Networking commandments 6-10. If you haven’t heard the first 5 commandments, go back and listen to Episode 32.
6. Give referrals whenever possible.
7. Ask each person you meet for one or two cards to pass on and one for yourself.
8. Spend no more than 10 minutes with each person.
9. Write notes on the back of business cards you collect (unless you’re in Asia).
10. Follow up!
Check out Dr. Misner’s book It’s in the Cards for ideas about business cards.
Brought to you by Networking Now.
Complete Transcription of BNI Podcast Episode 033 -
Hello everybody and welcome back to the official BNI podcast, brought to you by networkingnow.com, the leading site on the net for networking downloadables. Im Priscilla Rice coming from Live Oak Recording Studio in Berkeley, California. I am joined on the phone today by Founder and Chairman of BNI, Dr. Ivan Misner who is calling from BNI headquarters. How are you, Ivan?
Im doing great, Priscilla. Thank you.
What do you have to share with us today?
Today were going to talk about part two of the ten commandments of networking at a mixer. They are items six through ten. They begin with giving referrals whenever possible. That is number six.
The listeners to this podcast, if they havent heard part one, should listen to part one and then come to this one. Were starting with number six, which is give referrals whenever possible.
The best networkers really believe in the philosophy of givers gain which is actually based on the social capital theory of the law of reciprocity. That basically means that whenever you have an opportunity, give a referral. If you are talking to someone and they express some kind of need that they have, you want to refer them to the appropriate person.
One of the first ten commandments talks about listening and asking questions. By asking questions, people will open up and maybe tell you things. It might be something simple like a challenge that they are having. You might be able to refer them to an article or to an actual product or service that they need, where you can refer them to someone. Whenever you can help someone, that is an important aspect of networking and you should keep that in mind as part of the networking process. That is number six of the ten commandments.
I just want to say that its really fun to give referrals. It makes you happy.
It does. It helps people and it feels good. Its a great way to do business. In networking in general and BNII in particular, they are a great way to get business but they are an even better way to do business. This is an example of that.
Number seven is exchange business cards. Ask each person that you meet for one or two cards to pass on to someone and one for yourself. May I have one of your cards? Take their card and thank them and then give them your card. Generally, if you ask for their card, they will do the same.
Exchanging cards is very important and sometimes people will spend several minutes with somebody talking but they never ask for their card. They cant follow up without that. Its one of the least expensive and most important forms of advertising that anyone has.
If you need to work on your business card, I wrote a book with Dan Georgevich and Candace Bailly a number of years ago called Its in the Cards. Listeners to this podcast may want to take a look at it. Its available at Amazon.com. It talks about how to design cards. Its a real good book.
Great. I think its nice to ask for a card because its kind of a generous action. Youre not just shoving your card in somebodys face.
You are absolutely correct. If you ask for somebody elses card, that is usually the way that I approach it to give somebody a card. I ask them for theirs first, which makes it easier then for me to give my card to them.
The eighth of the ten commandments is to spend ten minutes or less with each person that you meet. Dont linger with friends and associates. Ive gone to so many meetings where I see people stand there and talk to people that they already know for an hour. I remember going to one event and there were the same two bankers talking to each other in this corner. They were with the same bank. A little while later, I walked by and saw that there was a third person, and I thought they are finally networking. I noticed it was a woman who was also with the same branch of the same bank!
On our way out the door, these two guys were in front of me and I actually heard one turn to the other and say, I dont know why the boss keeps sending us to these mixers. I didnt get any business out of it, did you? Its like if you snooze, you lose. These two guys were in the corner for an hour talking to each other and they couldnt figure out why they didnt get any business.
Its not called net-eating or net-talking. Its called networking. You have to work the organization. Get around in the people. Dont spend the whole evening with just a handful of people.
The ninth of the ten commandments is an interesting one at first glance, it looks pretty clear-cut, but it can actually be little more complex. That is write notes on the back of business cards that you collect. Record things that you think may be useful in remembering them.
For example, when I go to an event, I may meet 20 to 40 people. Some of those people, I want to reconnect with or I have promised them something. I flip the card over and write on the back. I always ask them if they mind if I write this on the back of their card. They always say yes. I have never had some anyone say no.
There is something really important if you travel. Dont even ask to write on the back of a business card throughout most of Asia because it is not considered good form to write on the card. Its a different kind of thing. In North America, where I am from, you can toss somebody a business card from the corner. You can almost toss it to them and its no big deal.
But in Asia, they have a whole ritual in handing out cards. I dont know if you have ever seen it before or not, but in Japan, its called the meishi ritual, where you literally hold it by the corners, present it to someone and bow. Someone is supposed to accept it, comment on the card, bow and thank them. It is a little ritual, so writing on the card is bad form.
Use this technique only where appropriate and do not do it where its not appropriate. I have a little note pad with me when Im in Asia and I write on that rather than on the card.
Did you ever make that mistake?
Luckily, I did not. Mind you, we could have a whole podcast or two on all of the mistakes that I have made- and I have made some good ones internationally- but luckily, I have learned to ask people in advance before I do this. You bring up a good point. I think we should have a podcast in the not too distant future about doing business worldwide because I have a lot of recommendations, this being one example.
I think that would be really fun. I would love to hear it. Okay, so what is your last one?
The tenth of the ten commandments of networking at mixers is follow up. You can follow the previous nine commandments religiously, but if you dont follow up effectively, youve wasted your time. You have to drop a note, give a call or e-mail.
A lot of people ask me what the best form to follow up is. Well, I would have to say that a handwritten note is probably best, but I am horrible at doing handwritten notes. Conceptually, a handwritten note is best, but if you know that youre not going to do it, is it really best for you? The answer would be no.
Its one of the reasons why in one of my books, Truth or Delusion, I recommended sendoutcards.com which is a good strategic alliance partner with BNI. We recommend them often because it looks like a handwritten note but you can do it right from your computer. Its a great service and I highly recommend it.
No matter which way you are going to do it, you have to follow up with those people that you promised to follow up with and that you have an interest in. Otherwise, you have completely wasted your time at the mixer. With those five, those are the total ten commandments of networking between part one in part two of these podcasts.
Thats great information. Thank you, Dr. Ivan Misner. I think thats all we have time for this week. Thanks for listening. This is Priscilla Rice, and we will see you next week on the official BNI podcast which has been brought to you by networkingnow.com.