Mar
06

The Butterfly Effect of Networking

Called the father of modern networking by CNN, Dr. Ivan Misner is a New York Times bestselling author. He is the founder and chairman of BNI, the world’s largest business networking organization. His latest New York Times best selling book, Masters of Sales, can be viewed at www.MastersBooks.com. Dr. Misner is also the Sr. Partner for the Referral Institute, an international referral training company. He can be reached at misner@bni.com.
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I recently traveled to Necker Island in the Caribbean where I met with about 20 business leaders, including Sir Richard Branson, the founder of Virgin Atlantic Airways and owner of the island.

My journey to this island was a dramatic example of the “Butterfly Effect of Networking.” The “Butterfly Effect” is the theory that a small action in one place has a ripple effect that creates a dramatic action in another place. It is like a pebble in a pond, creating ripples on the surface. For networking, it is about how a seemingly minor connection or conversation with one person may, after many ripples across the network, end in a dramatic connection later. During that week on the island, I lived that concept to its fullest.

It started several years ago when I received a phone call from a woman I did not know but who has since become a good friend. Her name is Kim George. Kim asked me if I would be willing to help with the creation of an online networking and social capital community. It took some work to put this together, but at the time I had no idea what type of ripple effect this request would have on my life. I did it because it fit the values and direction that I wanted to take my company. With that, the ripple began.

This relationship turned into a strategic alliance, which turned into a speaking engagement, which allowed me to meet Jack Canfield (co-author of Chicken Soup for the Soul); which led to an invitation from Jack to participate in an international organization called the Transformational Leadership Council; which led to meeting a woman by the name of Nancy Salzman, owner of NXIVM Training. Getting to know Nancy led to an invitation for my wife and I to spend five days on the breathtakingly beautiful Necker Island where we met with financial wizards, movie producers, and successful business leaders, such as Sir Richard Branson (OK, I won’t hold back … this week was a networker’s dream).

The ripples that take place in the networking process may not be clear when the pebble drops into the water and the ripple begins.

What is certain is that there is a ripple.

And if you follow that ripple and make the most of the contacts you meet during each stage of that journey, it can lead you to making connections and creating relationships that may surprise you when you look back to where the journey first started.

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