BNI Archives - Dr. Ivan Misner®
elephant

How to Network with the Elephant in the Room

Experienced networkers understand that networking is not always a perfect 100% satisfaction guaranteed activity. A member can sometimes have a problem with another person in their networking group. However, instead of talking with this person to resolve the problem, the member avoids this person due to their personal discomfort, and the unresolved problem can grow into a larger situation. Now, the situation has created “the elephant in the room”, which could cause drama within the networking group.

Drama can occur in any group where wide varieties of people and personalities interact. This is also true in business networking groups that meet weekly for in-person or online meetings. If the physical avoidance between these two members is obvious to others at the networking meeting, the negativity from the situation could be felt by others in the group as “the elephant in the room”, potentially causing drama within the group.

What is “the elephant in the room”?

The elephant in the roomis defined as “a metaphorical idiom for an enormous topic or controversial issue that is obvious or that everyone knows about but no one mentions or wants to discuss because it makes at least some of them uncomfortable”. The member, due to discomfort, ignored the initial problem with the other person and avoided them during the group meetings. Therefore, the unresolved problem grew into a larger situation that became very obvious to the other members of the networking group. The initial problem between these two members evolved into “the elephant in the room” for the entire networking group. So, how do you tame and remove the elephant? Here are three of the most common situations why a networking group might have “the elephant in the room” and my suggestions for gracefully taming each of them:

Elephant #1: Poor Referrals

The reason for joining a networking group is to build strong relationships with the members to refer business to one another. Normally, this is a win-win for the member receiving the referral because their business grows with a new client, as well as a win for the member who gave the referral because of Givers Gain®. However, a small percentage of referrals may be poor referrals. They take up time but do not result in closed business. When something goes wrong and a member receives a poor referral, this can create the first elephant.

People who are experiencing a problem with a fellow member tend to talk about the problem to other members instead of talking directly with the fellow member that they are experiencing the problem with. This can actually make the problem worse.

Talk with the member giving you poor referrals.

In most of these situations, nothing was wrong with the actual referral. Usually, the problem was simply caused by miscommunication. Do not perpetuate problems by avoiding open, honest communication with others. Take the time to talk about it in a non-confrontational way. Talking right away will avoid making these awkward situations even worse.

Elephant #2: Personal Disagreements

Networking would be so much easier if people were not involved. Although networking is all about building relationships with people, personal disagreements are inevitable and problems occur. Avoiding each other due to discomfort and not talking with each other to resolve the disagreement creates the second elephant.

Focus on the solution rather than on the problem.

If you only focus on the problem, you become an expert on the problem. All too often, when facing a problem, the first thing we tend to do is focus on the negative situation. This tends to move us further from finding a way to fix it and that does not help the problem.

You must begin to start focusing on ways to resolve the situation by focusing on solutions. Rather than react, take the time to fully analyze the problem then make a list of possible solutions. When we think of ways to overcome our problems, we are prepared for the next problem down the road. Often, all that is needed is honest and direct communication between the two members to solve the disagreement.

Elephant #3: Breakups Between Members

Networking groups tend to attract like-minded people. Sometimes they bring two of their members together for more than just business. Over the years, I have known many couples that dated, fell in love, got married, and started a family together all because they first met at their networking group. On the other hand, this can quickly create the third elephant if the relationship ends badly and the two members remain in the same group after the messy breakup.

Take the higher ground and continue to network.

Given the value of your network, it is worth working through those feelings if you find yourself in a breakup with another member of your networking group. Do not lose your network of valuable referral sources you have built. The more professional you remain following the breakup, the higher your regard will be by your group. Therefore, remember not to talk badly about the other person or discuss the breakup situation with other members of the group.

Whatever the reason, many people involved in business networking may one day face a situation with “the elephant in the room”. Remember not to focus on growing the problem but on growing your business. Do not burn bridges with people in your group by avoiding them or the uncomfortable situation. Instead, talk to them about your concerns. You never know what the future will bring. You might end up being friends and valued referral partners with the former elephant.

2020 International Networking Week

2020 International Networking Week ®

The 2020 International Networking Week ® is an initiative of BNI®. It is an opportunity for business owners to show appreciation for their valued customers and contacts from networking.

