Today’s podcast comes from Dr. Misner’s new book, The 29% Solution.
There are two elements involved in becoming a networking magnet:
- Your ability to attract people
- Your approachability
In order to stand out from your competition, you need to be the go-to person, the one with a broad network, the one who knows other people who can solve problems.
To maximize your approachability:
- Be ready to engage.
- Focus on Common Points of Interest (CPI).
- Give flavored answers (e.g. “Remarkable” instead of “Fine.”)
- Don’t cross your arms at networking events. Ever.
- Conquer your fear of rejection.
- Wear your name tag. A name is the piece of information most often forgotten.
Thanks to Scott Ginsberg for the approachability tips.
Brought to you by Networking Now.
Complete Transcription of BNI Podcast Episode 082 –
Hello everyone, and welcome back to The Official BNI Podcast brought to you by NetworkingNow.com, which is 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 Berkeley, California , and I am joined on the phone today by the founder and the chairman of BNI, Dr. Ivan Misner.
Hello, Ivan. It’s so nice to have you on the show.
What are you sharing with us?
Well, today I’m talking about how to develop a magnetic personality.
And it doesn’t involve walking around with magnets in your pocket. It’s actually material from a book that Michelle Donovan and I just released, 29% Solution, and we talk about the importance of developing a magnetic personality and networking.
There are two elements involved in becoming a magnet in terms of your networking efforts. The first is your ability to attract people, and the second is your approachability, the extent to which others perceive you as being open. Together, they influence how magnetic you are for your business.
In business, magnetism typically means being a center of influence. What if you become a living magnet for your business, who or what would be attracted to you? Being a center of influence involves positioning yourself to attract other people to you. That means becoming recognized as the “go to” person, the one with a broad network, the person who knows people who can solve other people’s problems. That’s the person you want to become because that’s who you need to be to stand out from your competition.
A magnet’s strength is related to the composition of the magnet, not necessarily the size of the magnet. You’ve probably heard of a person having a magnetic personality, right?
When something or someone is magnetic, the object or person has an extraordinary power or ability to track others. We tend to attract the people most like ourselves in our daily encounters. You may have experienced the challenges of trying to get into a group of six close friends who know each other, but they don’t know you. It’s difficult sometimes to stand out. Busy people attract other busy people making it more challenging to get that group together, but the rewards are great when you can get people together who connect effectively.
Let’s consider the second element of becoming magnetic, your approachability factor, and I think that’s a real important one to talk about for BNI members. Author and professional speaker, Scott Ginsberg, who has spoken at some of the BNI events around the country, has done extensive research on approachability in relationship. You may have heard of Scott; he’s also known as “The Nametag Guy.” He wears his nametag everywhere he goes; he wears it all the time whenever he walks out. I don’t know, you might have seen him wear it on his pajamas! He wears them everyplace he goes. And as the author of The Power of Approachability, he helps people maximize their approachability and become unforgettable.
Here’s a summary of Ginsberg’s tips on how to maximize your approachability. I’m going to give you about five or six of his points.
? First is: Be ready to engage.
When you arrive at a meeting, event, a party, or anywhere conversations will take place, prepare yourself. Be ready with conversation topics, questions, and stories in the back of your mind as soon as you meet someone. This will help you avoid awkward small talk.
? Second: Focus on, what he calls, CPI.
CPI stands for common points of interest. It’s an essential element in every conversation and interaction. Your duty as you meet new people or even as you talk with those you already know is to discover the CPI as soon as possible. It helps establish a bond between you and others, and it increases your approachability and allows them to feel more comfortable talking to you.
The tool that we use in BNI to do this is the GAINS Exchange. It’s the document you can get from a BNI director; it’s also in the book, Business by Referral, and it’s an acronym. It stands for Goals, Accomplishments, Interests, Networks, and Skills, and it definitely helps to establish common points of interest between you and other people.
? The third point is: Give flavored answers.
And I love this one. You’ve heard plenty of fruitless questions in your interactions, questions like, “How’s it going,” “What’s up,” “How are you.” Well, when such questions come up, Scott warns don’t fall into the conversation ending trap of responding, “Fine. I’m doing all right.” Instead, offer a flavored answer, “Amazing,” “Any better, I’d be twins,” “Everything is beautiful.’
Norm Dominguez, our CEO for BNI, always says, “Remarkable.” And he says, “I always use that term because it could be remarkably good or it could be remarkably bad, but I can say ‘Remarkable’ every time, and it comes out positive.”
