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Episode 122 – Dr. Ivan Misner: How To Win The Networking Race


One of the best skills we can have to take our business, our career, and just our life in general is to meet like-minded people, to connect with them and make a lasting, up-building relationship. No man is an island. We all know that quote really well and that just means that people are inter-connected and learning the art of connecting with people, cultivating meaningful relationships will set you for success. As what Dr. Ivan Misner, our podcast guest for today say, if you improve your networking skills, you can apply it to anything. You can apply it to real estate, being an attorney, CPA, etc. Really, any profession who improves their networking skills will improve their business. And how blessed we are that we are learning how to network better from THE expert in the field of business networking and “The Father of Modern Networking”.


Looking back, Ivan did not have the best networking skills. At high school, he always wanted to be in student government, but he always end last in elections. But there was one time where one person saw a potential in him which gave him the opportunity to take leadership roles. That prepared him for leadership roles in life. He wanted it so bad that he was determined to do his very best. True enough, after that he was elected student council every year.


Fast forward to his early business career, Ivan essentially created his own networking organizations based on this core principle: givers gain. Today, he was able to build an organization that can sustain over 35 years and do it the way of networking and really connecting with people. When you listen to this episode in full, you will not just learn about how to improve your networking skills, but also how to successfully start your own business, and how to have a positive outlook on life. Me and my team are 101% you’ll finish listening to this episode 100% inspired with an improved outlook on life.


Here’s What You Missed


  • What is Networking
  • How do you network better
  • How to avoid the leaky bucket syndrome
  • What is the VCP process of building a business
  • What is “The Butterfly Effect Of Networking.”
  • How will you take action



Knowledge Nuggets


[6:35] One person saw one thing in me and that changed the trajectory of my life. Having that opportunity to take leadership roles in high school prepared me for leadership roles in life.


[8:41] Success is the best revenge. I can do this and I’m going to show that I can do it.


[10:00] Core principle: Givers gain. If I help you you’ll help me. We’ll all do better, as a result of it.


[12:06] Leaky bucket syndrome– So if you teach someone something, a little information leaks out and when they teach a person more information leak out. So you need to create systems that can be replicated, that we could train people on that, that minimized the leaky bucket syndrome.


[13:57] VCP process of building a business: Visibility, credibility, profitability. They know who you are. They know what to do. They know you’re good at it. And they’re willing to give you referrals on an ongoing basis.


[15:55] It takes a certain amount of time before people have confidence in your ability to provide a quality product or service. Networking is more of a marathon than it is a sprint. You have to pace yourself.


[18:17] Introverts may make a better networker. A good networker has two ears and one mouth and should use them both proportionately. A good networker is like a good interviewer.


[19:56] How to connect with people: Act like a host, not a guest. When you go to a chamber of commerce, don’t just be a member, be an ambassador.


[26:27] “The Butterfly Effect Of Networking.” You never know who someone knows. Don’t look your nose down on someone because you don’t think they’re successful or here they’re not the kind of person I want to network with.


[29:02] Write everything down as though you plan on franchising, your business, even if you never intend to franchise your business with it.


[30:25] Benjamin Franklin once said, “if you empty your purse into your head, you are getting something that no one can ever take away from you, knowledge”.


[32:10] The truth is if you improve your networking skills, you can apply it to anything. You can apply it to real estate. You can apply it to, being an attorney. You can apply it to a CPA, Any profession who improves their networking skills will improve their business.


[33:17] Secret to success without hard work is still a secret. It doesn’t exist. Sometimes you look at someone at where they are and you don’t see where they were.


[36:46] What’s more important is, asking yourself: Whose story am I in? Whose life am I making a difference in who have I helped in some small way? The little things you say, put you in other people’s story.


[41:22] I believe in hope. And I believe in taking a look at a positive spin on negative things that happen in our life, hope is listening to that little voice inside you talking about what can be when everyone around you is screaming, what can’t be. Hope plus action create amazing results. HOPE PLAN ACTION.


[42:55] If you want to be successful, do six things that thousand times, not a thousand things, six times.


[47:44] It’s not just who you know, it’s how you know each other well. That really makes a difference. And that if you want to build a powerful personal network, that’s the mentality that you need to have to go into it.


Important Reads and Links


Recommended books:


Networking Like A Pro by Brian Hilliard and Ivan Misner

How To Win Friends And Influence People by Dale Carnegie

  • The E-Myth by Michael Gerber

Endless Referrals by Bob Burg

The Go-Giver by Bob Burg


Dr. Ivan Misner Blog:                                 https://ivanmisner.com/category/blogs/

Dr. Ivan Misner Facebook:                       https://www.facebook.com/IvanMisner.BNIFounder/

Dr. Ivan Misner Instagram:                       https://www.instagram.com/drivanmisner/

Dr. Ivan Misner Twitter:                                            https://twitter.com/IvanMisner


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Click Here for a full transcript of this episode:

Casanova Brooks:

Ivan, you want to go ahead and say what’s up to DreamNation.

Ivan Misner:

Hey, what’s up DreamNation? Casanova. Thank you so much for having me on. I really appreciate it.

Casanova Brooks:

Yeah, it’s an honor to have you on here. And you’ve been here able to do something that we all aspire to do, build an organization that can sustain over 35 years and do it the way of networking and really connecting with people. So we’re going to unpacked into all of that, but I always like to make sure that we give the proper introduction.

And I know that you’ve been featured in everything from New York times to Forbes, to entrepreneur and been named. The modern networking godfather. We’re going to talk about that, but I always like to associate entrepreneurs with superheroes. And the reason being is because we’re always putting on this Cape and we’re flying around the world and we’re trying to solve the world’s biggest problems.