This will be a week of global recognition and gratitude from February 2 through 8, 2020 to thank those business owners who have helped you to grow your business while networking. Furthermore, this year’s action item is to recognize and thank those people in your BNI chapter, chamber of commerce,  and other networking organizations. Take a moment to say, “Thank You” in person, in your meeting, and on various social media platforms.
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The focus of International Networking Week is to bring together representatives of government, businesses and community leaders from around the world to network and to recognize the power of networking. Speakers will offer advice and information on how businesses can grow and succeed through good networking practices.
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The 13th Annual 2020 International Networking Week is just around the corner. Therefore, it’s time to build your powerful personal network now. Invite various business owners who have helped you to grow your business to your BNI chapter or to your networking mixer. Invite them to network and to recognize the power of networking from February 2 through 8, 2020. Check out the promo video for the 13th Annual 2020 International Networking Week. Please use the hashtag with your photos and posts: #INW2020

 

The 2020 International Networking Week theme is “One Million Thank Yous”

Expressing gratitude completes the feeling of connection. Many people in your life have helped you in one way or another. Therefore, have you thanked them? Consider sending a letter to someone telling them what their actions meant to you, even if—especially if—it happened long ago.   It costs little or nothing. Furthermore, it almost always follows suit that they will demonstrate their gratitude for what you do.

When you show an interest in others by noticing the good things they’ve done; they will be drawn to you like a magnet.  Therefore, it will accelerate the relationship-building process and enhance their overall impression of you.”

In conclusion, the goal of International Networking Week is to celebrate the key role that networking plays in the development and success of businesses across the world. Networking events are being held globally to celebrate International Networking Week. For more information about these international events during the first week of February or to promote your local networking event on our 2020 International Networking Week website please see: internationalnetworkingweek.com

International Networking Week 2019

International Networking Week 2019®

International Networking Week 2019® is an initiative of BNI®. International Networking Week 2019 will feature a number of networking events across the world!

The 2019 International Networking Week® is just around the corner. Therefore, it’s time to build a powerful personal network. Invite your best client to your BNI chapter or to your networking mixer during February 4 through 8, 2019. Check out the promo video for next year’s International Networking Week®. #BNIINW19

Are you planning on participating in the 2019 International Networking Week®

Therefore, join us for the 12th Annual International Networking Week® on February 4-8, 2019.

This Year’s International Networking Week 2019 Theme: “A New World of Opportunity!”

Please watch this video to learn about INW and how you can invite your best client to your BNI chapter during this week. In addition, opportunities occur anywhere for referrals.

The goal of International Networking Week® is to celebrate the key role that networking plays in the development and success of businesses across the world. Therefore, simultaneous events are held globally to celebrate International Networking Week®. In conclusion, for more information or to promote your local networking event please see internationalnetworkingweek.com

International Networking Week 2018

International Networking Week 2018®

International Networking Week 2018® is an initiative of BNI®. International Networking Week 2018 will feature a number of networking events across the world!

The 2018 International Networking Week® is just around the corner. Are you prepared to build a powerful personal network by inviting a diverse group people to your networking meeting from February 5 through 9, 2018? Check out the promo video for next year’s International Networking Week®. #BNIINW18

Are you planning on participating in International Networking Week®

Join us for the 11th Annual International Networking Week® on February 5-9, 2018

This Year’s International Networking Week Theme: DIVERSITY!

Networks are by nature “clumpy”. We tend to surround ourselves with people who are like us—but that’s not the most powerful kind of network. People tend to cluster together based on education, age, ethnicity, professional status, etc. Therefore, when we surround ourselves with people who have similar contacts it may be difficult to make connections with new people or companies with whom we desire to do business. The more diverse your network, the more powerful it is. It’s the people who are not like you who can connect you to a completely new “cluster.”

One of the most important keys to being successful at building a powerful personal network is diversity. A diverse personal network enables you to have people in your circle as connectors to other people in communities where you may lack contacts.

Please watch this video to learn more…

The goal of International Networking Week® is to celebrate the key role that networking plays in the development and success of businesses across the world. Simultaneous events will be held globally to celebrate International Networking Week®. For more information or to promote your local networking event please see internationalnetworkingweek.com

The Networking Scorecard™ App provides you with a mobile solution to measuring your networking efforts. If you’re ready to build connections that turn relationships into profitable customers, this mobile app is for you! The map can be downloaded from the Google play store. However, the app will soon available in the Apple Store for iPhones. GET THE MOBILE APP on Android or Sign up for the soon-to-be-released Apple version

State Side Once Again

Passion. Energy. Gratitude.

