Dr. Ivan Misner and Ambassador Bruny

“It’s not what you know or who you know, it’s how well you know each other that really counts in building a powerful personal network.”

I caught up with Dr. Ivan Misner, who is called the father of modern networking.  He took a couple of minutes out of his busy day to part some wisdom on the #Hashtags to Handshakes crew.

For those of you who don’t know Dr. Ivan Misner, he started BNI in 1985 (26yrs ago), which has over 6,000 chapters throughout every populated continent of the world.  Last year alone they generated over 6.5 million referrals resulting in $2.8 billion worth of business for its members.  He is also a senior partner for the Referral Institute — a referral training company.
He is a New York Times best selling author of Networking Like a Pro: Turning Contacts into Connections and has another book coming out in January 2012 called, Networking and Sex (It’s not what you think).  You can get more information on his new book at the website:www.businessnetworkingandsex.com.  You can reach Ivan atwww.ivanmisner.com and you can find a BNI (Business Network International) in your area by visiting  www.BNI.com

In his spare time he is an amateur magician and black belt in karate.

This is the full audio interview which is only 16 minutes short: Click Here to listen

Below are some of the highlights from the interview

Q: How do you define Networking?

  •  I believe it was Alvin Toffler who said this decades ago that we are moving into a high tech, high touch society.  The more high tech we become the more important it is to connect with people on a human level.
  • Networking is the process of developing and using contacts to increase your business, enhance your knowledge, expand your sphere of influence or serve the community.

Q: How have you seen networking change over the past 26 years since you started BNI? What will always stay the same?

  • The biggest change is integration of technology into the process.  Tools like Linkedin, Facebook, Twitter.
  • It was much tougher to stay in touch back in the day.  You had to write, call to set-up time to talk
  • When BNI was first created the Telephone was one of the highest expenses and now it’s nearly zero
  • What’s the same is people and the networking process (VCP: Visibility, Creditability, Profitability).  One doesn’t come before the other.

“Trying to jump right to Profitability is known as premature solicitation”

Q: What tips would you give to folks who are going to conferences in a few weeks?

  • Set-up 1 on 1’s at events so you can get to know the other person
  • Recommends using the GAINS exchange. Share Goals, Accomplishments, Interest, Networks and Skills (You are looking for overlapping interest).

Parting Words:

  • Networking is about farming, not hunting.  It’s about cultivating relationships with other businesses.
  • Shared a great story about “The Networking Disconnect.”  He asked a crowd of 500 people, who is here to possibly sell something today?  Almost all the hands went up.  He asked, “How many people are hoping to buy something today?”  No one raised their hand.
  • People show up wanting to sell and no one is there to buy.  In essence, if you go to a conference looking to sell; you will fail.


Mike Ambassador Bruny
Mike Ambassador Bruny

I have a deep desire to help spread entrepreneurial thinking as the solutions to many of our problems today. I am a project kind of guy who loves to get things started. When I'm not in search of contract work (projects) that I can do during the nights and weekends I can be found working as a mild mannered Digital Content Manager for Babson Executive Education.