The Story Of The Little Black Business Card Holder


Day 21 Of
The Thirty Day
Social Media Challenge


As I write this article, I’ve been working for myself now for almost a decade.  The number one, big daddy key to my success these years has been, hands down, networking.

If you’re not self-employed or don’t work for a bank, you may never have been to a networking event.  If you’ve been to a networking event you will find what I just said about working for a bank funny.  If not, well… move along.

The focus of this article is not to teach you how to network.  Although if you’re a small business owner, you should be out there networking.  The goal here is to show you how these powerful principles will work exactly the same way in Social Media.  After all, Social Media is building a network.

I also want to set the table for what we’ll be discussing tomorrow.  When you have a strong network, you can accomplish anything.

When I ran the martial arts school, I joined what is called a closed networking group.  It’s made up of local small business owners and employees each representing only one category.  There can’t be two realtors in the group.  You join and lock in your business category.

Each week we get together and try to give referrals and leads to each other.  To get these, you need to educate the group on what it is you do and what kind of leads or referrals you want.

I also attend open networking events.  As the name implies, it is open to anyone.  Local Chamber of Commerce offer open events where I may be one of many social media managers vying for business.

Givers Gain

When you go to these types of events you can be one of many people.  My weekly closed groups have thirty plus members each.  Open events run by the Chamber can often have hundreds of people there.  And they’re all competing for the same thing: your attention.

The ones who are the most successful in networking share a common trait.  The same goes in social media.

This trait was coined by Dr. Ivan Misner founder of BNI (Business Networking International).  It is the theme of BNI: ‘Givers gain’.

That means that people who go into networking of any type with the goal of giving first will receive later.  Most people go into networking with the opposite mindset, unfortunately.  Their slogan is ‘Give Me NOW!’.

Will They Even
Remember You?

Imagine going into a room with 100 people all with that attitude.  Now first of all, you can’t possibly connect with that many people in a short window of time.  But even if you did, if they all just want you to give them your money, who will you even remember when you walk out the door?

I joined a local big town Chamber last year.  Went to an event and met a bunch of different people.  Couldn’t tell you who any of those people were a year later… except for one.

This Truly
Blew Me Away

Kevin O’Driscoll is a business coach who owns RIY Business Group in Oxford, Connecticut.  He came up to me at this event and introduced himself.  But he did something different.  He didn’t tell me what he did or what kind of things he could help my business with.  All he did was asked me about me.

I consider myself a pretty good networker.  I tried to turn it around and get him talking about himself.  If you’ve never read the book “How to Win Friends And Influence People”, you know that people love to talk about themselves.  Get them talking about them and you can build an instant bond.  Kevin wouldn’t let me talk about anything but my own needs.  (If you have not read it, I highly recommend you do).

Here’s What
Really Wow’d Me

I’ve had that happen to me at events on occasion.  But he took it a step further.  He listened to the words coming out of my mouth.  Sounds simple, I know.  But you can’t imagine how many people don’t do this one simple thing.

When I was done talking about myself and my business he opened a little black book with hundreds of business cards of business owners he knew and pulled one out.  He handed it to me and suggested I call them because they really could use what it is I do.

I was floored.  This guy asked me about me.  He listened.  And then he processed that information and came up with a way to give me business.  He then shook my hand and left me with his business card.  He never went into great detail about himself or his business.

Who do you think I remembered at the end of the night?  I didn’t just remember him, I kept his business card out on my desk for months.  One day I invited him as a guest to my BNI group.  We now see each other every week.  And I would trip over myself to help get him business.

He made a lasting impression on me because he is a superstar networker.  I now have a little black business card book and try my best to emulate him.

Networking Rules
I Live By;
Online and Offline

I try to live by some simple rules.  Whether I am networking in person, one to one, or on Facebook.  The rules are:

  • Actively listen – most people are to busy thinking of what they’re going to say to actively hear the person speaking to them.
  • Give until it hurts – You have to want to help people no matter what.
  • Be genuine and sincere – People see through the fake.  You’re probably bombarded with free offers all the time.  Winners focus not on just giving but the intention behind it.
  • Treat everyone with the same respect – Whether someone can help you back or not.

People will go out of the way to give back to a person who helped them.  It’s called the law of reciprocation.  But, the intent behind what you give has to be there for it to work.

Kevin’s intent was there.  He really wanted to help.  His entire network knows this and that’s why they adore him.

When you focus on helping others with true intent, you magnetize yourself to success.  Not to mention whether you get something in return for your efforts or not, it feels pretty darn good to give.  In many ways, givers really do gain.

About Mike Brooks

As the owner of, Mike helps local businesses to get more customers online by making them findable when people search for their product or service, build their online brand using social media and creates celebrity and authority through video marketing campaigns. Mike also helps others build their career as social media consultants with


  1. Try writing everything with a fix target of 500 words.. that wud keep you focused and search engines, just like human beings like powerful writing, that gains audience and visitors too.. it’s a tough art and am also one of the many apprentice hoping to seek perfection someday..
    keep writing .. keep in touch
    Josh Nigam
    NEM Research Labs


  1. […] we’re going to pick up where we left off yesterday and talk about leveraging the power of our network to create content for us or with us.  We’re […]

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