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What Should You Bring on a Business Trip?

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This week I am in Bangkok and Hong Kong speaking to business professionals about networking.  When you travel (especially internationally) it is easy to forget something you really need while you are in meetings or speaking to groups of people.  Last month,  I did an interview with an international magazine on this very topic.  The reporter asked me “what should business people think about taking with them on business trips that they might not normally think about?”

First, I had to give the things that may be obvious but that you don’t want to ever forget.  Things like:

  1. Plenty of business cards.  It is never a good idea to run out of business cards while traveling.  Tuck extras in your suit pockets, wallet/purse, briefcase, luggage, etc.  I put stacks in many places to ensure I always have extra.
  2. A badge.  If you do any networking while traveling on business, have your own professional badge.  Don’t rely on the hosting organization to do your badge and do it right.
  3. Extra pens.  Make sure you have a pen with you while you are doing meetings.  I always find that I need to write some reminders down while I’m talking to people.  It’s troublesome to track down a pen while you are networking.

Somewhat less obvious things

  1. The contact information (or business cards) of all your referral partners.  I sometimes find that having that information at my fingertips allows me to give referrals to people while I’m out networking.
  2. Hand sanitizer.  I know, I’m sounding a little bit like “Mr. Monk” the germ-a-phobe title character of a television series.  However, I have found that since I’ve started using hand sanitizer after shaking many, many hands, that I have been getting far less colds than I used to get.  Just be tactful about the way you use it.  Don’t desperately spray your hands every time you shake someone’s hands or else you will be acting like Monk.
  3. Breath mints.  As obvious as it may sound – I can assure you from experience that many people have no idea they need them!
  4. A memory stick.  Many times I have either needed to get a copy of something OR give a copy of a file or presentation to people while out networking.  Having a memory stick handy has been very helpful on several occasions.
  5. A camera and/or video.  A camera is great if you want to memorialize some occasion or a meeting with someone important to you.  A video is important for anyone that blogs.  It gives you a chance to interview someone during your travels.  I do this almost every time I travel.
  6. Tools for your business.  For me, that includes many copies of my bio for introductions whenever I speak.  Despite the fact that my team sends the bio in advance, there are many times when I arrive and they don’t have the bio handy.  Another tool for me is a PowerPoint remote clicker.  This is really important for me because I don’t want to rely on someone else to move the slides forward as a I present.  Also, that memory stick I mentioned earlier.  I have copies of my talk(s) on there just in case the group I’m speaking to has misplaced my presentation material.

There’s more, but this is a pretty good list.  What do you think is important to bring along with you on business trips?  Share it with us here in the comments section.

Does the Thought of Introducing Yourself at Networking Meetings Make You Panic?

If the thought of giving a brief introduction of yourself and your business at networking meetings makes your palms sweat, read on . . .

When participating, even as a guest, in various networking meetings or functions, the fact is that you will be required to introduce yourself sooner or later.  Preparing a script for introducing yourself will improve your results.  One of your scripts should be an overview of what you do.  Other presentations can address various aspects of your product or service.  Here’s the script sequence I recommend:

  • Your name
  • Your business or profession
  • Brief description of your business or profession
  • Benefit statement of one of your products or services
  • Your name again

Your name and your business profession are easy enough.  A brief description and a benefit statement can be separate items,  but more often they are intertwined in your message.  It’s fairly easy to combine your business with the benefits of your product or service.  I suggest telling people what you do, as well as what you are:

“I’m a financial planner and I help people plan for their future”  or “I’m an advertising and marketing consultant; I help companies get the most out of their advertising dollar.”  These explanations are more effective than saying, “I do financial planning,” or “I plan advertising campaigns.”

In many situations, you’ll be introducing yourself to only one or two people at a time.  Some networking organizations have all the members stand at each meeting, and in round-robin fashion, give a one-minute overview to the entire group.  If you’re a member of a group like this, it is vitally important to vary your presentations.

