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Keith – I feel let down

November 15, 2010 6 comments

I’ve thought long and hard about writing this post. I feel that I’ve been let down by someone on the very outskirts of my Personal Network – but it’s still disappointing (maybe I’m just too sensitive).

Regular readers of the blog will know that I’ve read and reviewed two books by Keith Ferrazzi – and more recently created a post talking about and recommending a free webinar he was offering to preview his Executive Relationship Management Course.

Well since, the point of recommendation, I feel that I’ve been spammed. I’m not bothered for myself – but I feel let down that I’ve

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recommended and passed on my trust to others (and if they’ve signed up, they might feel spammed too). I’ve had messages like:-

-> Emergency…Keith is going nuts on the webinar…
-> Okay, so maybe we miscalculated…maybe a LOT…
-> Don’t you need more sales and bigger revenues?
-> Your last, last chance for the program…
-> 13 hours and 25 minutes

All emails in that “old style” direct marketing format of calls to actions, links – and PSs!

I feel like I’d met a guy who I liked a couple of times who was an insurance salesman – then invited him to a dinner party with friends and he proceed to dole out business cards and try to sell insurance to my pals.

I can understand why it’s happened. The numbers give a clue – only 250 places, Premium Plus places at $3,988 and Premium places at $1,988. So that’s either a $1m or $500k sales target! We all have to earn a living.

My favourite quote on Personal Networks is from Mick Cope (who wrote the FT book, “Personal Networking”)

“By professional networking I mean a set of close contacts or associates who will help deliver my value to market. The key thing is that these are people who will ‘help’ you in the market, THEY ARE NOT THE MARKET. Sorry for the full-on letters, but my definition of a network is ‘people who will help amplify my personal capital in the market’, not a bunch of friends and colleagues to whom I try to sell under the guise of giving them a great opportunity. Active management of these people is not networking; it is client relationship management, a whole different ball game and one deliberately not covered in this book.”

It’s a great mantra – and you can see why Keith’s actions make me feel let down.

I am sure all people who have signed up for the course will learn a lot (I think no less of Keith’s professional abilities), I hope that Keith has made that $1m sales target (his talent does deserve reward) – but the outcome that I wish for most is that Keith reflects that in the process he’s drifted in to becoming the “Networking Jerk” (chapter 6 – “Never Eat Alone”). Keith’s changed from being the Farmer to the Hunter.

The reason I still like the books – and think well of Keith (even though today I feel let down) is that in both his books his ability to recognise and acknowledge his mistakes shows his humanity.

It’s also a lesson for me. I’m just about to launch a commercial venture alongside my passion for Personal Networks. I am sure that in my enthusiasm, eagerness (and maybe a little greed) along the way I will make mistakes too. I now realise there is a very sensitive line in my relationship with my Personal Network.

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Keith Ferrazzi – “Personal Network” Survey

October 29, 2010 3 comments

As you will know if you have read this blog before, I like the work of Keith Ferrazzi. His books “Never Eat Alone” and “Who’s Got Your Back” are great reads if you want to get an understanding of the dynamics behind building a Personal Network. The style is a little “American” for a shy, retiring Brit like myself – but the principles are good. As you can see from the banner above – he’s much more in to rubbing shoulders with the famous than is realistic for us mere mortal Personal Networkers!

With the success of his books, Keith has followed up with “The Relationship Masters Academy”. I’ve seen a good

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review of it from one of my LinkedIn contacts – Peter Osborne who runs Bulldog Simplicity blog. He says: “As someone who participated in Keith’s Relationship Management Academy, I can tell you that Keith’s teachings will indeed change the way you approach relationship-building.” He also offers this link to download Keith’s “Executive Relationship Management Blueprint”, which is basically a “cheat sheet for everything Keith teaches”.

I found it very interesting to receive an invitation from Keith today for a Free Webinar on 4th November – “Networking Secrets for Thriving in Totally Screwed-Up Times!” It’s unfortunately at 9pm US time (so in the middle of the night in the UK) – however, they will send a link to a recording of the session.

To sign up, there is a brief survey – and low and behold … the first 4 questions are about “Personal Networks”. Give it a try – I’m chuffed to seeing the term getting more usage (as you know from previous posts – the term hardly registers on Google at the moment).

