Episode 305: Networking Is Simple, but NOT Easy (Classic Podcast)

BNI Podcast Album Art 300 px

This is a rebroadcast of Episode 64.


This episode is based on a blog post Dr. Misner wrote. Successful networking isn’t about what you know, it’s about what you do.

Ignorance on fire is better than knowledge on ice. The only thing more powerful is knowledge on fire.

Networking is a skill that looks simple but takes constant effort to apply. Success is the uncommon application of common knowledge.

The assignment for everyone listening to this podcast is to think of one idea that you’ve read or heard over the past year that you wanted to apply to life but never got around to doing—and do it in the next seven days.

Then come back and post a comment about what it was and what you did.

Brought to you by Networking Now.

Podcast intro recorded by Tony Wolfe.

Complete Transcription of BNI Podcast Episode 305 –

Priscilla Rice:
Hello everyone. Welcome back to the Official BNI Podcast brought to you by networkingnow.com, the leading site on the net for networking downloadables. I’m Priscilla Rice and I’m coming to you from Live Oak Recording Studio in Berkley, California. I’m joined on the phone today by the Founder and the Chairman of BNI, Dr. Ivan Misner. Hello Ivan, how are you doing?

Ivan Misner:
I’m doing great, Priscilla. I’ve been traveling all over the world for BNI this year and I’m actually in town for a couple of weeks. It’s great to do the podcast.

Well we’re glad to have you. Tell us a little bit about what this topic is.

The topic is based on a blog that I did called, Networking Is Simple But Not Easy. It’s really true. Networking is very simple, just not very easy. If it were easy, everyone would do it and they would do it really well. But they don’t. They absolutely don’t. This podcast is not a podcast about the step by step processes that you need to employ to network effectively. Instead it’s a podcast about getting the listeners to stop and think about all the articles, the books, the blogs, the podcasts that they’ve read or listened to and aren’t doing. This is a podcast to get them to stop and think about what they should be doing, rather than what they know or what they should know.

I do a lot of presentations around the world talking about how to apply networking to your everyday life and sometimes I have someone come up and say to me, “I’ve heard people talk about some of those things before.” Well you know what? Hearing it for a year versus doing it for a year are completely different things. Success is about the doing not just the knowing. In fact I believe that ignorance on fire is better than knowledge on ice. I love that phrase. I don’t know i f you’ve ever heard it before. Ignorance on fire is better that knowledge on ice. This is said by somebody with ten years of college. I absolutely believe that if somebody’s on fire and they’ve got a great idea and they’re ready to run with it, that that’s more powerful than all the knowledge in the world. The only thing more powerful is knowledge on fire.

There’s so many ways in life, there’s so many things in life that look simple but are in fact, not easy. If you understand how to do it in your own fire about it, you can make it work and work well for you. Here’s an example of what I’m talking about and I’ll give you two or three examples. Cooking is one of those examples for me. It always looks so simple. My wife can go into the kitchen and put a gourmet meal together in about 30-40 minutes. Then I go into the kitchen and I burn water.

Small repairs around the house, these things look so so simple. Then I pick up a hammer, and well, it’s just not pretty. That’s when I’m reminded that I’m missing the handyman gene. It skips a generation in my family. My dad can fix anything. He’s incredibly capable with a tool box and I’m not. This is absolutely true, I’m not making any of this up. When I was seventeen years old, he brought me into the garage and said to me, “Son, you better go to college because you’re never going to make a living with your hands.” I thought that was really good advice.

Golf is another one. Looks simple, right? Now I’m not talking about professional competition, I mean just going out and smacking a ball around some grass. Looks really simple, but I’ve learned it’s not easy. There are so many things in our lives that look simple but aren’t easy, and networking is one of them. It’s a skill. It’s a skill that takes commitment and effort to learn and apply consistently.

Can I ask you, what do you think are the not easy parts of networking?