And so before you became that person of networking, which. Is one of the world’s biggest problems in connecting. Take us back to when you were just a young boy and tell us who is Ivan Misner.

Ivan Misner:

Oh, that’s a, that’s a great question. And it’s not one, I get asked very often. you know, I was, I was probably a pretty shy kid growing up.

I, and when I did open up, I probably was too. I came across too strong. I remember when I was 13 years old, my mother. She gave me a paperweight. And if we were, if I was in my office, I, I I’d show it to you right now. Cause I have it on my desk to this day, she gave me a paperweight that said diplomacy is the art of letting someone else have your way.

And she said, honey, you’re a bull in a China shop. You know, you just knock people over when you talk to them, you’ve got to learn how to be diplomatic with people. It was great advice. And I kind of broke out of my shell and learn how to collaborate. She said, this is about collaboration, not Manipulation. And yet I think I learned how to do that reasonably well, but every now and then I have to remind myself I can pick up that thing and look at it. So, yeah.

Casanova Brooks:

That’s, that’s big. So she came to you, not so your mom, was she a gentle hearted woman, would you say?

Ivan Misner:

Yeah, I got any people’s skills I got from my mother. Any, any work ethic I got from my dad. Got it.

Casanova Brooks:

And the reason why I say that is because, you know, for some kids they would have all of a sudden said, Oh my God, I don’t have a place.

Like, I don’t know how to communicate. So did she didn’t teach you how to communicate rather than just telling you, you got to figure it out?

Ivan Misner:

Yes, certainly to some extent, no question. I think the big break I got and ironically, it’s funny that you bring this up because ironically. I literally put this on my blog today, a link to, to a video that I did a little while ago about somebody made it huge.

The difference in my life as a kid, I was 13 and this is the reason my mom gave me this paperwork because I was. 13. I was a freshman in high school. I really wanted to be in student government. I kept running for student government in junior high. I lost every time. Okay, I didn’t just lose. I got decimated.

I was like last and so. I really want it to be in it, but I didn’t want to, I didn’t want to go through those election again. It was, it was depressing. I wasn’t real popular. And so I’m, I’m in history and for the freshmen, the history class, everyone had to have it. So that’s where they picked the freshmen student council representative.

And I remember Mr. Romero, he says, Okay. Does anybody want to be on student council represent the class or student council? Nobody raised their hand. He said, you can nominate someone. You can nominate yourself if you want. And I’m sitting there going, I’m not going to do this. Right. Nobody said anything except one girl, Cindy, I remember sitting, she raises her hand.

She said, Oh, Mr. Romero, I would do it. But I’m, I’m just so busy with cheerleading. I don’t have time to do it. He’s like, okay. Thanks, Cindy. Anyone, no one volunteered. You said, okay. So if you don’t pick someone I’m empowered to pick a representative, are you okay with that? And they’re like, Hey, yeah, we don’t care.

Pick anyone. And he looks around the room, Casanova. To this day. I don’t know why, but he got to me and he said. I bet you’d like to do this. Wouldn’t you? I said, well, Yeah, Mr. Romero, I kind of would, he said, all right, Ivan is the student council representative. I swear to you. Everyone goes, Oh no, nah, I’ll do it.

I’ll do it. Cindy goes, Oh, I’ll find the time. I remember sitting there thinking, okay, you see me here? Right, right. I’m right here. And you’re all saying this. So I just wasn’t very popular. And he said, Nope. You gave me the authority, that’s it. Ivan’s the representative, open your books, turn to chapter one page, whatever.

And I remember thinking, I’m not going to let this go through my fingers. I am gonna do such a good job that I never am in a situation like that. Again, I’m going to make Mr. Romero proud and I’m going to do a good job so that the students can see what I can do. Like my peers can see what I can do.

at the end of that year. That same class then voted for the sophomore class representative. I got it hands down. I was elected student council every year, ended up being an ASB president my senior year. And it was really because one person saw one thing in me and said this whole classroom of people.

You know, I think you’d like to do this and he was right. And I did, and absolutely changed the trajectory of my life because having that opportunity to take leadership roles in high school prepared me for leadership roles in life. And what I posted today was I had been doing a, leadership grant to the high school, for the last 21 years.

Casanova Brooks:

Your high school?

Ivan Misner:

My high school. So people that are going on to college, I grew up in a very, a very working class, community. And, and so they’re, most of them are broke and, and, you know, it’s a couple thousand dollars every year for someone to, you know, little seed money to help them in college.

Casanova Brooks:

Yeah, no, I love that. And I love the fact that he by his ground, right. To say no, because I’m sure. And I think that this is something that a lot of people experienced they’re afraid to speak up. Right. But then when you, all of a sudden assert someone with the position they want, just like you said, to make him proud.

So I love the fact that even though other people said, Hey, you know what, no, we’ll do it. He said, no, because he probably saw that spark in your eyes.

Ivan Misner:

Yeah, I lit up when he picked me.

Casanova Brooks:

He saw that and he said, you know what? Okay, we have to finish this. Now for you, do you feel like that there was a little bit of a chip on your shoulder that I have to show?

Or do you feel like you, you came from a level of, Hey, I’m gonna , not so much with the animosity side of things or the like, despite you all, but I’m going to really try to get the approval of all the view all as well. Like what do you think that was like in your mind

Ivan Misner:

That’s a great question? And I’ve told this story off and on for years nobody’s ever asked that question.