Those tokens are what I remember from those who attended the BNI Conferences of Italy and England.

For those of you who don’t know, my wife Beth and I were in Europe the past three weeks traveling to Italy and England for their BNI National Conferences. This was our first trip to Italy, and  I hadn’t visited England in several years, so this was a big deal for all those involved.

One of the reasons I enjoy traveling to the international conferences, is because I love meeting the people who drive BNI: our Members. Business owners who are working hard to make it in the world, who are dedicated to our core values, who are passionate about learning ways to make their business better. Seeing their energy and their commitment is what drives me to keep producing content and find new ways to give real people real advice on networking and small business performance.

In Italy, what impressed me the most was the hospitality of the people. The warmth and kindness was palpable and I had no problem opening up–even with the language barrier. Like I always say, networking is the same in any language, and culture can’t stop people from interacting from one another. (In fact, I challenge you to network with someone who practices a different culture than you do– you might be surprised at just how similar you are.) Everyone wants to succeed, everyone wants to use the tools given to them in the right way–which is something I felt deeply from Italian Members. At every turn there was someone shaking my hand, thanking me for helping them push through some of the hardest times of their professional lives–for that, I am grateful.

Our Members in England were unique in their energy, to be sure. The excitement and enthusiasm was something I wish I could bottle and take whenever I need a boost! Once I took the stage on Friday at their conference’s Members Day, the Tweets began multiplying like fireworks–hundreds within a mere few hours. It wasn’t ignorance on fire, but passion, which is even better. They took every word of my speech to heart, hung on every word, which made me feel completely humbled and appreciative. I look over those tweets and think, “Wow! They liked me–they really liked me!”

Take a look through this photo album and see if you can feel what I felt during that time. It was truly something I will never forget.

 

 

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Ivan on fire

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ivan17ivan15ivan14ivan13ivan11ivan10Ivan8.2ivan12

 

 

 

 

 

Ignorance Fire

Is Ignorance on Fire Ever a Good Thing?

Ignorance on fire

The following video is part of my new “Ivanism” Garage to Global series, hosted by Entrepreneur.com, where I expand on catch phrases I have used frequently over the years.

 

I know, it’s a strange concept: “Ignorance on fire is better than knowledge on ice.”

Most people read that statement and think, someone who’s excited but ignorant can do more harm than good.

I’m here to tell you that the opposite of your intuition is true. That’s right–and you’ll see why below.

 

Red Nose Day

What better what to celebrate a normal Thursday, than by putting on a red nose?

Trust me, it’s for a good cause–no–a GREAT cause.

Red Nose Day brings awareness and fundraising efforts to children’s charities across the globe. At the BNI Foundation, we support children in education, so this movement seemed like a great fit for us to support. Nonprofits such as charity: water, National Urban League and Save the Children will benefit from 100% of the proceeds raised through Red Nose Day.

Tonight, NBC will host a special featuring live entertainment from well-known celebrities such as Ellen DeGeneres, Jimmy Fallon and U2, all while fundraising for children living in poverty.

Beth and I hope you tune in and donate to this very worthy cause. And meanwhile, enjoy this clip of us donning our own red noses!

MSNBC’s Your Business

On Thursday, I was swept off to a land far, far away.

OK, not that far away. But TV has to be dramatic, doesn’t it?

Even though I was close to home, I visited the homes of millions by appearing as a guest on MSNBC’s Your Business, with host JJ Ramberg. I was featured as an expert on referral networking (imagine that!) and spoke about how it can positively affect small businesses. The entire experience was easier than I expected and JJ was well-prepared and professional–and I’m sure glad she was, because it really helped ease my nerves.

And of course, I couldn’t get out the door without using referral networking. The producer asked if I could refer her to other BNI experts to be featured guests! (Who knows–maybe it could be YOU!)

Check out the clip below and tell me what you think.

You are not entitled to referrals

That’s right-you read correctly.

Referrals come from cultivating real relationships. They come from putting the work into your networking by giving others referrals before expecting them in return. They don’t come from sitting idly in a meeting, watching others getting referrals and wondering where yours are.

