Networking Lessons from Prize-Winning Corn

What is one of the most important things you need to know about networking?

If you want to get more business, you must be willing to give business to other businesspeople.

That is why I founded my networking organization, BNI, on the central, guiding philosophy of giving benefit to others – Givers Gain®. It is an ethical theme that is common to all religions and all cultures: Treat others the way you want to be treated.

The underlying foundation of this truth is built on the concept that what goes around comes around. However, it is more complex than that. Networking is about relationship building. Over the past 40 years, I have found that the best way to quickly build a relationship with someone is to help them firstIf you want to get referrals, focus on how you can give referrals to others.

This is a story that I originally heard from a BNI Director some time ago. It is a great metaphor about the way that effective business networking works.

The Corn Story

A farmer in the U.S. state of Nebraska won the state fair four times in a row with his corn. Nobody had ever done that before, so the newspaper sent someone out to interview him.

The reporter asked, “What is your secret? Do you use special corn seed?”

The farmer said, “Absolutely. I develop my own corn seed, and that’s an important aspect of it.”

“Well, then, that’s your secret,” said the reporter. “You plant a type of corn that’s different from your neighbors.”

“No,” said the farmer, “I also give it to my neighbors who are also farmers.”

“You give it to your neighbors?” asked the incredulous reporter. “Why in the world would you give your award-winning corn to your neighbors?”

The farmer said, “Well, you’ve got to understand how corn is pollinated. It’s pollinated from neighboring fields. And if you’ve got fields around you that don’t have this top-quality corn, your field is not going to grow top-quality corn either. But if my neighbor’s field has this really strong corn, then I have awesome corn. And that’s how I’ve won at the Nebraska State Fair the last four years in a row.”

Think about it – this really is a key concept for successful business networking. To put it simply, if you’re going to be an effective networker, you need to go into networking with a commitment to helping other people because that is how you will be helped in return.

I’d love to hear from you. What are your thoughts?

4 thoughts on “Networking Lessons from Prize-Winning Corn

  1. Thank you, Mr. Ivan Misner, for sharing such an inspiring story about networking. Networking is a reliable method for building relationships and connections that enable mutual business growth. This is why BNI is the most successful organization in the world. Thank you, and I am proud to be a BNI member.

  2. Destribuir conhecimento, experiencias e fortalecer o proximo. Todos com plantações ferteis é sucesso garantido.

    Fradik Rocha
    Srs Wash – BNI CERRADO GOIANIA

  3. Wonderful web site Lots of useful info here Im sending it to a few friends ans additionally sharing in delicious And obviously thanks to your effort

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