Casanova. I, I think for me it wasn’t, I didn’t, I didn’t go into it with a chip on my shoulder. I went into it as I wanted it to prove that I was better than they thought that I was. Good at whatever I wanted to do. If I really wanted to do it, I could be good at it. I have a, I have a coaster on my, on my desk, in my office that says success is the best revenge.

And so it wasn’t really a chip on my shoulder as it was. I can do this and I’m going to show you, I can do this. Yeah, nobody’s asked that. That’s a good question.

Casanova Brooks:

Now you’ve stopped one of the biggest organizations when it comes to business and really sales. Right. And for those who don’t know, it’s the BNI organization.

And talk to me about where did the mindset come to start? That? Was it something that. You were longing for, or was it an idea? Like where did it come from back when you started this?

Ivan Misner:

So right before I started BNI, I had gone to a lot of networking organizations and some of them were just, they were just mercenary.

I’d go to them. And, everyone was trying to sell to me. I believe the meetings feeling like I’d been slimed. I needed to go get a shower because it was just, you know, sell, sell, sell. Then I went to these other groups that were totally social it’s happy hour, and Hors d’oeuvre, nobody was doing any business.

And so I didn’t like either of those, what I wanted, I decided I’d create my own. And it would have a focus on business, but not be mercenary and that it would be relational, but not totally social. And, and, and what would the glue that would hold it together? Wouldbe the principle core value of “givers gain” this idea that if I help you you’ll help me.

We’ll all do better, as a result of it. And that was such a unique approach back in 1985 for networking, that it just took off. We now have 9,600 chapters in more than 70 countries around the world, over 270,000 members.

Casanova Brooks:

Wow. And it’s, it’s great.Everybody can relate to that now, they can relate to the, how much of an impact that has had, especially if they’re in the B2B world, but even B2C, because it teaches you so many core values.

But if we could go back, we understand that success doesn’t happen overnight. If you can think about your first, first, first year to like fifth year, what was your biggest challenges that you had getting this off the ground?

Ivan Misner:

So I basically created an industry. And so, I found that the first year, to some extent, I was 28 years old.

When I started BNI so, I was young. Most of the members were older than me. I, I was, I really found that I was method acting my way through networking. Cause I didn’t know how to do it. There were no books written, none on networking. And so I was trying to figure it out. That was the first big challenge.

What worked, what didn’t work. I had a sense of what didn’t work and what did, but I had to, I had to experiment. So that was the first big challenge. The second big challenge was replicating what I learned to work and making sure to avoid what didn’t work. And so I discovered that. Teaching people a process, scaling an enterprise is that you have to teach them and you have to create systems.

And the teaching is a leaky bucket process. So if you teach me something. A little information leaks out. If I teach a third person something more information. Yeah. When they teach a person, now you have a half a bucket of information. So what happened, what people do then is they said, well, this isn’t, it doesn’t look complete.

They start putting in their own stuff and it might not be stuff you want. Right. So we had to create systems that were replicable, that we could train people on that, that minimized the leaky bucket syndrome. and that was probably one of the biggest challenges in the first 5 years.

Casanova Brooks:

Got it. And I love that you said that it’s, it reminds me of the telephone game.

Right. And we all played it as a, as a kid in school. And then all of a sudden, when it gets around to the last person, it’s like, that’s nowhere near what I said. And you left out some core pieces in there. And so when you now look at this and you try to educate people on how to network the right way, right.

What are some of the things? Because a lot of people right now they’re starting new businesses, especially for the time that we’re in, in the world right now with this pandemic. But they don’t necessarily know how to build their business the right way without having to go spend thousands of dollars on Facebook ads or all these things.

So is there a simple process that you try to teach people now of how they can at least start to get their foot in the door?

Ivan Misner:

So a lot of what I teach is simple, but it’s not easy. If it were easy, everyone would do it. Right. So let me give you a few of the concepts. First of all, let me start with what I see done wrong.

I went to a, an event about maybe 10 years ago. It was in London. I was, I was doing the keynote 900 people. It was an all day affair, a lot of networking. See a lot of people doing it, not quite right. And so I asked the audience, how many of you are here today? Hoping to, you know, maybe just possibly sell something. Casanova, 900 people raised their hands.

They were all like, yeah, that’s why I’m here. Great. Second question. How many of you are here today hoping to, you know, maybe just possibly buy something. No one raised their hands, not one single person. So this is what I call the networking disconnect. People show up at networking events, wanting to sell nobody’s there to buy.

So why go to a networking event? Here’s why: You don’t go there to sell you. Go there to work your way through the VCP process, VCP: Visibility, credibility, profitability. You first have to be visible. People have to know who you are and what you do. But then you have to move to credibility where people know who you are.

They know what you do. They know you’re good at it. And when they know you’re good at it, then you can get to the third phase, which is profitability, where they know who you are. They know what to do. They know you’re good at it. And they’re willing to give you referrals on an ongoing basis. and so when you go to networking events, what you, your mindset is.

To work your way through VCP. So you meet somebody new it’s about visibility, right? You meet somebody, you know, pretty well. It’s about maintaining that credibility. It’s a different conversation. If you meet somebody who you’re already doing referrals with, it’s a much higher level conversation in terms of business.

And so it’s about working your way through that process to get to the point where people are able to refer you. I’ll leave you with this one last thought on this. Issue. Networking’s more about farming than it is about hunting. It’s about cultivating relationships with other business professionals.

Casanova Brooks:

Now, for you, how long did it take you to really start to understand that process? Because for a lot of people, if we’re just honest, if you’re starting a business or if you’re really looking to get sales, you’re looking at it as more of an immediate, right. And you’re looking at, okay, I’m going to this networking event.

