people trying to do good work. However, having been diagnosed with Prostate Cancer just a few months earlier and sitting through several days of sessions, I walked away incredibly depressed and totally devastated as to my options if they included surgery, radiation, cryotherapy or any other invasive procedure. The possible side effects of these alternatives just left me disheartened and miserable.
I had been spending the months up to this conference trying to build my immune system and get my health in a strong place for when it came time for me to choose a more invasive protocol. After that weekend – I was left more confused than ever. I didn’t want to pick any of the choices they were discussing and the conference offered virtually no sessions on nutrition as an alternative approach. Okay, to be completely accurate – they did have “one” session on nutrition (that’s right – only one in a three day conference). Beth and I both attended that session. However, after about 20 minutes, it became painfully obvious that my wife knew more about nutrition and cancer than the medical doctor running the session! She actually answered several questions that people asked when the doctor was stumped a couple times. I remember at one point someone asked if certain types of nuts were ok to eat and the doctor didn’t know. Beth stood up and said that “nuts that were high in Omega 3 oils and low in Omega Six oils like Almonds and Macadamia nuts would actually support an anti-cancer diet. The doctor looked to the audience and said, “Yes, that’s right, I believe she’s absolutely correct.”
I left that conference more confused and more miserable than ever. All the discussions by doctors were about cutting, freezing, or poisoning the problem (and the body). All of which – had really bad potential side effects for a man.
I was numb for a couple weeks after this conference. I went through my days keeping my head down and trying to focus on being healthy and doing my job. Then something interesting happened. On my way into an ultrasound exam I spoke to my medical doctor by phone and he told me that my PSA had actually declined a clinically significant amount (after it had been going up every year for the last 5 years)! I went into undergo the ultrasound exam a few minutes later. After the ultrasound images were taken, the oncologist shook his head and said, “I don’t quite know how to explain this but, the tumor seems to be fading. I’ve never seen anything like this. What are you doing?” All of a sudden – I felt a lot better. Maybe, just maybe, this nutrition thing alone might work?
Three months later, my Urologist told me about a new exam. The PCA3 (which is much less invasive than a biopsy and much better at gauging Prostate Cancer than a PSA). Based on my biopsy (which was a Gleason 7), he estimated that I would have had a PCA3 result of between 40 – 50 (serious). However, after 9 months of my health protocol, I scored a 26 (which is just over the borderline of what is considered problematic). At the same time, my ultrasounds were becoming clearer and clearer.
About 9 months later, I had another PCA3. Interestingly, the doctor made me come back in again a week later because he felt the results were inconclusive (I think he didn’t believe them). After taking the test again – I scored a 17. Well within the acceptable range.
I tell you all of this because last Friday, exactly two years after the most miserable weekend of my life, I spoke to the Urologist’s office having taken the PCA3 test yet again. This time, my score was my new lucky number – 13, which is considered good.
Hippocrates is considered the father of modern western medicine. He is revered by the medical community. It is his oath they swear to relating to the study of medicine – and it is he who said, “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” Why then, is nutrition so under appreciated in the medical community today? It is a mystery to me. A few months ago I hesitatingly volunteered to speak to the PCRI conference about how diet affected my cancer diagnosis. I didn’t want to relive that weekend but I thought it was important to offer men some hope that involved something other than a scalpel. They politely declined to have me speak.
I have no products to sell, no paid coaching to provide, no money to be made. I donate all my profits from the book I wrote about my journey into health over to Cancer and health research. I am an unlikely proponent of diet and nutrition because I was at one point, the “poster child” for sodas and processed food. But results talk and mine is saying “13.” That has a much better ring to me than “surgery.”
For more information on how I tackled my journey with health, go to www.MisnerPlan.com.
I’d love to hear your comments.
It was 11:30 AM in Paris last Wednesday and Beth (my wife) and I had a lunch meeting that was set for 12 noon with a couple business associates. As we headed out to the curb to get into a taxi in order to drive to the restaurant, we noticed something odd. There were no taxis in the taxi stand in front of our building!