There’s an interesting study in Chris Brogan & Julien Smith’s book “Trust Agents” about how the term “Lifestyle Design” was unknown until Tim Ferriss promoted the idea in his book “4-Hour Workweek”. Maybe I can get “Personal Network” to the same status (with a little help from Keith!).

“The Social Network” – and the school drugs & alcohol chat…

October 17, 2010 Leave a comment

I had a really thought provoking Saturday…

In the morning, my wife and I had been invited to our children’s school for a “Parents Alcohol and Drugs Information Talk” – and on Friday I’d read Mastin Kipp’s blog at the Huffington Post “‘The Social Network’: 13 Lessons Entrepreneurs Can Take Away” – and decided to spend Saturday afternoon at the cinema.

What did they both have in common – you guessed it Personal Network support…. (stop me if I am becoming a PN bore – do I see it in everything??!!)

Let’s deal with the less obvious first

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– what has Alcohol and Drugs got to do with Personal Networks? Well, our children’s PSHE (Personal, Social & Health Education) co-ordinator stressed one key point about the school’s strategy to protect our kids – they want the children to form in to groups at an early stage to support each other. They encourage these small, tight groups so that they deal with issues on a collective and supportive basis. Individuals feel that it’s not “peer” pressure to do things – because they work as a group to support individuality. Cool? I hope so – because I think their network of friends will be the best protection to the big, bad world that some of the talk illustrated.

“The Social Network” was a good film – not great – but I loved the topic. In the HuffPost, Mastin outlines the “lessons” of the film – so please do take time to review his blog. For anyone interested in business, social networking – it’s a must see.

From my point of view, the key lesson was that you really need a Personal “support” Network around you to stay sane in any business (small like most – or huge like Facebook). Marc Zuckerberg, the Facebook founder featured in the film, really didn’t seem to have this (partly through his destructiveness – and partly through poor judgement). He’d have done well to read Keith Ferrazzi’s book “Who’s Got Your Back” – before embarking on his enterprise (maybe he should read it even now!).

The film’s story is fiction (based on fact). Even so, you can see how his individuality and focus drove him to create Facebook – but his isolation (and not having a real “friend” to trust) lead him to make some poor decisions. I was lucky in business to have had good people around me – including my wife, who was (and is) always a trusted friend and mentor who “has my back”. However, I could see in the film many of my experiences in creating, building and exiting a business – especially the casualties in friendship/trust along the way.

Anyway, both my morning session at school and afternoon at the movies convinced me that a Personal Network is going to be the most valuable asset I have in my life – and hopefully my children will realise the importance too. Let’s hope Marc finds the same – because you can have all the money in the world … but things get done (and you live your life) through your relationships with people!

Gentle Networking

October 15, 2010 4 comments

As you will know from previous posts – I really like the work/blogs/books of Chris Brogan. He’s just launched a new blog called Escape Velocity – and one of the first blog posts he has created is about “Gentle Networking”.

I can’t think of a better term to describe “how to” develop a Personal Network. His post is full of popular themes:-

GIVING

“it’s not what people can do for you; it’s what you can do for others.”

“That’s the secret. If you can do a lot for a lot of people without needing

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the money, then the bigger ticket paybacks end up being amazing, and you end up having a strong and powerful network.”

“you MUST do these things without EXPECTING anything back. This is the super secret (and really really really hard to learn) part of this.”

This mantra is called “Pay it Forward” by Neal Schaffer, “Giver’s Gain” by Dr. Ivan Misner, “Don’t keep score” by Keith Ferrazzi and “Love Cats” by Tim Sanders.

FARMING – NOT HUNTING

“However, you can’t rush networking. You can’t rush friendship. You can’t rush the serendipity effect that happens from these experiences. Just like you can’t dig a hole, throw some seeds in, and wait a few minutes for the apple to fall into your hand, you have to grow your network slowly, and feed it value. You have to find opportunities to tend it, to give it light (by promoting others), and you have to give it plenty of water (or potential deal flow) to make it worthwhile.”

“We’ve connected each other with others in our networks. THIS is the longer value yield of gentle networking.”

Again, Dr. Ivan Misner’s puts this forward in his book “Networking Like a PRO” – and others follow the theme.

Chris is keen on “a face to face connection”. I’m also a fan of “real-life” relationships – and find that on-line networking is a poor substitute. However, I would take the view that with distant contacts (weak ties) on-line is an effective way to “ping” and keep in touch. I’m coming to the conclusion that the Pareto principle should be prescribed to networking time – 20% on-line (communicating efficiently with the many) and 80% real world (building deeper relationships with the few).