I need to just, like you said, they’re going in there to hunt. I know that there’s someone who could use my service. What type of a timeframe should someone be looking at this as to understand that I might not be able to, to build this type of, of VCP business for the six months, a year,

Ivan Misner:

Yeah, six months to a year. So, in one of my, in Networking Like A Pro my coauthor, Brian Hillier and I, talk about. The time-confidence curve, no matter what business you’re in, it takes a certain amount of time before people have confidence and you see this curve, it takes a certain amount of time before people have confidence in your ability to provide a quality product or service.

And that, that confidence curve varies by profession. A florist. The time confidence curve is very short. A printer it’s a little longer, a real estate agent as longer. If financial planner investing your retirement income is very long. A financial planner may be more than a year to get to credibility, right?

A florist might be a month. To get the credibility. So it varies based on your profession, but you have to give it time. Really effective. Networking is more of a marathon than it is a sprint. You have to pace yourself. And it’s about building these relationships over a period of time. I see people who expect to get business networking, you know, in three months and six months

Casanova Brooks:

It’s not the way to do it. And. Let’s break that down a little bit more because we’ve had a conversation even before we went live and we were talking about whose life, whose story are you in? Right. And this is a really cool video that I have the pleasure of seeing of you on YouTube. And I would encourage anybody else to go out there and watch it.

But you really give reference to the networking mentor. And I think that this is something that I want to spend some time on because for a lot of people, when they’re starting their business, they don’t necessarily, they understand, okay, it’s going to take me some time. And now I understand I got to go through that VCP process, but I’m an introvert, right? I’m not extroverted. I don’t understand seeing how to build relationships with people. How. Is it, is it as simple as reading a Dale Carnegie’s, How To Win Friends And Influence People, or is there a simple process of what someone can follow that if they go to a networking event tomorrow, especially now, because a lot of people, there’s a little bit more of a disconnect and what I mean by that is a lot more of these are happening.

So you can’t shake someone’s hand. You can’t really get the energy like you would in person. How can someone still build that VCP process?

Ivan Misner:

Yeah, So you’ve given me three different issues there. Let me, let me hone in on, making that connection with someone, to begin with. I think the most important thing I actually, I want to talk, no, I want to talk about introvert extrovert first.

Cause you said I’m an introvert and those who are introverts have a hard time. He actually. I think introverts make a better networker. Hmm.

And that’s counterintuitive.

Casanova Brooks:

Why Is that?

Ivan Misner:

A good networker has two ears and one mouth and should use them both proportionately. A good networker is like a good interviewer.

You’re asking me questions and you’re allowing me to elaborate. That is actually what makes a great networker. A lot of people assume that an extrovert’s a great networker and, and extroverts have no problem meeting people. And so a lot of people think that’s what networking is about. Just go out and meeting people, but the truth is network extroverts love to talk, and what’s their favorite subject?.

Casanova Brooks:


Ivan Misner:

Themselves! That’s the worst thing for networking. When I say networking is about farming, not hunting, then it’s about being more interested than interesting. It’s showing interest. Now, introverts are better at that. Extroverts have to learn how to shut up, ask questions. Listen. Introverts have to learn how to meet people.

Both have a strength, both have a weakness. And honestly, I think the introverts have an advantage once they can break through meeting somebody. And there are techniques you can use to, to make it easier.

Casanova Brooks:

Yeah. And give me, give us a couple of those, cause I think that’s the second level of it, right?

Yeah. It’s okay. I understand. I can listen, but I don’t know. I don’t understand how to keep the conversation going, which is back to your first part of connecting.

Ivan Misner:

Yeah. So let let’s, let’s make it really easy. I’ll give you the concept. And then I’ll describe it. Act like a host, not a guest, any networking event.

You go to act like a host, not a guest. If you P you know, I, I meet introverts and they say, well, I can’t do that. I say you can never do that. No, I said, okay. Have you ever thrown a party at your house? Yes. Have you ever opened the door? somebody knocks on the door. You open the door, you have no idea who they are.

Are you tongue tied? Well, no, why it’s my house. Okay. So now take that concept. And when you go to a chamber of commerce, don’t just be a member, be an ambassador. If you’re an ambassador, now you’re the host, right? It’s your job. It’s like when somebody comes through the door, it’s your job to say, hi, my name’s so and so welcome to the chamber meeting.

Now you’re the host. It makes it a lot easier and they’re like, wow. Okay. Or if you’re in BNI, be the visitor host. Volunteer for that role now what’s your job. And your primary role is to find out about that person and then be a connector. Say say to somebody, I’m a, I’m a visitor host for that, the BNI chapter.

I want to welcome you to the meeting. It’s great having you here, tell me, you know, what you do. And then when you find out, are there any particular professions maybe that you’re looking for? Cause I’d love to introduce you today this morning, before we get started. And they said, yeah, yeah, you know, I’m looking for this or I’m looking for that.

Let me, let me walk on over and introduce you. And then you take them and make the introduction. Be a connector when you are, when you’re a connector, your networking at a higher level.

Casanova Brooks:

I love it. I love it. And that takes so much pressure off of you, even if you’re introverted. Right? Because now all you’re trying to do is solve a problem.

When most people come to networking events, and this is something that I learned early on, they’re ºlooking to meet new people. So it just goes to your point of being a connector. All you have to do is have that conversation with them. And especially if you know, even one other person at the event, you don’t necessarily, you could just say, Hey, I know this great person that I love to introduce you to.