Unbeknown to us, the taxi drivers in Paris, were all on a two-day work stoppage (yes, a strike) in protest of the “Uber” App, (a personal sedan service that can be requested via an app) which has been cutting into their profits, according to the taxi drivers. Apparently, they are hoping that the French government will ban the use of Uber in France!
We have used Uber with great success in the United States, and had not thought about using the app while here in Paris. It has been so easy, frankly, to just step outside and into one of any number of waiting taxis, that we didn’t need Uber.
But standing on the curb in the quickly intensifying sunshine with little time to spare to get to our appointment, we wondered if there was any chance of using the app now to book a car for our lunch. Beth tapped the app on her iPhone and within seconds we received confirmation that our Uber sedan would be with us in 15 minutes. After only six minutes, the car pulled up on the curb in front of our building.
Anyone who knows me at all, knows that I put a high premium on a company’s ability to under promise and over deliver. They definitely did just that in the humid Paris heat!
As we headed to our lunch meeting, we began talking about the irony of the taxi drivers’ strike actually driving us (pun intended!) into the waiting arms of the very competitor they were protesting! What marketing genius thought of this blunder-head idea!? To me this is the perfect example of something I call the “unintended consequences of a ‘seemingly’ good idea.” Did no one have a conversation about how this would actually play out? Maybe something like – “let’s see, why don’t we go on strike to protest an online application that will – oh, actually force people to use that online application while we’re all sitting at the brasserie enjoying croissants.” Yea, really smart.
Because of their actions, we have now been reminded of how easy and pleasant using Uber is. There is no money to change hands – all payment arrangements are done through the app. We can enter the request for a car while finishing up whatever it is we are doing and then head straight out into the car once we receive the text notification that it has arrived. We can actually watch the progress of the car as a GPS tracker shows an icon for it en route on our Uber app’s map. Even better – the vehicle is very clean and professional (we drove in a Peugeot to the restaurant and in a Mercedes on the way back – AND it was less than a taxi ride!).
I really like the emailed receipt after being dropped off at our destination. It shows what the average speed of the drive was, the duration of the drive and the final amount. Even better is that Uber ROUNDS DOWN to the nearest dollar! I mean, who actually does THAT?
So, I would like to take this opportunity to thank the taxi drivers who held this work stoppage for reminding me how amazing their competitor really is. Talk about the law of unintended consequences! I wonder how many other people took advantage of this strike to become new Uber customers. I can tell you that I will be requesting an Uber car more frequently on this trip now as a result of the strike.
Epilogue – Note to the Paris Taxi Driver’s Association:
Dear Paris Taxi Driver’s Association, the year is 2014. The internet actually exists and will most likely not disappear no matter how often you go on strike. The Genie cannot be put back into the bottle. Rather than try to “ban” a competitor who actually had a good idea – why not create your own app (as some taxi companies around the world have!) and join the rest of us in the 21st century.
Just a thought.
Givers Gain® is a philosophy based on the law of reciprocity. In the context of networking groups, people who adopt this philosophy dedicate themselves to giving business to their fellow networkers rather than making their foremost concern getting business for themselves. In doing so, other people naturally become eager to repay their kindness by sending them business in return. Givers Gain is a great way to live life in general and it is a standard which we can all apply to ourselves—key word being “ourselves”; it is not a sword to be pointed at others who may not adopt the philosophy.
Unfortunately, I have seen the Givers Gain concept abused from time to time and, as you may have guessed, the reason I’m writing about it now is because I saw it abused quite recently. The entire concept gets misused when we start pointing a finger at others and saying things like, “Milton doesn’t have a Givers Gain attitude—he’s going about things all wrong.” What’s interesting is that when we say things like this about other people, it’s often because they’re not doing something we think they ought to be doing in business or life.