Chris’s “Gentle Networking” pulls together many of the key principles of Personal Networking so neatly. Do subscribe to Chris’s Escape Velocity blog and newsletter – it’s a good read (and hopefully a healthy supplement to this blog!).

Keeping Score?

October 10, 2010 2 comments

There’s a small news story in today’s FT Weekend about BNI (Business Network International) making an award to the UK’s most successful networker. Step forward 36-year-old Simon Johnson, who is a flooring specialist from East Anglia. The story is on the FT website – but you will need to register to get access.

The story says that over the past 12 months, Simon has generated his contacts £634,233 of business after creating 102 money-making

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referrals for his colleagues in the King’s Lynn BNI Chapter. It certainly shows the value of Personal Networks that are well managed – Simon seems an expert.

I am not sure whether Personal Networking is just about referrals (especially the measured and recorded type). In previous blog posts I have supported the view of people like Keith Ferrazzi (author of “Never Eat Alone”) that networking is not about keeping score. Also, one of my favourite quotes on networking is from Mick Cope (who wrote the FT’s book “Personal Networking”) – he puts forward the view that a network is about having contacts who support you, NOT that you sell to.

I find the BNI model interesting – but it does challenge my views on networking. The BNI’s “Handbook” – “Networking like a PRO” by Dr. Ivan Misner – makes a strong point about being a “Farmer” not a “Hunter”. I struggle to see how you are a “Farmer” when you keep score on a day-to-day basis. Does BNI – or Simon – get a “cut” of the referrals? Is this a “sale” to friends – or just the generosity of a good networker (with a small “thank you” attached).

I’m going to track down Simon in King’s Lynn – and ask him for his comments/thoughts. It would be good to meet an excellent personal networker – and I’d like to get his views on “keeping score”.

Triple Paths – blogging, Personal Networks and “Finding an Angle”

August 11, 2010 2 comments

Well, it’s been over a week since the last post.  It’s not that I’ve been twiddling my thumbs – it’s just the triple paths of blogging, investigating personal networks and trying to work out the commercial opportunity all compete for and absorb my time!

BLOGGING – as you will know, I have set out to investigate Personal Networks – and specifically being able to visualise them.  Well, I thought that I should start to make a commitment to visualise my findings on the subject and have been in conversation with the best in the business – Lee LeFever at Common Craft. I’ve also been checking out a recommended course on quick-fire video blogging from Gideon Shalwick at Rapid Video Blogging. Interestingly Lee is probably out of my price range – and Gideon has given me enough tips for free that I don’t need to take the course! The research continues (along with should I move from WordPress.com to Worpress.org!).

PERSONAL NETWORKS – I have finally finished Keith Ferrazzi’s book “Who’s Got Your Back”. It’s only been a slow read because of

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so many things to do – and wanting to take in so many other books. It’s a great personal development book – and it’s the best I have read that illustrates that your Personal Network has a “core”. Keith believes that even with a wide network, you need a very close group of people that look out for you in times of pressure/trouble. Keith uses his book title “Who’s Got Your Back” to pull this “core” role together – but also runs useful analogies of the 12 Apostles (even taking the analogy further when a rogue apostle leaves!). I am impressed by the way Keith opens his heart in parts of the book. As I’ve mentioned in previous blogs about his first book “Never Eat Alone”, Keith is a confident guy – but in this book he really lays himself bare to help people understand his networking principles (Four Mind-sets of Generosity, Vulnerability, Candor and Accountability). The books threatens to peter out (with long explanations of his business’s work with clients) – but I loved the final chapter where he appeals to us all to “escape silo nation”. I hate the modern way of working in “silos” – so what a great “rally call” for me!

“Finding an Angle” – I am just starting reading a new book – it’s self-published by Neal Schaffer of Windmill Network and called “Understanding, Leveraging & Maximizing LinkedIn”. I’ve become a fan of Neal’s blog – and he’s doing a great job on the gradual conversion of a LinkedIn cynic. Just finished Preface and first chapter – and already inspired by his growth of contacts from zero to 18,000 plus. Will be interested to see whether he commercialises his niche. Meanwhile, I am contemplating how Gideon gives away all his video teasers (which are very educational) – and leads you in to a course for $997, when Keith’s book leads to his Relationship Masters Academy for $2,000. We’re all looking for an angle- maybe I should consider training!!!??? … or a book….