And then you introduce them and then you go find someone else who will before you know it, you know, after you’ve done this event, maybe two or three times, hopefully, there’s new faces there, you know, so many people and you solved a lot of problems

Ivan Misner:

and you have gone to visibility much quicker because if you’re the ambassador chamber or the visitor host and a chapter of BNI, you have, you moved through visibility way faster than if you were just a member of wandering around meeting the odd person here or there.

Casanova Brooks:

I love it. Talk to me about what’s since you became a networking godfather is a lot of people would say,

Ivan Misner:

I’m just glad they’re not calling me the grandfather yet.

Casanova Brooks:

No, no. You got a long way to go before that. You’re still doing it at a high level.

So talk to me about what’s the biggest. The difference that you think that networking has made in your lifetime?

Has there been this one thing that maybe you look back and you say without me really going the extra mile in terms of networking, I would have never had this opportunity?

Ivan Misner:

Yeah. 2007, I was sitting in the great room on Necker Island

Casanova Brooks:

Richard, Richard Branson?

Ivan Misner:

Yeah. And I had to write an article for entrepreneur and I was stuck, Casanova.

I don’t know if you write much, but sometimes you’re just stuck.

Casanova Brooks:


Ivan Misner:

I write a lot and I had no idea I’m sitting there and I could see like, Almost a 300 degree view of the Island of the Caribbean and the Island. And I’m like, I don’t want to write this article, but it’s due today. I have to do it. And so I’m plugging away on while I’m working, trying to think about what I’m going to write, up walks, Sir Richard Branson.

And he goes, so what are you doing? I said, well, I have an article it’s due today. it’s a deadline. He’s like, Oh yeah, I get, I get deadlines. Look, we’re all down by the pool and out on the ocean, we’re having fun when you’re done, come on down and join us. And if I don’t see you sit next to me at dinner tonight, cause I’d like to learn more about this networking thing you do.

And he walks off. I swear. Do you guys know? I sat there and I went damn. How did I get here? What brought me to this moment in my life where a billionaire comes up and says, Hey, come on out and play. And if I don’t see out in the playground, let’s, let’s, you know, sit to me in the lunch, sit with me in the lunchroom, let’s eat.

Right. So I thought, so what I did, and I wrote about this, that became my article that day. I call it “The Butterfly Effect Of Networking”. The butterfly effect is part of mathematics. It’s part of chaos theory that talks about the the flapping of the wings of a butterfly and how the flapping of the wings of a butterfly affects some minute thing in the environment that affects something else that affects something else that changes the weather. That’s the concept. It’s about chaos.

What looks like chaos, having meaning, and, and it hit me. That’s how I got to Nicaragua. It started with one person two and a half years earlier asking me for a favor that had to do with networking.

And I said, yeah. Okay, I’ll do it. And it was about developing some material to help this coaching company. And from that, I was asked to speak at an event. And from that I met Jack Canfield who wrote Chicken Soup For The Soul. I, this, this, these are the, you know, and this happens, then this happens. I w from that, I was invited to the Transformational Leadership Council, which he runs from that.

I met somebody who is doing a seminar on Necker Island. And invited my wife and I to join that whole process took two and a half years of going through visibility, getting to credibility to the point where I was invited to Necker Island. And that’s how I got there. And so what I did was I reversed, engineered.

How I got there and I, in the article, I try to tell people, look, you never know who someone knows. And the woman who first asked me for the favor, she didn’t know Richard Branson, but she knew someone who knew someone who knew someone who knew someone that knew Richard Branson. Right? And so the butterfly effect is very powerful with networking and, and I tell people.

Don’t look your nose down on someone because you don’t think they’re successful or here they’re not the kind of person I want to network with. What you want to do is you should only be one thing that’s important. And that is whoever you’re networking with. They’re good at what they do. It doesn’t matter who they are.

It doesn’t matter whether you’re networking up or from your perspective, networking down. Somebody ho’s “not as successful as you are”. Network with everyone because you don’t know who they know. Right. I didn’t know. She knew this person who, new Jack Canfield who knew, you know, and that’s the power of networking.

It’s called The Butterfly Effect Of Networking.

Casanova Brooks:

Wow. That’s such a super powerful story. And I hope somebody really takes that and really runs with it. It reminds me of a concept and a quote that I always say “when hard work meets opportunity, it looks a lot like luck”. Right. Yeah.

It’s like, Oh my God, you got so lucky key to get on the Island, but they didn’t see all of the hard work and opportunities that use one said yes to, because a lot of people as well, they see those opportunities and it’s disguised in hard work.

And they’ll say no, or it’s just the fear. Right. And it could be that fear of success. It’s like, Oh, they want me to come speak at this seminar. And so talk to me about that. How every time that there was an opportunity to show up, what was your mindset and continue with? Cause networking in itself is a long.

It’s a marathon, right? It’s always being present, like you said, and not only just showing up, but really being present in the moment for all of the different countries. So was there a mentor, was there somebody, like, how did you develop your mindset and to understand, and how to capitalize on these opportunities?

Ivan Misner:

Well for networking, you know, it is substantially self-taught, but in terms of business, there were a lot of people that were virtual mentors or, or individual mentors, probably one of my biggest virtual mentors was, Michael Gerber. He wrote the book, the E-Myth. Yeah. and I remember reading the E-Myth back in the mid eighties, where he talks about working on the business, not in the business of scaling the company and how to do this effectively.

And man, I just took all those ideas and I poured them into BNI. I mean, like one of the here’s one of the ideas you said, I remember this vividly, I read it 30 plus years ago. Write everything down as though you plan on franchising, your business, even if you never intend to franchise your business with it.