Again, Givers Gain is not a sword to wave around at people who aren’t doing what we think they should be doing. It is a standard we can apply to ourselves and ourselves only. Ironically, when we point our index finger at someone else, there are three fingers pointing back at us—it’s a perfect reminder of whose actions and tactics we really need to be worrying about, don’t you think? Don’t be the person who tends to blame others for their woes instead of focusing on their own behavior.
People who criticize and point fingers at others can be very caustic, which is one of the reasons it is important to be really selective about the people you surround yourself with (especially in the context of networking groups). That said, there will undoubtedly still be people in our lives who are unendingly critical, judgmental, and just plain vitriolic. I know I certainly have a couple of them in my life, including one person in particular who appears to have made criticizing me his favorite pastime. They’re the people who love to talk about you, but who never actually talk to you about issues.
So, what do you do if you practice the Givers Gain philosophy in a sincere and consistent way, yet there is still someone waging a very personal attack on you? How do you respond when they start waving their interpretation of the Givers Gain concept in your face like a sword of criticism? The answer is simple—be yourself. Continue to apply the philosophy to yourself in every way you can. Vitriolic people are that way because they can’t control themselves. Maybe they’re basically angry, maybe they’ve had a difficult life—who knows? It doesn’t really matter because they are who they are and you can’t change them. As much as we’d all like to steer clear of these people, there will be times when it’s virtually impossible.
Telling someone they’re wrong about you never works (I know this from personal experience); they’ll just come at you even stronger. I can tell you what does work though. What really works is when somebody else stands up and says to the person who’s badmouthing you that they’re out of line, or that what they’re saying is simply not appropriate. It’s a little like a referral—nothing beats a third party endorsement . . . or, in this case, a third party defense.
Why am I bringing all this to light? Because, the fact is, you are going to find yourself around a vitriolic person at one time or another—someone who’s combative instead of collaborative, someone who’s saying horrible things about someone else—and I want to take this opportunity to strongly encourage you to stand tall and speak up.
Good people stand up when caustic people say bad things about others; and if you practice Givers Gain as your own personal standard, you already know that standing up for others will encourage others to stand up for you.
Do you have a story about an experience with a person who was criticizing you to others or other people to you? How did you handle it? I’d love to hear your story, as well as your feedback on this blog post and on the Givers Gain concept in general. Please leave your thoughts in the comment forum below. Thanks!
Sometime ago, one of my blog readers asked me this question:
I was wondering what do you do when your motivation level is lacking as well as your self esteem? What do you do to regain the motivation needed to move on with your plans and pursue your endeavors?
This is a great question and here’s my answer:
First of all, let me say that I am as certain of what I’m about to say as anything in my life – motivation comes from within you not from outside you. No one can motivate you but yourself. I’m speaking long-term motivation. Many years ago, Frederick Herzberg wrote about motivation and he said that others can motivate you but only in the short term. He called that KITA (Kick in the… Anatomy – that’s really what he called it).
On the other hand, long term motivation comes from within. So, that begs the question – how do you motivate yourself when your motivation is low? First, you should understand that everyone has to deal with this throughout their lives. I’ve never met anyone that was immune to this (I certainly am not). So, what do I do when I feel down?
Here are some of the things that have helped me:
- Minimize contact with negative people! That’s not always completely possible but do it as much as you can. At least do this for for a short while. I really believe that some people complain as though it were an Olympic event! Keep clear of them while you are trying to get your mojo back.
- Maximize time with people that refuel your energy! You become the five or six people you hang out the most with. Hang out with people that make you want to “do” and “be” better.
- Read/listen/watch positive things. If you are feeling down, read a positive book. Listen to a CD with a positive message. Watch something that makes you laugh! Surround yourself with some things you love to be influenced by. Let that in to your life as much as possible.
- Prioritize the things you want to do and must do. Make a list. I live by lists. The more I can get a handle on the things I need and want to do – the easier it is to tackle them.
- Eat the elephant one bite at a time. Take that list you’ve created and tackle some of that list EVERY DAY. If you really do this – you will be amazed at how much you get accomplished. The more you accomplish – the better you will feel. They feed each other.
