Strategy Archives - Dr. Ivan Misner®
Honor the Event

Honor the Event

Networking is a lifestyle you need to incorporate into everything that you do. However, I also believe that you must HONOR THE EVENT. For example, networking at a chamber mixer is one thing, while networking at a church social is completely different.

What is Networking

I believe that networking is part of the process of developing your social capital. Building your social capital hinges on the development of meaningful relationships with other people. Since one should always be working on building meaningful relationships with other people, they should always be networking. However, that doesn’t mean someone should always be trying to “sell” something to someone, because that rarely facilitates the development of meaningful relationships. Herein lies the misinterpretation of the practice of networking. Some people think that networking means to be constantly “selling” your products or services.

To me, networking means that you should be constantly building relationships. The best way to build relationships is to help someone whenever possible. A good networker has two ears and one mouth and should be using them proportionately. Hence, if you understand networking to be the process that one uses to develop relationships and build one’s social capital – then it makes sense that someone should be networking everywhere – including the Church social. They key is that you must “honor the event”.

Honor the Event

Your networking must be different in a chamber meeting compared to a social event. In both cases you want to be making contacts, putting people together, helping others and building relationships. However, you should NOT be actively promoting your business in one of those two groups (hint – it’s not the Chamber). Instead, you want to focus on putting people together and helping others portion of the process.

Let me give you an example of what I mean:

Last year, I had the opportunity to attend a formal dinner put on by the “Friendly Sons of St. Patrick.” This was a black-tie social event, NOT a business networking dinner. Yet, I was able to make a great contact that ended up being immensely successful for me (and, I hope, for one of the people I met there!). At my table were seated a prominent senior partner to a major international law firm, a former member of the Beach Boys, and Buzz Aldrin. He was part of the first mission to set foot on the moon and now an entrepreneur as the founder of the ShareSpace Program! During the course of the evening, I mentioned to Dr. Aldrin that I was working on my book, Masters of Success. He’s certainly attained a well-known level of success and has some very strong feelings about the future of the space program so I thought he might be interested in sharing his thoughts in this new book. After getting to know each other better, I asked him if he would be interested in contributing a chapter to the book. He was! Consequently, he was one of the prominent contributing authors to the book.

So you can see that it is desirable to keep your networking goals in sight at all events and opportunities, without becoming a networking vulture, or someone that everyone else runs from when they see you coming! Honor the event; tailor your networking strategies so that you fit in without being tuned out.

Summer Networking

Summer Networking Tips

The temperature is rising and so are your summer networking opportunities!

Every once in a while I hear a BNI member say that their chapter slows down during the summer months. I also know of many chapters that flourish in the summer with new members and referral growth! So why are some up and some down? It is a matter of gearing towards the season by refocusing on referrals during your networking activities? Build your business while traveling on vacation too.

What summertime networking activities are you attending? These may not seem like networking activities, however, you should still always be prepared.

  • BBQ
  • Block Parties
  • Pool parties
  • Picnics
  • Ball games or sporting events
  • Music Festivals
  • Reunions
  • Parades
  • Or just some summertime fun:
    Golf, Boating, Traveling, Fishing, Hiking, Tennis, Sailing, Camping or Gardening?

Barbecue / Block Party Networking!

Whether headed to a holiday block party blowout or a more intimate birthday celebration for a colleague, barbecues are a great chance to meet friends of friends and expand your professional network.

Make the most of your family barbecue. Bring a few sample products to the barbecue to give out to family and friends. Who better to help spread the word for you? If you are so inclined, ask attendees to bring a new friend with them to the event. More than likely, some family members will show up with uninvited guests anyway. The more the merrier, right? Use these opportunities to get to know people and share what you are looking for. You never know who they know! But don’t break out in a sales pitch at a barbecue. Ever. People are there to have fun, relax and enjoy.

Pool Party  / Picnic Networking:

Remember that a good networker has two ears and one mouth and uses them proportionately! Listen to what everyone is saying at your summertime activities. What topics are they mentioning?

Are they complaining about their business? 
Invite them to visit your BNI chapter.

Are they excited about a wedding?
Share about those members in your chapter that are good referrals for them.

Do they talk about their home being too hot in the summer and it costs too much to cool?
Talk about your HVAC or solar member.

Do they want to remodel their home or need to move homes?
It’s Referral time!

Ball Game / Sporting Event Networking:

A great networking strategy is to get tickets to a local ball game or sporting event and invite BNI members and potential referral partners you know to introduce to each other. Whether your team wins or loses, great connections can be made!

Music Festival Networking:

The hills are alive with the sound of networking. Music brings people from all different types of professional backgrounds together networking through all of the music and dancing at a music festival will be a challenge, but it can prove to be invaluable. While each attendee might have a different background, many will have the same overall goal– utilizing networking to make meaningful connections and build their businesses. Every personal encounter is a potential opportunity for networking, so don’t overlook anyone.

