How Networking has Gone Global

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Networking expert says referral networking was international long before Internet.

If one is looking for proof of the benefit of bringing business people from different countries together, they need only attend. What you’ll see is the fact that not even the speed and connectivity of the internet can supercede the power of face-to-face networking. It still works.

Believe the internet has opened up the world as your marketplace? It has. But according to one of the innovators and leaders in the old-fashioned networking – referral networking – his brand of business was breaking the international barrier decades ago.

Dr. Ivan Misner, CEO of the world’s largest networking firm, BNI (Business Network International), says that while an explosion in membership in networking organizations coincides with the acceleration of connectivity provided by technology, his company was creating international networking relationships years before the internet connected us all.

“My company opened its first international chapter just a couple years after its American inception in 1984,” says Misner. “Relationships between businesses in disparate countries have always been amplified by referral networking. But, of course, the improvements in communications technology have helped those relationships develop and respond faster.”

Misner also points to BNI’s annual International Directors Conference, a meeting that brings together members from all over the world, as a way that referral networking has historically fostered global business relationships.

“Our International Directors Conference has been going on for years,” Misner says. “If one is looking for proof of the benefit of bringing business people from different countries together, they need only attend. What you’ll see is the fact that not even the speed and connectivity of the internet can supercede the power of face-to-face networking. It still works.”

The 2005 BNI International Directors Conference just took place in Long Beach, CA in November, and attracted over 700 members from 26 countries.

BNI (http://www.bni.com) is a referral networking organization, with over 4,000 groups in more than two-dozen countries worldwide. BNI's Founder & Chairman, Dr. Ivan Misner is the author of several book's including the NY Times best-seller, Masters of Networking, (http://www.MastersofNetworking.com) and the recently released #1 best-seller, Masters of Success (http://www.MastersofSucces.biz). He is also the Founder & Spokesman for the Referral Institute (http://www.referralinstitute.com) a referral training company with operations around the world.

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Michael Drew

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