There’s plenty more we can do to generate motivation but I believe the list above is a good start. Is there something specific you have had success with that you could add to this list? If so, please share it in the comment forum below and tell us how it has helped you motivate yourself? This is an important topic and I’d love to hear your ideas about it, as I’m sure other readers would as well, because we can all use a little good advice to motivate ourselves every now and then. Thanks in advance for your input.
Stewart Emery (Success Built to Last) was over my house a few months ago. At breakfast one morning he told me about an interview he did with a well-known billionaire in the computer industry. The billionaire shared an intriguing story with Stewart about an experience he’d had when the senior executives of a company interested in purchasing his company visited his office to discuss the possible purchase.
At lunch, the billionaire told the senior executives of the company he was negotiating with that he was going to take them to the Executive Dining Room. They followed him to the dining room which was very nice but not extravagant. But that wasn’t the big surprise. The surprise was that the dining room had a buffet line. Moreover, the billionaire walked up to the buffet line, picked up a tray, and stood in line behind everyone else. The executives looked around the room as it filled up and they realized that this room was not an “executive dining room” but was the company dining room. The boss stood there in line with all the employees. He spoke to everyone. No one was afraid to talk to him. In my opinion, he didn’t lead by being above them; he led by being among them. Stewart told me that the billionaire said the management team was surprised by the fact that he and all the executives ate with all the employees. One of them commented that this would have to change. For the boss, it was a test. This was not the kind of company that he wanted to sell his business to. The negotiation ended that day.
Companies have a choice. They can move toward exclusivity in their organizational culture or they can strive, commit, honor, and embrace inclusivity in their organizational culture.
Sometimes when people meet me, they say that they are surprised that I am approachable. I find that interesting. I think they feel this way because sometimes we, as leaders, act in a way that people perceive as unapproachable. We act “better than” to other people. I believe people should be surprised when a leader is unapproachable, not when they are approachable. The problem is that we live in a world where success sometimes creates a sense of separation (with both the organizational leaders and others). One of the key things to embrace in a successful company is the sense that the boss, the owner, the senior executive(s) are, in fact, approachable.
What are your thoughts on this matter? Please feel free to share any relevant stories and experiences you may have.
I am very pleased to announce that today marks the 500th blog post on BusinessNetworking.com! To celebrate, my wife Beth and I recorded this video where we reminisce about which blog posts have been our favorites over the five years I’ve been doing this blog and why these individual posts stand out to us.
Below you’ll find the links to the specific blogs we mention in the video so you can check them out if you’re interested. To celebrate this 500-blog milestone, I’d love nothing more than to hear which BusinessNetworking.com blogs have been your favorites through the years and why. I’d really like to hear what you think so please leave a comment in the comments section.
I appreciate you taking the time to read my BusinessNetworking.com blog posts and I am very grateful to have a forum where I can share what I’ve learned throughout the course of my career and learn from all of you who contribute such great feedback. Thank you so much for being a part of this community of learning and sharing knowledge to promote the success of business networkers around the world–I’m looking forward to another five years (and hopefully more) of keeping this blog going!
1. The Butterfly Effect: September, 07 – http://businessnetworking.com/the-%e2%80%9cbutterfly-effect-of-networking
2. OMG, I’m an Introvert: February, 2009 – http://businessnetworking.com/omg-im-an-introvert
3. Premature Solicitation: February, 2010 –http://businessnetworking.com/premature-solicitation
4. The Networking Disconnect: September, 2010 –http://businessnetworking.com/the-networking-disconnect/
5. Who’s in Your Room: March, 2012 – http://businessnetworking.com/whos-in-your-room
6. Networking — A Soft Science: September, 2007:http://businessnetworking.com/networking-a-soft-science-only-to-college-profe…
7. My Philosophy About Competition: June, 2010 –http://businessnetworking.com/my-philosophy-about-competition
8. Relationships are Irrelevant!?: February, 2010 –http://businessnetworking.com/premature-solicitation-from-a-believer
9. You Don’t Become Exceptional by Looking for Exceptions: September, 2011 – http://businessnetworking.com/you-dont-become-exceptional-by-looking-for-exce…
10. Unsolicited Advice is Rarely Welcome: February, 2012 –http://businessnetworking.com/unsolicited-advice-is-rarely-appreciated
I wrote an article on Entrepreneur.com last week entitled “Why Everyone Should talk About Politics While Networking” and in my opening line I state, “Yes, I believe everyone should talk about politics (and religion) while networking . . . if they’d like their network to go up in flames, that is!”
