Networking Pro: “Develop a hybrid approach”

NEW ORLEANS – Networking is about building relationships. And in the eyes of networking expert Ivan Misner, it’s during tough times like the one brought on by the COVID pandemic that business people need to work harder than ever to maintain their networks.

“When hard times arise, people are either frozen with fear or focused with fear,” said Misner, founder and “visionary director” of BNI, a business networking organization with more than 10,000 chapters. “Those who have focused on this fear… recognize that today, more than ever, they need their network. “

“The last thing you should do is let go of your network when you’re going through tough times,” Misner said. “Instead, you want to embrace your network, immerse yourself in your network. Otherwise, you’re going to fight, and that’s enough of a fight.

Misner shared his thoughts on the value of engaging in networking in the November episode of the 21st Century Business Forum, a monthly webcast that features one-on-one interviews with some of the most popular business minds and thought leaders. prominent people in the country.

Misner recognizes that the pandemic has changed the nature of networking.

“Yes, it’s by Zoom or Skype or by phone more than in person,” he said, but at least advancements in technology have provided “an opportunity to connect with people” that wouldn’t have was possible 30, 20 or even 10 years ago. .

Regarding the ease of COVID, Misner recommends that business owners develop a hybrid approach to networking and, in addition to going online, go back to meeting people in person, at least some of the time.

“There is nothing more powerful than looking someone in their three-dimensional eyes, shaking their hand, having a real conversation in person,” Misner said.

There is also a right and wrong way to approach networking, according to the man dubbed the “father of modern networking” by CNN.

“You shouldn’t go to networking meetings to sell,” Misner said. “You should attend networking meetings to build relationships. Because networking is more about farming than hunting. It’s about cultivating relationships.

Businessmen who want to build strong and effective relationships through networking should embrace what Misner calls the “VCP process,” with the letters VCP standing for visibility, credibility and profitability.

Misner said that visibility is gained by getting to know people you have never met, while credibility develops over time by earning a solid reputation among others.

“Only then can you move to profitability,” where people “are ready to recommend business to you,” he said.

“What tends to happen is people go to a networking event and try to jump over visibility, they try to jump over credibility and they try to achieve profitability,” he said. declared Misner.

“In one of my books we call it ‘premature solicitation’,” he said.

As for the saying “It’s not what you know, but who you know,” Misner is no fan.

“It’s how you know yourself that matters,” he said. “It’s how deep this relationship is” that matters.

“If your network is a mile wide and an inch deep, you don’t have a strong network,” Misner said. “Your network should be deep and broad. “

The 21st Century Business Forum is presented by Biz New Orleans and is sponsored by the New Orleans Chamber of Commerce, EO Louisiana, and the University of Holy Cross.

The Business Forum continues in December with former NBA player Ulysses “Junior” Bridgeman, owner of Ebony and Jet magazines and one of the world’s richest former athletes. It will air on December 8 at 11 a.m. Registration is free. Click here save.

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