Knowing the Difference Between ‘Open’ and ‘Closed’

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Dr. Ivan Misner guides CNN Reporter in how to work a room.

It's difficult to break into that kind of a conversation. You're clearly barging in. On the other hand, if you have an open two...they're clearly leaving a space open for somebody else to kind of just sashay right on into the position and listen in and strike up a conversation with the others.

CNN reporter Richard Quest scanned the room full of movers and shakers at the annual economic forum in Davos, Switzerland as he prepared his story on networking. With crowds of political leaders and gurus, plus the occasional movie star, milling about, Quest knew he was in a networking gold mine. But he needed an expert, a real networking heavyweight who could help him navigate this primetime opportunity with elan.

That's why he had Dr. Ivan Misner at his side. Founder and Chairman of BNI, an international referral networking organization that helps businesses and professionals cultivate success through word-of-mouth marketing, Misner opened Quests eyes with a quick tutorial. The lesson boiled down to seeing who was "open" and who was "closed" for networking purposes.

Misner pointed out a closed two. "You have two people who are standing parallel to one another, talking to each other," noted Misner. "It's difficult to break into that kind of a conversation. You're clearly barging in. On the other hand, if you have an open two...they're clearly leaving a space open for somebody else to kind of just sashay right on into the position and listen in and strike up a conversation with the others."

How about a closed three? "Three people standing in effect in a triangle, and there is really no room to step in. Now, here is an open three, where it is very easy to step on into a group like this." Misner showed Quest the group body language that signaled a networking green light.

Misner's other crowd-working tips for Quest:

  •     Include both your name AND your profession on your meeting badge. You can strike up a conversation with anybody on the planet if you just know what profession they're in.
  •     Have your business cards with you at all times.
  •     Don't start by approaching the biggest name in the room. "You want to go for people who KNOW the biggest name in the room," said Misner. "If you get to know the people who know the biggest name in the room, an introduction to that person goes a lot further."

Learn more about networking through BNI at http://www.bni.com. (Media: Looking for quote-worthy tips? Contact Dr. Ivan Misner at 1-909-608-7575.

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.MastersofSuccess.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 R. Drew

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Fax: 512-857-9428

16208 Crystal Hills Drive

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