Though I may have been very active in politics over the years and I do, indeed, have a definite religious/spiritual leaning, I have found that it is undoubtedly best not to mix my views/beliefs in these areas with my business networking activities because these topics can be VERY divisive. Opening up a dialogue of a political or spiritual/religious nature with those in your network tends to be something that will more than likely invoke passionate, heated arguments which is NOT a good thing for a networking environment (take a look at the full article for my complete commentary and explanation).
Soon after the Entrepreneur.com article came out, someone left a comment in the comment forum beneath the article that I found quite surprising. The comment they posted says:
“This guy Ivan Misner sure sounds like a Communist to me. If it walks like a duck . . .”
Really? I’m “a Communist” because I said that people who want to be successful at networking should not talk about politics and religion in a business networking environment? Okay, well, I guess I should really thank the person who posted the comment because they’re ultimately helping to make my point. Discussions about politics and religion can make people say some crazy things.
By the way, here’s how I responded to the comment:
“Too funny. You clearly don’t know me. Besides, a true Marxist-Leninist would be out leading the proletariat revolution of the capitalists and I’m too busy being a capitalist.”
Hey, I always had a hunch my Political Science degree would come in handy someday yet I never would’ve imagined it would be through someone calling me “a Communist,” that’s for sure. 😉
What’s your feeling on the appropriateness of discussing politics and/or religion in a business networking environment? Have you tried it yourself, or maybe networked with someone who makes a habit of bringing up these subjects when you’re conversing while networking? What has your experience been? . . . I highly encourage you to leave a comment; I’m very interested in hearing some different perspectives on this. Thanks!
“Who’s in Your Room?” This was the question asked by a close friend of mine, Stewart Emery (pictured in this blog) at a presentation of his that I attended a few months ago.
He posed an interesting series of questions and ideas to the audience; “What if you had to live your life in one room? Whoever you want to interact with in life is in that room. There is only one door. It is a one-way door. Whoever is in your room, stays in your room forever. Whoever comes into your room impacts your life directly in many ways. If you knew that this person would be in your room forever, would you have let that person in your room?”
He went on to ask, “If you let people in – what would your room look like? Would it be:
- An angry room?
- Chaotic room
- Happy room?
- Conflicted room?
- Would there be a lot of drama?
- Are there too many people in the room?
- Too many interruptions?”
His point was that the quality of your life is a direct reflection of who is in your room. How you manage who you let into your room (and life) is very important. How do we go about choosing who we let in? He suggested a sort of mental “doorman” who is trained on your values and your passions. It is this doorman who stops people from getting into your life who conflict with your values and passions. Nobody gets in who doesn’t meet your personal values.
He asked us to do an exercise to think about the people who are in our room now. Are there people close to us that don’t live our values? Would we have let them in if we had thought about this concept before letting them close to us?
We design the room we live in, along with the people who are in it. We can do that consciously, or we can do that by happenchance. The choice is ours. Understanding this idea now, who are we going to let in our room from this point on?
This concept fits powerfully with building a powerful personal network. The people we bring in close to us should be people we want to work with. They should be people who share our values and our passions. Understanding this simple concept can help us to understand the difference between an opportunity or a distraction. It can help us choose between a person who we think has a skill set we need versus a value set we wish to emulate.
What do you think about the concept of “Who’s in Your Room?” Knowing this concept now – what would you do different in the future? I’d love to hear your thoughts.