Many people who are in networking groups that meet every week have a tendency to say the same old thing, time after time.  From what I’ve seen, many weekly presentations are done weakly.  If you don’t vary your presentations, many people will tune you out when you speak because they’ve already heard your message several times.  Your best bet is to give a brief overview, then concentrate on just one element of your business for the rest of your presentation.

If you prepare your brief introduction using these techniques, you will begin to get much more confident at introducing yourself and, what’s better, you’ll begin to get better networking results.  If you try introducing yourself in this way at your next networking meeting or function,

I’d love to hear how it turns out for you–please come back and share your experience in the comments section.  Or, if you’ve already done some things to help you with this issue – share them with us now.  Thanks!

Video: Finding It Hard to Relate & Connect When Networking with Shy People?

A couple weeks back, I posted a video featuring top tips on overcoming your own shyness when networking.  The video featured a good friend of mine, Tara Schmakel, who is an expert on overcoming shyness as she herself was once very shy and is now known as “The Once Timid Networker.”

If you view yourself as being the definition of a gregarious extrovert, chances are that you noticed the video blog post and didn’t pay much attention because you thought the topic of timid networkers didn’t really apply to you.  However, there’s an aspect of the topic you may not be thinking about–even if you’re not shy yourself, if you don’t know how to effectively connect with other networkers who are on the timid side then you really aren’t an effective networker.

This is why I’m posting today’s video which features Tara and offers important insights into how to network and make connections with other networkers who are much more introverted and shy than you are. 

This is definitely one video worth watching–Tara offers some extremely valuable advice on how to effectively connect with timid networkers and, I’ll admit, she taught me a few very important things that never even occurred to me before about what to do and what not to do when it comes to gestures and approach.

After watching the video, I highly encourage you to check out more of Tara’s content by visiting her website: www.TheOnceTimidNetworker.com.

No Knight in Shining Armor?

This blog is an excerpt from the book Business Networking and Sex (not what you think)the book I co-authored with Frank De Raffele and Hazel Walker.  Enjoy!

Bill asks Candace out on a date. They have a great time. They then start to date regularly.

Six months later, while driving home from their dinner date Candace says, “Do you realize that tonight is our sixth-month anniversary?” For a few seconds, there is silence in the car and to Candace it seems like deafening silence. She thinks to herself, I wonder if it bothers him that I said that. Maybe he’s been feeling confined by our relationship. Maybe he thinks I’m trying to push him into some kind of obligation that he doesn’t want, or isn’t sure of.

Meanwhile, Bill is thinking, Hmmm, six months.

Candace is percolating away in her head with, But, hey, I’m not so sure I want this kind of relationship, either. Sometimes I wish I had a little more space, so I’d have time to think about whether I really want us to keep going the way we are, moving steadily forward. Where are we going with this thing, anyway? Are we just going to keep seeing each other at this level of intimacy? Are we heading toward marriage? Children? An entire lifetime together? Am I ready for that level of commitment? Do I really even know this person?

At this point Bill is thinking, So that means it was . . . let’s see . . . February when we started going out, which was right after I had the car at the dealer’s, which means . . . lemme check the odometer . . . Whoa! I’m way overdue for an oil change!

Candace is now at the point where she’s thinking, He’s upset. I can see it on his face. Maybe I’m reading this completely wrong. Maybe he wants more from our relationship, more intimacy, more commitment. Maybe he’s sensed it, even before I did, that I had some reservations. Yes, I’ll bet that’s it. That’s why he’s so reluctant to say anything about his own feelings. He’s afraid of being rejected.

Bill is thinking, Yeah, and I’m gonna have them look at the transmission again. I don’t care what those morons say, it’s still not shifting right. And they better not try to blame it on the cold  weather this time. What cold weather? It’s 87 degrees out, and this thing is shifting like a garbage truck, and I paid those incompetent thieves $600.

