BNI founder Ivan Misner: Now is the time to develop a ‘hybrid’ approach to networking
Vermont Business Magazine Networking is all about building relationships. And in the eyes of networking expert Ivan Misner, it is during tough stretches such as the one brought about by the COVID pandemic that business people need to work harder than ever to maintain their networks.
"When difficult times occur, people either get frozen by fear or they get focused by fear," said Misner, founder and chief visionary officer of BNI, the world’s largest business networking organization with more than 10,000 chapters. "The ones who have gotten focused by that fear ... recognize that today, more than ever, they need their network."
"The last thing you should do is abandon your network when going through difficult times," Misner said. "Instead, you want to embrace your network, immerse yourself in your network. Otherwise, you're going to struggle, and it's already a struggle enough."
Misner shared his thoughts on the value of engaging in networks in the November episode of the 21st Century Business Forum, a monthly webcast that features one-on-one interviews with some of the nation’s most prominent business minds and thought leaders.
Misner recognizes the pandemic has changed the nature of networking. "Yeah, it's by Zoom or Skype or telephone more than possibly in person," he said, but at least advances in technology have provided "an opportunity to connect with people" that would not have been possible 30, 20 or even 10 years ago.
As concerns over COVID ease, Misner recommends that business owners develop a hybrid approach to networking and besides connecting online go back to meeting people in person, at least part of the time.
"There's nothing more powerful than looking at somebody in their three-dimensional eyes, shaking their hands, having a real, in-person conversation," Misner said.
There also is a right and a wrong way to approach networking, according to the man dubbed the "Father of Modern Networking" by CNN.
"You should not be going to networking meetings to sell," Misner said. "You should be going to networking meetings to build relationships. Because networking is more about farming than it is about hunting. It's about cultivating relationships."
Businesspeople who want to build strong, effective relationships through networking need to adopt what Misner calls the" VCP Process," with the letters VCP standing for visibility, credibility and profitability.
Misner said visibility is gained by getting to know people you've never met, while credibility is developed over time by earning a solid reputation among others.
"Only then can you move to profitability," where people "are willing to refer business to you," he said.
"What tends to happen is that people go to a networking event and try to jump over visibility, they try to jump over credibility, and they try to get right to profitability," Misner said.
"In one of my books, we call that 'premature solicitation,'" he said.
As for the saying, "It isn't what you know, but who you know," Misner isn't a fan.
"It is how well you know each other that counts," he said. "It's how deep that relationship is" that matters.
"If your network is a mile wide and an inch deep, you don't have a powerful network," Misner said. "Your network needs to be deep and wide."
The Business Forum is presented by Vermont Business Magazine and sponsored by NBT Bank.
The Business Forum continues in December, click here for more information.
VOBA to present U.S Senator Leahy with its inaugural Trailblazer Award
The Vermont Outdoor Business Alliance (VOBA) presented its inaugural Trailblazer Award to U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) at an outdoor ceremony at 2 pm on Wednesday, November 10th at the Trapp Family Lodge in Stowe.
“In addition to a lengthy career preserving and protecting remarkable outdoor places in virtually every corner of Vermont, Sen. Leahy has been well ahead of the national curve in terms of understanding the importance of both supporting and balancing the many interconnected facets of the outdoor recreation economy,” said Drew Simmons, Pale Morning Media President and VOBA Board Chair. “It’s a remarkable honor for VOBA to be awarding the first Trailblazer award to the Senator, as his lifetime of work has set the stage for the successes of our outdoor businesses, the vibrancy of our shared lands and waters, and the health of our communities.”
In his 47-year tenure representing Vermont in Congress, Sen. Leahy has added more than 100,000 acres to the Green Mountain National Forest, helped establish the Moosalamoo National Recreation Area, created Vermont’s first and only National Park -- the Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park -- and protected portions of the Missisquoi and Trout Rivers.
VOBA created the Trailblazer Award to honor the historical and long-lasting contributions of leaders in Vermont’s outdoor sector. VOBA will present the award annually to individuals whose leadership has contributed substantially to Vermont’s outdoor recreation economy.
See the full article here...
VAAFM: Trade Show Assistance Grant Application Opens Soon
Vermont Agency of Agriculture Food & Markets Is your Vermont food or forestry business looking to expand into new markets? Consider applying for aTrade Show Assistance Grant from the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food, and Markets (VAAFM). This funding helps Vermont agriculture and forestry businesses with funds to identify, plan, exhibit, and sell their Vermont products at out-of-state trade shows or virtual shows targeting out-of-state buyers.
These matching grants provide 50% reimbursements for eligible trade show-related expenses to help businesses connect with wholesale buyers. Applicants may include up to 5 trade shows in their yearly marketing plan for up to $5,000 in eligible reimbursements. A total of $30,000 is available for these competitive grants through the Working Lands Enterprise Initiative. For this funding round, VAAFM has a special interest in supporting wood and forestry businesses in their trade show marketing efforts. Applications will be accepted from January 17 - March 2, 2022.