If you want to build a powerful personal network, it’s really important to connect and engage with your network via the social media platforms that they use rather than the ones that you use.
Dr. Misner learned this lesson when his children moved out. His oldest daughter only responds to text messages, not email or telephone. His second daughter only wanted to communicate via WhatsApp. His son didn’t respond to any of these channels, but spent a lot of time on Steam. In order to talk to his son, Dr. Misner downloaded Steam and purchased a game so he could talk to his son.
This applies to face-to-face networking opportunities as well as to online networking opportunities. You have to go where your connections are instead of expecting them to come to where you are.
If your children–or your clients–have taught you about how to communicate more effectively and what platforms to do it on, share your story in the comments.
Brought to you by the Networking for Success Channel on YouTube.
Complete Transcript of Episode 536 –
Hello everybody and welcome back to the Official BNI Podcast, brought to you by the Networking for Success Channel on YouTube, which features Dr. Ivan Miser and many other networking experts. I am Priscilla Rice, and I am coming to you from Live Oak Recording Studio in Berkeley, California. I am joined on the phone today by the Founder and the Chief Visionary Officer of BNI, Dr. Ivan Misner. Hello, Ivan, how are you today?
I am doing fantastic, Priscilla, and I have kind of a fun topic. You have actually heard this when I saw you recently in the Bay areas, I think I told this story. I really enjoy this topic. We chatted before we went on here on the podcast and you said you enjoyed it. I said you’ve got to laugh in all the same places.
That’s easy to do, Ivan, because you are very entertaining.
Well, thanks. I appreciate that. This is actually some material from a new book that I have – well, a second edition of a book. Networking Like a Pro is now out in its second edition, and this is some of the new material that is in Networking Like a Pro, Second Edition.
So, you want to build a powerful professional network. It is really important to connect and engage with your network via the social media platforms that they use more than the ones you use. Now, this is particularly important if you need to develop a relationship with someone and you want to get to know them professionally. I am here to tell you that you have to go where they are, not where you are.
I learned this lesson in a really unusual way. A few years ago, my children all moved out and were on their own. One at a time, they eventually moved out over a few years. And it soon struck me that I was communicating regularly with them in completely different ways.
Now, my eldest, would not respond to emails ever. She would not even answer the phone when I called her. I discovered, however, that when I texted her, she responded immediately. So I even tested this once by calling her. No answer. Then I texted her. Immediate response. I mean, I shook my head. I was like, okay. Rather than try to get her to move over to my preferred platform, which is email, I figured that in order to keep a good line of communication open with her, I would mostly text her. It was great. We started talking a lot more by text.
Now, my second daughter wouldn’t use email, didn’t use the phone to actually talk – which I am pretty confident it was invented for. She wouldn’t consider texting. It was so old school. No, she communicated by What’s App. What’s App. I had no idea what What’s App was. I barely know how it works now.
But my wife, she pointed out that if I wanted to keep a line of communication open with her, I needed to download What’s App. So I did. I still have no idea really how it works other than to send texts to my daughter, whereby she almost immediately responds.
Now, my son- he was really the most interesting. He didn’t use email. He didn’t use the phone to talk. Wouldn’t consider texting and did not like What’s App. So, Priscilla, I’m thinking what am I to do? How am I going to connect with him? Then I realized that he is a big online gamer. And he was using a platform- I don’t know if you have ever heard of it. He was using a platform called Steam, which is available in the app store. You heard me talk about this in the Bay Area. Have you ever heard of Steam, Priscilla?
No, I never have.
I had no idea what it was. It’s a gaming platform. So I discovered that Steam had an instant messaging feature on the program. So I actually downloaded Steam and purchased a game so that I could instant message my son. That’s right. I bought a game so I could talk to my son. As crazy as it sounds, it worked. If I called him, nothing. If I emailed him, nothing. If I messaged him on a social media platform, nothing. I would get no response. However, if I saw him online and messaged him, boom! I would get an instantaneous response. Success.
The bottom line here is if I wanted to communicate with my children, I needed to use their platforms, not mine. If it were up to me, I would pick up the phone and call or I would email them. But not them.
This has taught me a lesson in networking. If I wanted to stay connected to the people I meet, I need to go where they are, not stay where I am. This is a powerful message for BNI members here on BNIPodcast. It’s another lesson in networking, that it’s not about me. It is about them. This applies to face to face networking as well as online opportunities.
If building a powerful network is important to you, you have to go where your connections are and don’t expect them to always come to you. Priscilla, this is how my children thought me a lesson in networking.
That’s great, Ivan. I have heard this before, but it is so true. I even know it in my own life because I have a daughter and she is probably similar in age to your kids and I have to text her. She doesn’t answer the phone or answer emails, either, so that’s kind of interesting.
You know, it’s frustrating. As frustrating as it is, it really applies generally in life but also in that as much as we would like people to be where we are, it doesn’t really matter, does it? If we are trying to building our business, we are trying to increase our sales, we want to build relationships. As I have always said, networking is more about farming than hunting. Then, we need to be in their territory, not our territory but where they are. That is where we have the opportunity to do business.
So the very fact that I realized that I need to communicate with my children in the way my children want to communicate- and they were all different.
Yeah. That’s interesting.
It applies to networking. Don’t you agree?
Yeah. I think it is really important to ask you clients how they want to be communicated with also because they have different needs and they may prefer texting over phoning over email or whatever. It’s important.
Good point, Priscilla. What I recommend you do is write that down in their contact information. You know, “prefer to be called directly.” “Prefer to email.” Whatever it is that they prefer, put that in there. And you remind me, I tell people when I give [them] my card and they want to reach out to me – I say, “You can call me but it is not easy to get through to me. So the best way to get to me is through email.”
So that is my preferred way. It may not be your preferred way. It may not be the person’s preferred way that I am talking to, but that’s my preferred way, and they are more likely to get a response than if they post something on my social media or they try to give me a call.
Well, look, I hope the lesson that my children taught me in networking can help you listening to this podcast and I would love to hear your story. If your kids or your clients have taught you about how to communicate more effectively and what platforms to be on, please share it right here on BNIPodcast.com. I really enjoy doing these podcasts. I love reading your messages. I read all the posts that go up there and will continue to do so.
Priscilla, thanks for everything that you do. We have a guy who never gets any credit. I don’t know if I have even- I think I have named him once or twice live – and that is James, who does all of the recording here on BNIPodcast. James, thank you for all the years of work that you have done on this podcast show as well. Thanks, everyone.
His name is James Ward and he is a fabulous engineer.
Excellent. Thanks, Priscilla.
Okay, great, Ivan. Thanks you so much. Well, I would just like to remind the listeners that this podcast has been brought to you by the Networking for Success Channel on YouTube. Thank you so much for listening. This is Priscilla Rice and we look forward to having you join us again next week for another exciting episode of the Official BNI Podcast.