Candace is thinking, He’s angry. And I don’t blame him. I’d be angry, too. I feel so guilty, putting him through this, but I can’t help the way I feel. I’m just not sure.

Bill is thinking, They’ll probably say it’s only a 90-day warranty. That’s exactly what they’re gonna say, the scum.

Candace is thinking, Maybe I’m just too idealistic, waiting for a knight to come riding up on his white horse when I’m sitting right next to a perfectly good person, a person I enjoy being with, truly do care about, and who seems to truly care about me. And now this person is in pain because of my self-centered, schoolgirl romantic fantasy.

Bill is thinking, Warranty? They want a warranty? I’ll give them a warranty. I’ll take their warranty and…

“Bill.” Candace says aloud.

“What?” answers Bill, startled.

“Please don’t torture yourself like this.” she says, her eyes beginning to brim with tears, “Maybe I should never have. . . Oh, I feel so. . .”

She breaks down, sobbing.

“What?” Bill asks, wondering what just happened.

“I’m such a fool.” Candace sobs. “I mean, I know there’s no knight. I really know that. It’s silly. There’s no knight, and there’s no horse.”

“There’s no horse?” says Bill and wonders, What horse?

“You think I’m a fool, don’t you?” Candace asks in self-blaming tone.

“No!” says Bill, thinking, Why should I?

“It’s just that . . . it’s that I . . . I need some time.” Candace says.

Dead silence again. Bill is trying to find what the right answer is here. Finally he comes up with one that he thinks might work.

“Yes,” he says.

Candace feels so touched that she puts her hand on his.

“Oh, Bill, do you really feel that way?” she says.

“What way?” says Bill, thinking, What are we talking about?

“That way about time?” asks Candace.

“Oh.” says Bill. “Yes. Of course.”

Candace turns to face him and gazes deeply into his eyes, causing him to become very nervous about what she might say next, especially if it involves a horse. At last she speaks.

“Thank you, Bill.” she says, lovingly.

“Thank you.” says Bill, thinking, Whew. Got that one right.

Then he drops her off at her house where she lies and weeps on her bed, a conflicted, tortured soul, whereas Bill back at his place opens a bag of Doritos, turns on the TV, and immediately becomes deeply involved in a rerun of a tennis match between two Czechoslovakians he’s never heard of.

A tiny voice in the far recesses of his mind tells him that something major was going on back there in the car, but he’s pretty sure there is no way he would ever understand what, so he figures it’s better if he doesn’t think about it.

Candace calls her closest friend and they talk about this situation for two hours. They analyze everything she said and everything he said, going over it many times, considering every word, expression, and gesture for nuances of meaning, and any possible ramifications. They’ll continue to discuss this subject, off and on, for weeks, maybe even months, never reaching any definite conclusions, but never getting bored with it, either.

Meanwhile, Bill, as he plays plays racquetball one day with a mutual friend of his and Candace’s stops before shooting a basket and says, “Steve, did Candace ever own a horse?”

Does this story have just a little ring of truth to it? It seems that often men and women communicate differently and define relationships differently.  

Do you agree or disagree?  I’d love for you to share an example in the comments section of a situation which has formed your opinion about the ways in which each gender communicates and defines relationships.

Only Focusing on ONE Referral Source Equals Missed Opportunity!

In this video, Cheryl Hansen, a Trainer and Franchisee with the Referral Institute, explains that most people tend to focus only on existing clients as their main source for business referrals and they neglect the seven other referral sources which they could be developing simultaneously to generate unlimited opportunity for new referred business!

Cheryl highlights community service organizations and casual contacts as just a couple of commonly untapped referral sources and urges businesspeople to start developing all eight of the referral sources which are outlined in the book The World’s Best Known Marketing Secret and listed below . . . which of them are you going to make a commitment this week to start developing?  Leave a comment and let us know . . .