Are you wondering just how to get that referral pipe flowing?

1. Become a farmer. Except you’re not cultivating seeds, but relationships. You’re not harvesting produce, but referrals. Networking is about farming for new contacts (and referrals,) not hunting them. Have One-to-Ones with your chapter members. Get to know them and their business well so you can begin to pass referrals to them. This is how you cultivate a relationship-show genuine interest and make an honest attempt at helping them succeed. You’ll build trust with one another, which makes the next step much easier.  referral

2. Find a referral partner. As I write in my book, Truth or Delusion, “There is a way to the flow of referrals predicable and adjustable.” After you’ve gotten to know your fellow chapter members, choose one to partner up with to pass referrals back and forth to one another. Pick someone who needs referrals you can provide (for example, if you have a toy shop owner in your Chapter but you have no kids and rarely interact with them, they might not be the best partner for you.) Determine what types of referrals you need and ask your partner to do the same; then, exchange specific referrals based on your own networks. Begin to set up meetings with your referrals and if it’s appropriate, bring your partner with you. Afterward, analyze the meetings with your partner and use as much detail as possible.

3. Get your PH.D. in Networking. Ok, not literally. But you can become a gatekeeper of networks as you begin to connect your network with another person’s, and then another person’s, and then continue to build upon it. Become the go-to person in your business community-the person others come to if they needed a referral for anything. “Know a trustworthy plumber? Yeah, ask Susan-she knows everybody!” But instead of becoming the human phone book, you are connecting people in your community with good, honest businesses. This will not only help you build your network referrals, but it will also force you to continue to build and deepen your relationships and provide you with an excellent reputation.

What process has worked for you when referral gathering?

 

How One Teacher Changed My Life

In honor of teacher appreciation week, I wanted to share with you all a moment with one of my teachers, Mr. Romero, who had a profound impact on my life.

I was 14 years old and I still remember the discussion vividly. It was a discussion that forever changed my perspective of what I could and could not do.

It was the end of my sophomore year and I had been on the student council for two years.  He asked me into his office and told me that I did a great job over the past two years and that I should run for Student Activities Director.  I remember clearly telling him I couldn’t run, because I was only a sophomore and that I would be a junior next year; all the top positions in Student Leadership were Seniors. 

I’ll never forget him looking at me and saying, “So?” 

I said that I didn’t think any junior had ever held a top position on the student council.  Again, he challenged me. I said, “Ivan is DeterminedWhat do you mean – so?, I can’t run.”  “Why not?,” he said. “Just because it’s never been done, doesn’t mean it can’t be done. I think you’d do great. You should run.”   I thought about it all night as I tossed and turned over whether I should break from the norm and run.

The next day I came in and filled out the forms to run for Activities Director. Low and behold, I ran–and I won. It was an amazing experience, knowing that I defied the odds and turned the tide for my fellow classmates who might be encouraged to run next year. I was the first junior to hold a top leadership role at the high school. 

At the end of the year, Mr. Romero called me into his office again and said, “You did a great job this year. What are your plans for next year?” I said I wasn’t sure. He said, “I am – you should run for President.  I think you’d be just as great in that role!” I thought about it overnight and came in the next day and filled out the paperwork. I ran and won. 

That role laid the groundwork for the person that I would become as an adult. It provided incredible challenges and amazing opportunities to work on my leadership skills. I will always be indebted to Mr. Romero for how he influenced me as a young man. He taught me to never accept something without first challenging and questioning it. It was this sentiment that has always pushed me to reach for the unreachable.

Introducing Garage to Global

Garage to Global

What does it take to start a home-based business and turn it into a global organization?  I am sharing the many lessons I’ve learned to do just that.

In 1985, I started a small business from my home in Southern California.  Today, BNI has ovBNI Member Growth Through 2014er 7,400 locations in more than 65 countries around the world (see the member growth chart to the right).

From business networking to management, scaling a business, and surrounding yourself with good people, I will be sharing with you the secrets for building a global brand.

Go here and subscribe to my new Garage to Global Channel (part of the Entrepreneur Network) on YouTube: http://tinyurl.com/garagetoglobal.

Share with me below what you think it takes to go from “garage to global” (but don’t forget to subscribe to my new channel. 🙂

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