Is Your Network a Mile Wide and an Inch Deep?

Ivan Misner

This marks the start of the 3rd annual International Networking Week ®. You may not know that international program was started by BNI and is not being celebrated around the world. In honor of International Networking Week, I want to talk about creating a network that is both wide and deep.

In Southern California we have many huge, tall, lush eucalyptus trees that topple over fairly easily in the high winds that occur almost every year. When they're uprooted, you can see that their root system is broad and wide - but not very deep.

I think this is a powerful metaphor for what to consider in building your personal network. To go deep in establishing your network, you can do three things:

1. Build quality relationships. Take time beyond normal business interactions to deepen your relationships with referral sources. Invite them to social functions, learn their hobbies and interests, and help them pursue their goals.

2. Network in new places. Look for additional areas, outside of BNI , to find partners with common interests, such as Chambers, charitable organizations, and professional associations. Don't prospect right away; let the relationships mature.

3. Focus on others. Rather than having a "What's in it for me?" mind-set, develop a "What can I do for this person?" mentality. Continually look for ways to bring business and benefits to others in any group you're a part of. Become known as the person who always has something for others. This is a powerful way to both deepend and broaden your network.

If your network is a mile wide and an inch deep, it will not hold up in the winds of today's economy. Go deep in building relationships, and you'll do well in these challenging times.

Ivan Misner, founder and chairman of BNI, author of The 29% Solution
Copyright 2009. All Rights Reserved.

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