The Eight Referral Sources:

  1. People in Your Contact Sphere
  2. Satisfied Clients
  3. People Whose Business Benefits from Yours
  4. Others with Whom You Do Business
  5. Staff Members
  6. People to Whom You’ve Given Referrals
  7. Anyone Who Has Given You Referrals
  8. Other Members of Business Referral Groups

If you’d like a more specific description of any of the eight referral sources, simply leave a request in the comments section–I’m more than happy to write a blog with further details regarding any/all of the above sources.

Building a Power Team: More Tea Video

Referral partnerships are a powerful element in an effective networking group.  This informative and equally entertaining video by Lawrence Conyers of UK based Anson Corporate Media (you may remember the video of his I posted back in December about how to conduct effective one-to-one meetings) is all about building a Power Team of referral partners and, though it is geared toward members of BNI groups, the information works for all networking groups.

Lawrence , who is not only an experienced networker but also a gifted and creative photographer, videographer, and artist, demonstrates how a Power Team is built and how it benefits networkers and effectively grows business.

Talking about what the video is about, Lawrence explains, “Who do you work with on a regular basis that provides complimentary services to yours?  A plumber needs to know a kitchen installer and a plasterer.  Photographers, wedding car hire, florists and cake makers have a constant flow of referrals in all directions.”

Take a few minutes to watch this video (Not only will you learn from it, I’m willing to bet that, as with all of Lawrence’s videos, you’ll get a good laugh as well!) and let me know what you think of  it–I think the butler (a.k.a. Miss Jones)  is hilarious! Also, I’d love to hear about your experiences with Power Teams, please  share your feedback in the comments section.

To learn more about Lawrence Conyers and Anson Corporate Media, please visit: www.AnsonCorporateMedia.co.uk

Behind the Scenes of the “Today” Show

Many of you know that I was on the Today show a couple of weeks ago to talk with Kathie Lee and Hoda about my new book, Business Networking and Sex (not what you think).  Some of you might like to hear the “real” dirt on what Hoda and Kathie Lee are like off camera.

Ready for it??  It’s really juicy!  Here it comes . . . they are fun and professional.  OK . . . maybe that’s not juicy but it’s the truth.

Both women were very friendly and welcoming to me before the interview started.  In the few minutes we had during the break, they engaged with me and asked questions.  They also talked a lot about Hoda’s Mardi Gras beads and, well . . . that conversation I really can’t repeat here.  Let’s just say that my contribution to that topic started and ended with me making one comment: “Ummm . .  I’m not sure I know how to participate in this conversation.”  To that, everyone laughed and I was off the hook–PHEW!

The “Today” show is a really well-oiled machine that operates like a media factory.  Yet, at the same time almost everyone was very friendly and professional (starting with Gil, the producer, and going all the way through the sound crew in the studio).  It’s hard to visualize just how many people are running through the studio facilities in the morning – trust me, it’s a lot.  People are lined up, ready to go in both the makeup room (yeah, yeah, – they put make-up on me) and the Green Room (where people wait just prior to going on camera).

You may note that I was on air with Nicole Williams.  A lot of people have asked me about Nicole and why she was part of the interview with me.  Well, I’m not sure if it is true, but I’ve been told that since this was my first BIG national TV show, producers sometimes worry about someone one “freezing” on live television with the hosts (what can I say, they don’t know me well) so they sometimes bring in another person to give a different angle, add color commentary, and be there to ‘catch the guest’ if they fall, so to speak.

Nicole is an author and expert in her own right (having written the book: Girl on Top – about career success for women).  However, Nicole told me before we went on that this interview was about my book and that she was there to support that and not take over the interview.  I must say she did just that and was a real professional in the process (thanks Nicole, I see why they make a habit of bringing you back on the show to support other guests).

What we all see on the TV screen is very similar to what I saw off camera – except that there is an incredible whirlwind of activity that takes place with moving people and props from one area to another in between segments.