Well, that’s a great idea. So I writing everything down about five years into it. I thought, wait a minute, why can’t I franchise this business? And I did. Right. But I did it because I followed the advice that he gave. So people have asked me for years, you know, what, what books were you reading when you started or what influenced you?

And I remember one time I told the same story and I got a call the next day from Michael Gerber. He said, Hey, I heard you on the radio yesterday and I want to thank you for recommending it, my book, and talking about the success that you had with your business. For my book, I’m like dang, and so he said, I’d love to get together.

And I said, Michael, I’d love to get together. But, I’m at my Lake house up in Big Bear. and you know, I can’t come on. He said, Yeah, I’m free. You know, you might have me come on up. So I said, man, I got a guest bedroom and he came on up and hung out with us for a couple of days.

I really got to know him. He’s a good friend now, but sometimes the message behind this is sometimes virtual mentors can become real. Real life mentors and can become friends. Right? And you got to pour into yourself, Benjamin Franklin once said, “if you empty your purse into your head, you are getting something that no one can ever take away from you, knowledge”.

I love that quote, and I love that concept. And so I reading books like his and listening to other mentors helped me a lot, particularly as a young man.

Casanova Brooks:

I love it. Now, one of the other things that, that just strikes me, and this is something I thought about when I was, let’s say younger, when I first started to get into networking, it was like, without any, you do get to definitely have the giver’s gain mindset.

So I love that you said that early on, but I think where a lot of people struggle at is how exactly do you monetize or create results out of networking? Right. If, if this is something that if you wanted to say, Hey, I want to be a professional networker, dr. Ivan Misner, is it that you have to. Create a company or like what, what if I just want to just have coffee and just talk to people all day?

How do I monetize that?

Ivan Misner:

Yeah, generally. I mean, there are a handful of people that have monetized this Bob Burg. he, he wrote, Endless Referrals and, The Go-Giver. And so he’s, you know, he’s a world-class networking expert, a good friend of mine, Susan RoAne, who wrote, “How To Work A Room” world-class networker and, and professional.

I think if you want to monetize it, you need to be a speaker. I mean, you could start an organization, but you know, I’m a 20-year overnight success. It took me 20 years to build really a financially viable company. We now have over 10,000 people who work for the company worldwide. Wow, but it took a long time.

but if you, if you’d like to speak, then you could certainly go into the industry as a speaker in that field. But the truth is if you improve your networking skills, you can apply it to anything. You can apply it to real estate. You can apply it to, being an attorney. You can apply it to a CPA, any profession that improves their networking skills will improve their business. They’ll build their business.

Casanova Brooks:

I love it. And it, that reminded me of, I think Warren Buffett’s say one of the most critical skills is being able to effectively communicate. Yeah. Whatever it is your business is because that’s where a lot of people struggle at. And so just like you said, if you can. You know, work on your speaking skills and the way that you articulate, whatever the message is.

Maybe someone else doesn’t have that. And now you get, that’s how you become a top salesperson or networker for that business. And you’re serving other people.

You’ve talked about books that you’ve given so much great wisdom and insight. And I want to say thank you. If you could boil it down to one quote that you always live by.

Tell me what is your favorite quote?

Ivan Misner:

Oh, well, I told you “diplomacy is the art of letting someone else have your way”. That’s probably one of my favorite quotes. another one would be the secret to success without hard work is still a secret. It doesn’t exist. Right?

Casanova Brooks:

Break that down.

Ivan Misner:

Well, I have always found, as you were talking about oftentimes people look at someone successful and they say, well, you were really lucky.

Well, you didn’t see all of the hard work that it took to get to this point. I mean, people don’t know. I literally worked 20 years before I had anything more than a salary, basically. For my business. I, you know, like many other businesses, I was close to bankruptcy at least twice. I was even calling bankruptcy lawyers talking about what it would look like if I had to file bankruptcy.

So, I mean, I went through the same kinds of challenges that any small business goes through. You know, sometimes you look at someone at where they are and you don’t see where they were. We often. Evaluate people by their outside, but we evaluate ourselves by our inside. We know who we are evaluating ourselves because we know ourselves, but we look at others and we evaluate them by their outside and we don’t see their inside and what their struggles were and what their challenges were.

Wow. I love it.

All right. So you wanted a quote? I do have one quote. I almost never share this one, but it is probably one of my favorite quotes. It has nothing to do with networking. “We all died to, let’s see if I can get it right. We all die too soon or too late. And yet our life is complete at that moment with a line drawn neatly under it.

Ready for the summing up. We are our deeds in life and little more.” Wow. John Paul Sartre. Wow.

Casanova Brooks:

We are our deeds in life and little more. And that’s so just, yeah, there’s so many things that run through my mind and run to my heart when you say that, but when you just said, you know, our life is complete at that moment.

And the biggest thing that I think I take away from that. Saying is the understand that you don’t want to live with any regrets or you don’t want to die with any regrets. Right. So make your life as complete while you’re here in that present moment, because you can’t get back the time and you don’t know when the end of your time is.

So every moment that you have the opportunity to really. One become a part of someone else’s story, where to allow someone to become a part of your story, which means that you have to be vulnerable to let them in your life. That’s what I really take away from that. And so thank you for sharing that quote, and I’m sure someone is thinking that to themselves right now.

Like how can I make the most of this? Because once that line is drawn and people then reflect back on my journey, what will the impact that I’ve had on them? Say about me.

Ivan Misner:

Yeah. I mean this whole idea of what, who, you know, who’s in your story and who’s story you’re in are really important to me. I think, I think that the older you get, the more experience you have.