I think it’s the week to week process of putting it to work. The concepts sound easy but it’s the application of it. It’s like I do a presentation on keeping the fun in the fundamentals and I tell a story about football. And how when I played football we had to do all the conditioning necessary, all the conditioning exercises to have a successful team. Part of the conditioning was the wind sprints. I hated the wind sprints, but guess what? The wind sprints were part of the conditioning and it wasn’t easy. How hard is it to run ten yards, turn around and run back ten yards? Not that hard. It’s a very simple concept, it’s just not easy. It’s hard work. The secret to success without hard work is still a secret. It takes a lot of work.

So I’m giving an assignment to all the listeners today. Sorry, my inner professor’s coming out. The assignment to everyone listening to this podcast is to think of one idea that they have read in a book, or an article or that they’ve heard on a recording over the past year. Any idea and it doesn’t have to be just about networking, it can be anything on business, anything that they’ve heard in the last year that they want to apply to their life but never got around to doing. Your assignment is to find that article, locate that something you wanted to do, and within the next seven days do it. Now if it’s something you do on an ongoing basis, then find a way to incorporate it into your life or your business and do it on a regular basis. All excuses are equal. You have to do it. So what I want you to do is to put a message up on this podcast about what it is and what you did to start applying it. Because success I believe, is the uncommon application of common knowledge. You have the knowledge, now apply it with uncommon commitment. It won’t be easy, but I assure you it’s simple.

That’s great. I have an example that I just thought of when you were talking, which is making phone calls to your clients. It sounds so easy because we make phone calls all the time. But it isn’t easy because something takes over and inhibits you from doing that.

That’s a great example. It is simple, I mean come on, it’s a phone call, how hard is that? But it’s not easy because to do it consistently is where it becomes a challenge. Finding the time, cutting it out of your schedule and blocking it in and doing it. Having meaningful conversations, it’s not easy. So much of what I talk about in business and in networking is very, very simple. But it’s not easy. If it were easy, everyone would be successful. So for those of you listening to this thinking this is so easy. Ask yourself, Are you achieving what you want to achieve in life. If you’re not, then I think it’s because you’re not applying these concepts consistently. It’s hard work. I feel like I’ve achieved some level of success and I’d be the first to tell you that it takes a little bit of hard work to do it. It’s not easy to do.

Yeah. I think we’ve just about come to the end of this podcast and it’s a good point you’ve made. It’s a good tying up point. Do you have anything else you would like to share?

No. I appreciate having the opportunity to do these podcasts and I’d love to have those of you listening to it to comment on what it is in your life that you want to accomplish that is simple but not easy. I’d love to see some comments on this one.

Okay great. Thank you. I think that’s it for this week. This podcast has been brought to you by networkingnow.com which is the leading site on the net for networking downloadables. Thanks so much for listening. This is Priscilla Rice, and we hope you’ll join us next week for another exciting episode of the Official BNI Podcast.


  1. says

    just listened to your podcast. Making a database and sending out newsletters and information is one of the things that has been on my list to do. This is a very important thing to stay in touch with clients and potential client for constant networking.

  2. says

    For me the sales and closing may be easier than the execution for the sale or the service as I’m constantly trying to better my internal structures for executing our services.

  3. Milind Joshi , Pune , Maharashtra, India says

    Just listened to your podcast. Sorting visiting cards received during previous networking meetings as per “Episode 199: “Sorting Out Who’s Who”

  4. says

    Man is the title on this one true. I work very hard to walk the walk and talk the talk of great networking. Plus I work hard to share what I have learned from BNI with member of my chapter and others. On the up side I think my work is helping me and others. One step at a time again and again. VCP all the way everyday. Everyday I practice givers gain by giving with no expectation of return. It has paid in several unexpected ways. Thanks for the help.

  5. Jacob Vaden says

    I am a new employee at my business and learning a lot of important things at once to become a successful member of my team. Reading about prospecting and networking isn’t nearly as intimating at actually getting out and doing it. I am struggling most with where to begin? I am trying to soak up as much information as possible about the business as well as the process of prospecting, setting up an appointment, and closing a sale. This week, I plan on tagging along to some of coworker’s appointments to observe how it should go and take it all in to begin preparing how to successfully do it on my own.

Solutions-focused comments are welcome