Finally, I must say that I have enjoyed my “test study” with LinkedIn (reported a couple of blogs ago). I’m now up to 131 connections – and have pencilled in my notebook to get together to breakfast/lunch with at least 30 of them before the end of the year. There have been some diverse connections already (old contact who watched a friend perform at Edinburgh Festival, old photographer friend who can help with Artist in Residence project I am helping to initiate at Belvoir, etc).

If you are blogger/personal networker thrashing around the blogosphere trying to make sense of it all – do drop me a note or comment. Email is philobr@gmail.com if you want to mail direct.

Love is the Killer App – Tim Sanders – Book Review & Mind Map

July 14, 2010 1 comment

You will have seen earlier in the blog that Tim Sanders kindly let me quote a passage from his blog – SandersSays His reply to my request was very much in character: “Love it, Phil!  You have my permission – thanks for sharing the Love.”

Well, I thought that with such a positive reply – I should read the 2002 First Edition copy of his book that I’d found second hand on Amazon … and make it my first book review on the blog.  Here goes…

The book was read in one session (on a nice sunny day in the garden!).  The “Knowledge” and “Network” sections are a particularly

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good read.  One of the lessons learnt from the book was that if you are going to read a book – take some serious notes and note down at the end what you think the Big Thought was from the book.

I’ve never been a great note taker – but thought I would try to Mind Map the book with the software that I am keeping my “Personal Network” Network up to date on – MindMeister.  Take a look at the MindMap of Tim’s Book – I’d be interested to see if this is helpful to others?

The three elements that I took from the book were:-

* In the business world it can be a very successful strategy to be generous and giving. He has a great mantra – NSPS “Nice, smart people succeed.”
* An important tool in this giving process is sharing knowledge with your friends and contacts. Tim has an excellent perspective on books which I will share later.
* A healthy network is “fed” by you making connections through giving & sharing your knowledge with others.

The book is a useful source if you are looking for some ideas on business reading. Although the book is now a little dated (published first in 2002) – I suspect that the references are still very relevant to business today. Take a look at the MindMap – there’s lots of references to Tim’s favorite books throughout. Certainly, Malcolm Gladwell’s “The Tipping Point” is next on my reading pile (and that’s mentioned frequently),

Tim emphasises the positive aspects for you and your network in giving and sharing ideas.  He puts forward that you should be the hunter/gatherer of information for your network.  He also sees that through this knowledge base you should evangelise about new ideas.  It’s an interesting concept – and Tim seems to have a humble approach to this (it’s know that he knows it all – he just knows a new idea through a book he has read by someone else.)

This theory will appeal to those with a thirst for knowledge (I’d count myself amongst these folk).  It also gives you a positive application for that knowledge by giving to your network selflessly.  Tim has a cool way of working out what he reads (he use the analogy for dining) with Magazine Articles – Between-meal snacks, News Media (electronic or print) – Candy & Soda, fun to eat, but hardly appropriate to live on and (his favourite!) Books – the complete thought meal.  It’s changed my perspective – and when you think that the other lighter meals are shoveled with those nasty additives (advertising!), you can see why books get a big thumbs up.

I liked the section on Networks.  I share the desire to impart information to others – and he talks well about fusing connections with this.  It’s also not a cynical view of giving in order to receive back (either payment as a broker – or expectation of a favour in return).  Interestingly he illustrates through personal examples how at the edges this can go wrong (when people he introduce cut him out of a deal) and when it goes right (when a contact – out of the blue – gives him share in his company that floats).

My British reserve makes me cringe slightly through the final “Compassion” section.  I’m not the huggy/touchy feely type – so this is a little lost on me.  Maybe if I meet Tim at some point and he gives me a hug I will understand the “Love”.

In summary, on my journey exploring personal networks, this is a fantastic book that helps you to understand the principle of giving generously to feed a network and applying yourself to gaining knowledge to to have something relevant to offer to your network.  I like the core principle of selflessness in that giving (very much like Keith Ferrazzi’s not keeping score in my earlier blog.)  I would also say, that personally, Tim’s tips on encoding and processing books are excellent – and will be in my blogging/networking toolkit from now on.

Great book – “Loved it!”.  Thank you, Tim.

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