I think you have an obligation to put back into the community. I can’t tell you. I can’t tell anybody else what they should do, but I feel I have an obligation to put back into the community. There are many people who help have helped me throughout my life. There are many people that are in my story I years ago, came to the realization that what’s more important is whose story am I in?

Whose life am I making a difference in who have I helped in some small way? And what’s amazing. Casanova is sometimes just the littlest thing. Can make a big difference in someone’s life. I had, I had a BNI director who was for whatever reason, just getting, he was getting beat up by some people, they were really angry at him and he was very, very frustrated and he let go, there’s some of this frustration on Facebook and he’s like, you know, I’m really down.

I can give you all these people complain. And yeah. And so my wife told me. And she said, you might want to just say something to him. So I posted on his Facebook page. I said, hang in there, brother. You know, I’ve been there, you’re doing amazing work. You’re, you’re changing people’s lives. I see it. And don’t forget nobody’s ever built a statue to a critic.

And I, and I said that to him, right? So about two weeks later he sends me, I me a photograph of that. He cut and pasted it, blew it up, put it in a frame and it’s hanging on his wall. And he said, thank you so much for sending that. So sometimes you have no idea. I mean, it was just an offhanded comment. I meant I meant it, but it was just here’s.

Here’s how I feel about you. And it made a big difference in his day. You don’t know what difference you make in someone’s day. Positive or negative. And so what you want, those little things you say, put you in other people’s story. And, and I think that’s what, when that line is drum neatly under your life, you want to be in those stories in a positive way.

Casanova Brooks:

Yeah, and I love that, but I also love the, the, the small detail that you pointed out about your wife saying, Hey, you should say something because it was those champions that we have around us often get overlooked. Right. And, and that is in a sense, like your coach, like, Hey, go out there and say this to him.

Whereas you’re just thinking, Oh, I mean, I’m sorry. We’ve all taken our lumps. Right. He’ll be okay. But her saying that to you, obviously again, it’s that butterfly effect. Yup. I know what you were saying. It’s that little thing that sparks another little thing then sparked that in him that I’m sure he went out and tried to impact or change someone else’s life for them better that day.

Or he can now remember when someone else is getting beat up what his coach, what his mentor, dr. Misner said to him. So I love it. And I’m hoping that people really take the time to think, think about that because just like you said, you never know. Positive or negative, the impact that you can have on someone’s day, which will spiral.

So I love it. Talk to me about what does it mean to have a dream and to go out and try to execute on that dream to you?

Ivan Misner:

Yeah, I’m a real big believer in setting goals, big, hairy, audacious goals, create creating your dream, where you want to go. I’m a very big believer on the law, of, attraction, the law of attraction.

you know, I think oftentimes when you’re talking about the law of attraction, people forget. But the word action is actually part of the word traction. And so you have to take action. You can’t just wish for things, but you have to take action. I’m a big believer in big dreams. and I think that that starts with having hope and we’re living in a time right now where a lot of people don’t have very much hope.

Right. And I have always believed. That you can, you, you have to look for the positive in things. I know you shared your story with me. Which you may not know is that I was diagnosed with cancer, eight years ago. Yeah. And I’m in remission. I did it holistically. We never had radiation surgery or chemotherapy and went into remission.

That’s a whole other story. but when I was diagnosed with cancer and I was driving back to my, I had a biopsy and I was driving back, actually my, my family was down in San Diego and it was a two hour drive. I LA traffic always slow. And I had a notepad next to me. And I wrote down, I actually wrote possible positive outcomes of a cancer diagnosis, and I wrote eight, eight or nine things that I thought could be possibly would be positive and could possibly happen as a result of me getting this diagnosis.

And you know Casanova every single one of those eight things came through. Every single one. And so that’s why I believe in hope. And I believe in taking a look at a positive spin on negative things that happen in our life, hope is listening to that little voice inside you talking about what can be when everyone around you is screaming, what can’t be.

Hope plus action. Oh, hope plus a plan and action. Create amazing results. Hope plan action.

Casanova Brooks:

I love it. I love it. This has been then again, a phenomenal conversation. I can’t say that I’m surprised because I knew from the moment that you hopped on here, the energy was just amazing coming from you. There’s somebody out there right now.

That’s just as inspired as I am and they want to blaze their own path, just like you’ve done. But they had that little voice in their head. That little voice that says that they’re not strong enough. They’re not smart enough or maybe they just don’t have enough resources. What’s the one thing that you would say to that person to get them to just take action.

Ivan Misner:

I think we all come to the world with something special. We all have some super power that we may or may not be using. And I heard you use that expression earlier. I love that expression. Here’s my superpower. You may think it’s networking.

It’s it’s actually not. I taught myself how to do that. My super power is persistence. I am like a dog with a bone I learned years ago. If you want to be successful, do six things that thousand times, not a thousand things, six times. Six things a thousand. It doesn’t have to be six. It could be five, it could be seven, but you do it persistently.

So take the answer. Your question, I think is take your superpower. Figure out what you, what you believe it to be, and then show the world that superpower and understand that it’s, it doesn’t happen overnight. It takes time for you to achieve the kinds of success that you want, but you got to believe in yourself and you got to use that super power that God gave you.

Casanova Brooks:

And that reminds me of the quote. And this is something that a mentor said to me one time and, and he said, and this was early on in my sales career, but he’s you said “you got to just understand and be okay with persistence respects, persistence”, because anybody who you’re trying to sell, if they’re successful and they’re really a good person, they’ll recognize that they were where you are at one point.

Because nobody just creates it overnight. So when you’re making those phone calls, when you’re in there on a Saturday, when you’re doing those followup emails, they’re most likely still in the trenches doing it, or they have someone on their team doing it, or they remember where they started out at. And so that gives the connection all in itself.