I have to say that it was truly a great experience and a lot of fun.  Showing gratitude is an important part of networking.  So, let me do that here…  I’m grateful to my publicist, Sara Jennings for having lined this up, to my co-authors Frank De Raffele and Hazel Walker for writing Business Networking and Sex with me so I had such solid, cutting-edge content to talk about on the show (I’m also grateful to Frank for being there at the show for moral support), to Gil (the producer) for believing in the topic (and that I’d be a pretty good guest), and of course to Kathie Lee, Hoda, and Nicole for doing–what I felt–was a great interview in four minutes.  Thank you all!

 

 

 

Unsolicited Advice is Rarely Appreciated

I recently received an unsolicited e-mail message from a man named Chris.  The message stated:

I watched the “video for International Networking Week and… I found it personally offensive and amateurish.  I just thought you would like some feedback.  Consider that when you make your presentation on the Today Show [next week].”

OK, so I should begin by saying – I don’t know Chris.  I’ve never met him and have never talked to him.  Why he would feel compelled to send me such a ‘pleasant’ communication, I can’t fathom.

However, I am thankful to Chris.  I’m thankful because his e-mail message gives me an opportunity to talk a little bit about relationship networking.

Every time you communicate with someone (especially the first time) it is a chance to construct or deconstruct a relationship. This is the first time I’ve ever heard from Chris.  I’d have to say that “first contact” wasn’t very constructive.

I’m not sure what possesses people to send unsolicited criticism to someone they don’t know.  But it seems to be happening more and more in this digital world.  I can’t imagine that Chris would have the chutzpa to say this to someone if he were face-to-face with them.  However, the digital world is ripe with cyber critics who can say what they want and feel more removed from the situation via the internet (it’s possible that being outside striking distance may have something to do with that).

I went back and looked at the “offending” video.  Since Chris didn’t specify what “offended” him, I have no idea what was said that was so offensive to him.  As for “amateurish,” well, I understand that opinions are like noses, everyone has one (that’s the G-Rated version of this saying).  Despite knowing the opinion thing, I thought I should look at the video again closely.  It was shot by a professional videographer.  It had multiple camera angles, professional lighting, and even makeup (maybe that was offensive to Chris?).  I’ve had people say that this video was a bit “artsy” with the cutaways being a little distracting.  Some people didn’t like the switching between black & white and color.  At least those comments were specific and constructive.   But, amateurish – really?  I thought maybe this guy had some amazing website that would put my video to shame so I checked it out.  Ahh, rather than go to the dark side, let’s just say I wouldn’t refer him based on his website.

Here’s the bottom line:  if you want to succeed in life, make your own business better and be sparing in the way you criticize others.

I know, I know, some people just can’t help themselves.  So, if you just can’t hold back and you feel compelled to vent on some other poor unsuspecting soul, consider these four things before you press “send” on your nasty-gram:

  1. Is your criticism unsolicited?  Unsolicited advice (especially from people you don’t know – is rarely appreciated).
  2. Do you know the person to whom you’re sending the criticism?  If not, why are you really sending it (other than to get something off YOUR chest and put it onto their shoulders)?
  3. Whether you know them or not – is your intention to give ‘constructive’ suggestions (otherwise known as meaningful, specific, positive ideas) or just to vent?  If it’s to vent – tell a friend who loves you instead and leave the person you don’t know alone.
  4. If you send this communication – will it help construct a relationship or deconstruct a relationship?  If it’s the latter – remember Mom’s advice: if you don’t have anything good to say, say nothing at all!

No one has ever built a statue to a critic.  It’s easy to tell other people what they are doing wrong.  It’s hard to do the right thing yourself.

Have you ever had this type of experience?  If so, what did you do?  What would you add to my list above?  I’d love to hear your thoughts on this matter.

 

This is International Networking Week

What are you doing for International Networking Week?

