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Students learn to network

Rachel Smith
Staff Writer

Lecture usually equals very boring, but not for the “Networking Like a Pro” lecture that rocked Tuesday afternoon in the Campus Center Ballroom. The charismatic and captivating Ivan Misner, founder and chairman of BNI, the world’s largest referral organization, kicked off the College of Business and Public Management’s lecture series.

The room was filled with BNI members; faculty, alumni and very attentive students all eager to learn how to network like a pro.

“I want to make sure I’m doing it right, identifying the right people,” Guillermo Alfaro, an alumnus and health care professional, said. “Turn contacts into connections.”

President Stephen Morgan gave Misner an energizing introduction. He spoke of Misner’s accomplishments as an author and reminded the audience that his books were written from experience.

“Ivan Misner is the real deal,” Morgan said.

Misner stepped up to the podium and took hold of the audience and did not let go. His motivating and insightful stories resonated with the people as everyone was writing down the pearls of wisdom he was setting free.

“Networking can make a difference, especially in this economy,” Misner said.

Misner touched on all the important aspects of networking. He started with the fact that networking is a mindset. An individual must know their EQ, also known as their emotional quotient also know as emotional intelligence, Misner said.

“Networking is a process,” Misner said. “You can’t define yourself by your failures, define yourself by your successes.”

The Butterfly Effect, a chaos theory, was a large part of Misner presentation.

“We never know who someone else knows,” Misner said.

He told a story of how he had a conversation with Sir Richard Branson. Misner reversed engineered his life to figured out how he ended up having a conversation with Branson.

He realized that by doing a favor for a woman he did not even know; lead to him meeting another person, who introduced him to another person, who invited him to the location where he was able to hear his infamous conversation.

Visibility, credibility and profitability were also discussed as main components to become successful at networking.

He told the audience that VCP is another process that individuals must realize does not happen overnight and you do not have to be an extrovert to be good at networking.

Individuals must get out to networking groups, places or meetings. Be open to introducing yourself to people. Let individuals see you out in the business community and allow them to gain a sense of familiarity with you. Once visibility is achieved, the next step is credibility.

Building credibility is the key step in the process of networking. Individuals must be willing to help other first, Misner said. Once you have established a pattern of assisting others successfully, you begin to establish the credibility that leads to profitability.

“Do not confuse networking with direct sales,” Misner said. “Premature solicitation is doing it wrong.”

Profitability comes in the form of referrals you can receive by networking properly.

“Help people and you create a referral for life,” Misner said.

The 12x12x12 rule is another piece in Misner’s networking puzzle. The first 12 in the rule is, What do you look like from 12 feet?

“Be cognizant of how you look,” Misner said.

People must dress for success. Your appearance in the business world is very important. Although we try to not judge a book by its cover, in the business world, people do.

What do you look like from 12 inches away? One of the most important things in the business world is to have a positive attitude, Misner said. When up close, people want to see that you have a positive attitude about the event you are at or your current situation.

The final element to the rule is, what are the first 12 words out of your mouth? The first words are crucial. Start by asking someone about himself or herself. Let that individual tell their stories and then just follow the flow of the conversation.

“Remember to look for opportunities to help,” he said.

Becoming a networking pro takes time, it does not happen over night. Building your credibility also takes time and one must be willing to invest in the networking process.

“Just like a bank you must have lots of deposits before you have lots of withdrawls,” Misner said.

People must practice and understand that screw-ups come with the territory.

“Define yourself by your successes, take the ideas and apply them consistently and don’t worry about mistakes,” Misner said.

The audience of approximately 170, erupted with applause after Misner’s final words and the majority rose to their feet as they offered their accolades. His words were honest, his concepts applicable and his skills proven.

“I’m going to be open to talking to people and have a positive attitude,” said Adam Kazuda, senior e-commerce major.

The business and public management department started-off the first annual lecture series with a huge bang, Misner’s lecture was a perfect way to help people in this economy and great insight for all ULV students.

For more information on upcoming lectures, e-mail cbpmlectures@laverne.edu.

Rachel Smith can be reached at rachel.smith@laverne.edu.

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