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This season, put others first

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Are you going to holiday parties this time of year? Will you be giving to others or selling them on what you have to offer?

Most would say they are going to enjoy the party, but some will try to sell others something. Don’t!

Bob Burg, one of my favorite authors, latest book is called “Adversaries into Allies.” He says “I call this Ultimate Influence: the ability to get the results you want from others while making them feel genuinely good about themselves, about the process, and about you.”

When you are networking at parties, find out something about the people you speak with that has nothing to do with their occupation, whether you work in the same office or not. Making a connection with people is not about selling them anything.

Burg writes “In The Go-Giver, my coauthor, John David Mann, and I introduced ‘The Law of Influence,’ which states: ‘Your influence is determined by how abundantly you place other people’s interests first.’ ”

I run into people all the time whom I want to avoid. You know the type, they always have their hand out and want to give you a business card whether you ask for it or not. Anyone who wants to do business with them on first meeting please raise your hand. No one? PUT OTHERS FIRST! It takes practice if you are not naturally wired that way. I’m a convert, so I know it can be done. My wife will like that line, by the way because she helped … a lot!

Keep in mind we all have a personal lens we view everything through. If you want to connect with others you need to learn how they are wired and what their needs might be to make referral happen through you network on a consistent basis. Part of that process is learning to control your emotions, as Burgs says. “Only when we are in control of our own emotions are we able to act out of thought, out of consciousness, and help create a situation in which everyone involved can come away as winners,” he writes. If you have a short fuse and become angry easily you will not be a good networker as others will avoid you.

Here are the five principles Burg recommends you learn:

1) Control your own emotions

2) Understand the clash of belief systems

3) Acknowledge their ego

4) Set the proper frame

5) Communicate with tact and empathy.

When you attend one or more parties this holiday season, listen and learn about others. You will both be better networkers as a result.

Doug Morgan is senior director consultant for BNI Central and SE Washington along with his wife, Joyce. He is also a SCORE mentor. He can be reached online through or email

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