2012 marks the 6th annual celebration of International Networking Week which is now recognized by many countries across the globe, with thousands of events being held during the celebratory Week. One of the main goals of the Week is to help businesspeople everywhere build their networking skills and expand the opportunities within their reach and, in the video, my Business Networking and Sex co-authors and I offer some very valuable pointers on where to focus your efforts in order to make the most of International Networking Week.

This short, 9-minute video, sponsored by Referral Institute (www.ReferralInstitute.com) and Entrepreneur Press (www.Entrepreneur.com), explains how the week of February 6th-10th, 2012 will bring about great opportunities for businesspeople around the world and increase worldwide awareness about the powerful benefits of business networking.

For additional Information, please visit www.InternationalNetworkingWeek.com.  This is a great time to invite your friends and associates to a network you belong to.

Tell me, what will you do this week to help your networking efforts?

Business Networking and Sex: Not What You Think

Business Networking And Sex (not what you think)

Business Networking and Sex (not what you think) is officially released this week in bookstores.  This book was more fun to work on than any book I’ve ever written.  My co-authors: Frank De Raffele and Hazel Walker were fantastic to work with.

You may be wondering what sex has to do with networking.  You may also be excited to learn how to use your sexual prowess to influence business deals.  Well, get your mind out of the gutter!  Sorry to burst your bubble, but this book is really more about gender than sex, but who’s going to want a book called Business Networking and Gender (do you hear the crickets chirping)?  Not many people walk around thinking about gender, but many people think many times a day about well, you know.

The book is based on the findings from a survey that we conducted.  Over a four-year period, more than 12,000 businesspeople from every populated continent of the world participated in a study focused around 25 simple questions.  Beyond irritating you, the answers may also make you excited and motivated to learn how to work with the opposite sex.

So, pick up a copy of the book – if you dare.  But be WARNED.  It might make you angry.  Oh, and there’s some statistics too.

If you would like a sample chapter or would like more information, go to www.BusinessNetworkingAndSex.com If you have an advance copy of the book – tell me what you like most about it.  What surprised you?  What annoyed you?

 

 

Year-End is Time for Vision Making

Each year, a few days before New Year’s Eve, I head off to my mountain retreat in Big Bear Lake, California, to recharge my batteries. It’s a great opportunity to spend time with the family and prepare for the onslaught of the coming year.

It’s also a good time to give some thought to the vision you have for your business and life over the next year.

It’s hard to hit a target you’re not aiming at. The new year is a great time to think about some of your plans and goals for the next 12 months (and beyond). Even if all you have is a couple days, take the time at the end of every year to slow down and do some “vision making” for your business. Remember that a successful businessperson needs to work “on” the business as well as “in” the business. Work “on” your business this month by creating your vision for 2012.

This is what I did back in the mid 1980’s when I had some time to reflect on this little networking enterprise that I started, called BNI.  It was during one of these year-end retreats that I created an organization chart for my company as part of my 5 year plan.  At the time, I had two part-time employees.  However, I created an organization chart with 15 different boxes on it.  I put my name in about 11 or 12 of the boxes for the areas I was responsible for and I put my part-timer’s names in the boxes for the areas they were responsible for.

Over the next 5 years, I scratched my name out of each box and put someone else’s name in that box as I hired someone to handle that area.  It was a great exercise that helped me achieve my goals over the next 5 years and it came from one of my year-end retreats.  Clearing your mind and thinking about your the future of your business can be a very good thing this time of year.  Even if you only have a couple days – get away and do some vision making.

If you use this time of year to think about your goals for the future, tell me what you do here in my blog.

Have a great New Year!

Ivan

 

Business Networking and Sex . . . and Shopping?

In this video, my Business Networking and Sex co-authors and I explain the very different ways in which men and women shop for any given item and, aside from learning a thing or two from this one, I guarantee you won’t be able to keep from laughing at Frank and Hazel’s antics!

After watching the video, come back and leave a comment . . . do you think the observations we talk about in this video ring true in your experience?

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