Networking at Reunions:

Summertime is the time for both family reunions and class reunions. These are essentially a gathering of (potentially) dozens of people who, despite the fact that they took various different professional paths, automatically have a great deal in common and genuinely want to see one another succeed. So if you’re looking for a job, a career change, industry advice or even if you’re just hoping to network within your field, attending your reunion could be just the ticket. The question is not whether you should attend your reunion, but how you will network effectively at the reunion.

The FOUR hour “one to one” Networking Foursome!

If you are a golfer, find a fellow BNI Member who also plays golf. Set up a round of golf and you each bring a favorite golf playing client to introduce to each other as a referral source for the other BNI member. What a great way to solidify a top referral source and score a ‘hole in one” referral yourself with someone else!

If you do not play golf? Is there a summertime activity that you do that you and a fellow member can invite clients to attend? (Boating, Fishing, Hiking, Tennis, Sailing, Camping,  or Gardening)

The GOAL?

Any place you go with family, friends or strangers is a networking opportunity!

  • Bring Your Business Cards! Bring your fellow BNI members’ business cards with you to all your summertime events!
  • Remember Your Fellow Members and make a goal for one referral per event you attend!
  • Who have you met at these summertime events that you can invite to your chapter as a visitor?

Here’s to a GREAT summer in the Northern Hemisphere filled with lots of referrals! Those BNI Members south of the Equator can wait to use these tips in December or try to network on the ski slopes.

Wallflowers

Always Get to Know the Wallflowers

I was recently talking about networking with a good friend of mine, Dr. Mark Goulston. Mark is a psychiatrist and consultant, and he said something that intrigued me.  “People should always introduce themselves to the wallflowers in the room. Nobody attends a networking event wanting to stay in a corner and be left alone. They’re in that corner because the most technically skilled people are often socially shy.”

“You never know when you’ll meet the next Bill Gates”.

This comment really resonated with me, and it reminded me of a time a few years ago. I was at a party put on by Virgin Galactic relating to the testing of White Knight Two and SpaceShip Two. I walked outside the party and looked over in the corner by the pool where I saw a man standing by himself. He was looking uncomfortable and very much out of his element. Then I noticed who it was. It was Burt Rutan, the founder of the aerospace company Scaled Composites and designer of the SpaceShip Two. He was by himself at a party with hundreds of people celebrating the work of the company he founded, as well as Virgin Galactic.

I said to him, “It must be incredible to see this amazing, long-term vision come to fruition.”  He replied, “This isn’t my long-term vision of what the company can do.”

I’m sure I was visibly surprised, so I asked him, “What’s your long-term vision?”  He said, “Well, I believe the company can push forward past sub-orbital flights and expand to allow space tourists to do orbital flights around the earth.”  I naively said, “That’s an amazing long-term vision.” He replied, “That’s not my long-term vision.” I was really surprised and said, “Okay, what’s your long-term vision?” He replied that he felt “the company could provide orbital flights to passengers who could then stay at a hotel in space for a short period of time.”

At this point, I’m completely blown away, and I once again said, “That’s an amazing, long-term vision,” and, yet again, he said, “That’s not my long-term vision.”  At this point, I’m all in, and I’m completely fascinated with this visionary, so I again asked, “What’s your long-term vision?” He replied, “I believe we can launch flights into orbit, stay at a hotel in space, and then take flights around the moon and back. That’s my long-term vision.”

Burt was probably in his late sixties when we had this conversation, and I asked him one final question, “When do you think that vision can become a reality?” And he replied, “I think it can be done in my lifetime.”

Gobsmacked

The British have a term for what I felt at that moment, “gobsmacked.”  I was utterly astounded by this man’s vision, and I was incredibly honored to have had this opportunity to talk with him.

I founded the largest referral networking organization in the world, and I’ve met tens of thousands of people during my tenure in BNI. I can easily say that this was one of the most interesting conversations I ever had with someone at a party or networking event. Burt Rutan’s and, of course, Richard Branson’s,  vision of what can be done through their entrepreneurial efforts have left an indelible mark on me.

The important lesson here relates to Dr. Goulston’s belief that we should always look for the “wallflowers” in the room. Not every one of them will be a Burt Rutan, but I’ve found that most of them are interesting and well worth the conversation.  Just every now and then, you might meet a Bill Gates or a Burt Rutan, and that makes the effort of finding those wallflowers worth it.

Addition By Subtraction

Addition By Subtraction

Sometimes, the best thing you can do is let go. My wife, Beth Misner, explained to me years ago that the way to grow healthy rose bushes is to prune them back. You will receive additional beautiful blooms on new growth stems by subtracting the number of old growth stems. So, how does this relate to BNI?  The way to grow a healthy BNI chapter is to get rid of the members who don’t show up or don’t participate. BNI thrives on accountability. Therefore, one must also believe in addition by subtraction in order to get new growth in your chapter.