Here’s my favorite one, and I think I’ve done this with you, Priscilla. So when someone says, “Well, how are you doing, Ivan,” I’ll say, “If I were doing any better, I’d cancel my life insurance.” You like that one? That always goes over really well with everyone but life insurance agents.
You did something like that with me, I think.
And I’ve got to say if my life insurance agent, who is a BNI member, is listening, I’m just kidding, Mike. I’m not going to cancel my life insurance.
Scott says offer a flavored answer. That’s really important because nobody expects it. Not only that, but offering a true response to magnify the way you feel is a perfect way to share yourself or make yourself personally available to others.
? Here’s his fourth one: Don’t cross your arms at networking events.
Even if you’re cold, bored, tired, or just don’t want to be there, don’t cross you arms. It makes you seem defensive, nervous, judgmental, close-minded, or skeptical. It’s a simple subconscious, non-verbal cue that says, “Stay away.” People see crossed arms, and they drift away. They don’t want to bother you; you’re not approachable.
Think about it. Would you want to approach someone like that? Probably not, so when you feel that urge to fold your arms across you chest like a shield, stop, be conscious of its effect and relax and do something else with your arms and hands.
? Here’s his fifth one: Conquer your feeling of rejection.
Do you ever hear yourself saying, “They won’t say ‘hello’ back,” “They won’t be interested in me,” “I’ll say something foolish.” Fear is the number one reason people don’t start conversations, fear of rejection, fear of inadequacy, and fear of looking foolish. But practice will make this fear fade. The more you start conversations, the better you become at it, so be the first person to introduce yourself or simply to say “Hello,” and when you take an active rather than a passive role, you develop your skills and lower your chances of rejection.
? Here’s his last one, and I love this; it’s: Wear your nametag.
And of course, he’s The Nametag Guy, so that’s the important one. We’ve heard every possible excuse not to wear nametags, and all of them can be rebutted. If someone says nametags look silly, yeah, they do, but remember everyone else is wearing one, too, so don’t feel bad.
“Nametags ruin my clothes.” Not if you wear them on the edge of your lapel or cloth-safe connectors like lanyards and plastic clips; that won’t ruin clothes.
Here’s the one that drives me crazy. “I already know everybody,” or “Everybody knows me.” No, you don’t and no, they don’t. You may think you do, but people join and leave business organizations all the time, and not everybody there knows you.
So your nametag is really the best friend for several reasons. First of all, a person’s name is the single piece of personal information most often forgotten, and people are less likely to approach you if they don’t know or if they’ve forgotten your name. Second, it’s free advertising for you and your company. And third, nametags encourage people to be friendly and more approachable.
I’ve seen my wife, when she was a BNI director, Beth would go out wearing the BNI name badge all the time, every place she went. When she was at the grocery store or picking up the kids, she wore her BNI name badge. And it’s amazing how many people asked her questions about what she did and what BNI was. It’s a great technique to get visitors to come to the organization because they will start a conversation, they’ll look at the nametag, and they’ll ask you questions.
Have you experienced that?
Yeah. I think it’s a great tool. I just wanted to comment about wearing a nametag in an event is that so many people can’t remember names, and it makes them feel at ease to be able to just – I know I feel that way, in particular.
Yeah, and it’s also an easy way to strike up a conversation because you not only see the person’s name, but you can see their profession or their company name. For me, it’s an easy way to say, “So tell me more about XYZ Company” or “So I see you’re a chiropractor. How long have you been that?” It allows you to open up a dialog about their profession as well as them individually.
Well, to wrap up, Ginsberg’s axiom about the CPI, the common points of interest, is particularly powerful in networking for your business, consider the people you know best right now. If you know them through work, they all share work with you as a CPI, as a common point of interest. If you know them through your soccer league, they share your interest in soccer. With that in mind, you could be attracting people who later, after you’ve built a relationship starting from this common ground, could help you in your business. And I love Scott’s material. If you have a chance, I recommend that you take a look at his book.
Great. Okay. Well, thank you. Do you have any last minute tidbit, or have you summed it up?
That pretty much sums it up, but Scott’s book, The Power of Approachability, is a great book, and we also talk about that book in The 29% Solution. And members, of course, can get the book at bookstores or at Amazon. We also have a Web site, 29percentsolution.com, the number 2, the number 9, the word “percent” and then “solution,” 29percentsolution.com.
Okay, great. Well, I think that’s it for this week. Thank you so much, Dr. Mizner.
Thank you, Priscilla.
I want to remind the listeners that this podcast has been brought to you by NetworkingNow.com, which the leading site on the Net for networking downloadables. Thanks so much for listening. This is Priscilla Rice, and we hope you will join us next week for another exciting episode of The Official BNI Podcast.