So again, risk, persistence, respects, persistence. And, yeah, I love it.

For anybody who wants to stay connected with you. Tell us, where can we find you?

Ivan Misner:

So I’m all over social media. my biggest following is probably on Facebook. It’s facebook.com/IvanMisner.BNIfounder. So you can findit, pretty easily, but I’m on all the platforms.

Instagram. I have a blog, IvanMisner.com. And you can see that blog. I talked about that I wrote 2007 it’s it’s on there. I shifted it from entrepreneur to there. and of course, if anyone’s interested in bni.com where we’re now meeting because of COVID we’re meeting online. So we shifted from in person meetings to online meetings.

And when, when The Great Pause, I like to call it. Remember, I like positive things rather than calling it a quarantine. I call it The Great Pause. The pause button has been hit on the world. And so when the play button has hit again, we will go back to in person meetings. But right now all of our chapters, all 9,600 are meeting online.

So go, go visit an online chapter, and then, and then participate. Face-to-face when were released from the great pause being out of town.

Casanova Brooks:

Well, definitely put all of those show notes or those links in the show notes. But to your point, I was watching the video early this morning when I first woke up and it was by a great lady.

She actually did episode 100 for us, Rhonda Britten. And so she’s an amazing lady, amazing story. But she was talking about how do you communicate with yourself and what are the things that you’re telling yourself through this great pause, but she said even a couple of different ways that you could spin it is to look at it as one a solitude.

Right. Like a positive solitude. And the other word that I really liked is she said an incubation, right? Look at this as like an incubation period right now. Yeah. I was like, Oh man, I really love that. And so that’s the way that I’ll start to communicate that in my mind is like, we all have an opportunity.

And I said it right when we first heard about this, you know, potential quarantine and shut down and lockdowns, is it this for anybody almost, this is an opportunity to reset your situation.

Ivan Misner:

Yeah, right.

Casanova Brooks:

With all the different funds, whether you’re a small business, whether there’s unemployment, there’s an opportunity.

Whether you got laid off, everything’s happening for you instead of to you. So for a lot of people, they were like, Hey, like, I want to find time to leave my job and to go work on my business or my dream or whatever, but I just don’t have the time when now people are working from home. And so it’s another way, a different perspective.

And maybe it’s even for some people, they thought they wanted to work from home. But then they got home and now they got the kid and they’re like, okay, this is, what day are we supposed to get back into the office?

And so is it again, then things will happen how they’re supposed to. And just like this conversation, I feel like in the end of everything that happens for you, not to, you you’ll have a different perspective, which will give you more meaning on where you’re supposed to be.

And so I want to say thank you again, if you have any parting words that you want to leave with, I’ll open up the floor to you. Sure.

Ivan Misner:

Sure. So, you know the expression, “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know?”. I don’t think it’s either, it’s what you know or who, you know, I think it’s how well, you know, each other that really counts because you could know somebody, but the question really is could you pick up the phone?

Could you call them. Would they take your call? And if you asked for a favor, would they be willing to do grant the favor? It’s not just who, you know, it’s how well, you know, each other, that really makes a difference. And that if you want to build a powerful personal network, that’s the mentality that you need to have to go into it.

Casanova Brooks:

I love it. I feel, I feel like we should have been having these conversations for many years now and, and it would be so easy for us to connect because there’s something that I made a video about this on YouTube. And this is why it feels like it’s a, I’ll, I’ll use the word nostalgia, but it definitely feels like deja VU and the connection, because I always tell people, you know, it’s not about what, you know, it’s not even about who, you know, but it’s really saying the exact same thing that you’re saying, which is.

Who knows you, who is willing to put their sponsorship and their stamp of approval on your name. And I’ll always give this scenario of, if you said, Hey, you met somebody, you were applying for a job and you say, Oh, you know, Casanova, I know Casanova. And then all of a sudden that person gives me a call and they say, Hey, do you know Ivan?

And I say, I kind of know Ivan, I don’t really know him though. Like he seems like a good guy and it’s like, okay, well now how, how secure do you think you’re going to get that job? Right. For lack of a better term. But if I said, Oh, I, if you got an opportunity to get Ivan to work for your company or to be on your team, You gotta lock that up.

Like I’ve seen, he is incredible now all of a sudden the energy so much, and it’s like, Oh yeah, like I got to get Ivan then. And so it’s about how well do they know you? Which is the same thing. No, it’s a two way street of exactly what you were saying. Like, will they do the favor?

But your example, there is a perfect example of a third party testimonial, and that’s why referrals work because when you have a third party say, Oh yeah, that person’s great.

You should do business with them. That third party testimonial makes referrals work incredibly well. That’s why last year in 2019 being I passed 12.7 million referrals. Wow. Actually she was 12.3 million referrals. We generated 16.7 billion us dollars worth of business for our members from referrals and during the COVID virus during COVID during the great pause, we generated $2 billion worth of business for our members.

According to our members, that’s the number they gave us.

I love it. I love it. Well, again, it’s all attribute to the leadership that you use set out 35 years ago, and the foundation that you built built off of the right principles. And so I would say thank you. I know that BNI has attributed to my success.

and I appreciate you, and I’m honored that you came onto the show and I’m sure there is. So many lives that will be impacted from this episode. So thank you again and remember DreamNation, just as he said in the dream we trust, but we must take action. We all want that attraction, but action is a part of attraction and without the action, it’ll only merely be a fantasy.

So that’s all for this one. We’ll see you on the next one.





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