Like I said–sometimes, the best thing you can do is let go.

Let’s say you’re in a networking group and you have hit a plateau. You can remember a time when your group was on fire. When you all had passion and excitement and you couldn’t get to your meeting fast enough. Now, you all seem to have lost steam, and things just aren’t what they used to be. The referrals aren’t being generated, the 1-2-1’s are happening, and the group seems to groan a little every time the meeting begins. You want to regain the passion and help your network grow, but how?

If you want to add value to your group, you need to take away the things–or people–that are making it dysfunctional. It sounds counterintuitive, but if you want your network to grow, you may have to cut it back. Like I said–sometimes, the best thing you can do is let go.

Andy Lopata

The A-Z of Networking: S is for… (by Andy Lopata) [PART 2]

This month, Andy Lopata shares more of his networking tips which begin with the letter “S”

  • Sales
  • Self Belief
  • Sharing
  • Silent
  • Simplicity
  • Slow Down
  • Smile
  • Specific
  • Speaking Up
  • Stories
  • Strategic

and more about Networking “S” previously in PART 1: click here

Click here to watch this video

Please click below to see Andy’s playlist of his networking tips from A to Z.

https://ivanmisner.com/category/a-to-zs-of-networking/

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 “S” list or any additional “S” words about networking you will want to add to the list. please leave me a comment below.

Andy Lopata

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.

stay in touch

Seven Strategies to Stay in Touch

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.

Waste Your Time

Ten Ways to Waste Your Time in a Networking Group

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

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

Please watch this video:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thousand

DO six things a thousand times and NOT a thousand things six times!

In this classic video, I talk about productivity and setting priorities. This Ivanism, “If you want to scale a business, do six things a thousand times; not a thousand things six times“, is one of my quotes that I’m asked to talk about a lot and I thought I’d post this video again.

What does this quote really mean?

  1. Focus on key priorities and making them perfect (or close to it) before moving on to other projects or tasks.
  2. Making your business the best at a few services, not simply OK at several.
  3. Success comes from being like a dog with a bone.
solutions

Focus on solutions, not problems.

What was the last problem you faced?

  • An employee issue
  • A difficult client
  • Financial hurdles
  • Competition from another business
  • Time management concerns
All too often, when facing a problem, the first thing we tend to do is focus on the negative situation. We continue to repeat our patterns, doing the same things that do not work, until we dwell in a feeling of negativity. Many people let their minds wander toward the negative, which then prompts them to focus on more problems instead of searching for ways to resolve the situation and grow from it. You must begin to start focusing on ways to actually resolve the situation by focusing on solutions. Do not just react, take the time to fully analyze the problem then make a list of possible solutions.
  • Identify the problem(s)
  • Identify what you did before in a similar problem
    Brainstorm possible solutions.
  • Change what doesn’t work
  • Find and use resources
  • Decide which solution is best
  • Put that solution into play
  • Build on each successive step
  • Try to do more of what works
  • Use an alternative solution if not achieving the required results
Regardless of how bad your problem may be, the solution is there if you think long and hard enough. Not every solution will work for this problem. However, when we start to think of more ways to overcome our problems, we can grow from the situation at hand by being more prepared for the next problem we will face down the road. We can even avoid future problems because if we focus on problems, we will get more problems. If we focus on solutions, we will get more solutions. By being aware and reminding yourself of your list of solutions you just created, you can focus on solutions, not problems.
LCD's

Specific is Terrific with LCD’s

Weekly networking presentations with LCD’s

It is very important to be prepared to introduce yourself by breaking down your business into your LCD’s (Lowest Common Denominators). Each week, create a business educational curriculum to train your sales force to focus on just ONE aspect of your business.

For example, each week just focus on:

– A service
– A product
– A benefit

When you want to nail a presentation, start by explaining your lowest common denominators, or the most immediate, universal value of your business. Your LCD is your secret weapon.

Click on the graphic below, or click here, to see this video. Learn more about developing this training approach for your weekly presentations.

Shawn Yesner and Tiffanie Kellog

Tips About Asking for Referrals by Tiffanie Kellog and Shawn Yesner

Guest Video Blog:

Tiffanie Kellog, a trainer with Asentiv and author of 4 1/2 Networking Mistakes, interviews Shawn Yesner of Yesner Law in Tampa, FL about asking for referrals.

Are you wondering why you are not getting referrals?
You need to be specific to become terrific. Just like when you order your favorite soda.

Click here to watch the video

waste time

The Top 10 Ways to Waste Your Time in Networking Groups

Make your time and efforts worthwhile in networking groups. Success in networking comes from building trust with the other members in your networking group. Ivan Misner shares his Top 10 ways many people waste their time networking in this video.

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