Never Fear Your Opportunity to ‘Show Cause’

I’m often approached by people in my business for advice or to share their problems. The thing is, more often than not, these ‘problems’ are actually opportunities – whether an opportunity to better serve their customers and colleagues, or an opportunity to improve themselves.

Just the other day, someone came to me quite stressed and worried because he had been given a ‘show cause’ letter. He was almost beside himself. I asked him why he would be worried about being given a ‘show cause’ letter? I told him that he should actually be happy. This letter shows that they respect him, and they’re giving him an opportunity to share his side of the story. His answer to this was, “But you don’t understand! They’re questioning me! I must defend myself!”

I asked him why would he not want to be questioned and why he thought he had to ‘defend’ himself? For, it is in being questioned that keeps us on our toes and forces us to question ourselves in a quest to improve ourselves. His attitude to the situation was stemming directly from fear and insecurity, and this led to his instantly defensive reaction.

After our discussion, he was able to see the situation from an entirely different perspective, and I could almost physically see the stress leaving his eyes and his defiance and ego disintegrating into a new recognition of the situation; of the opportunity.

It is unfortunate, but fear and insecurity happens in the workplace and in our personal lives everyday. Together, they act as almost insurmountable hurdles to our own development and as proverbial blinders to opportunity.

Ignorance is the root cause of fear. If we are ignorant to our own faults, we allow fear and insecurity to breed within us. We will defend ourselves and we will always be too conscious of what others think of us… and this is to our own detriment. If we are ignorant, we will build up a façade of someone we’re really not. We will build a wall around us that we think is protecting us, but all it is doing is imprisoning us. It is denying our insecurities, instead of allowing us to face them. If we live like this – if we live in fear of scrutiny and in insecurity – we will never be able to be happy. We’ll always be trying to be someone we’re not and always trying to live up to what we want others to think of us, instead of just being who we truly are.

Think of a mouse that is stealthily crawling and sneaking around trying to steal food and living totally in the fear that someone will step on them or lure them into a mouse trap. The mouse has no peace or happiness, for he lives in fear and insecurity. Although the world is a dangerous place, we are human beings and we can release ourselves from this fear by simply giving up this false ego; by giving up all of our walls.

The nature of the soul is that we want to love and be loved. We cannot openly and fully do that from within our walls of fear and insecurity.

In the workplace, there is nothing worse that not being able to accept criticism. We think that if we don’t cover our mistakes and if we don’t defend ourselves against criticism, that we will be seen as incompetent and that we’ll be fired. We are always in fear of judgement.

But we are all imperfect. And when we realise that we are imperfect, we are much more understanding about others’ imperfections. And if we have that understanding of ourselves and of others, then humility becomes a natural by-product. It’s not bad when you see other people who are better than you. Accept it. Learn from it. There’s no reason to pretend you’re better than them. Why the competition? That’s stressful! You are causing your own stress and that’s unnecessary baggage for you, not them. When you feel good about yourself, it radiates out to others.

If you want my advice… my basic, humble advice, then it is quite simply to be down-to-Earth. Be real. Accept an opportunity to improve, when at first you may think that someone is challenging you or criticising you. Real humility is courage. Courage is accepting what you are, despite your disabilities. Real humility is service. And that is our core. What is the greatest service? To turn materialistic consciousness into spiritual consciousness… this is humility. This is courage. This is true service to humanity.

Yours sincerely,

Joseph Bismark
Group Managing Director
QI Group

Yoga: More Than Just an Hour at the Gym

I am heartened and happy to see that the practice of Yoga has seemingly spread throughout the world. Yoga, in its many forms, is something that I have practiced every day for many, many years, and to know that this quest for enlightenment is being shared by millions of people around the world is a reassuring thought to me.

But I also worry that people don’t realise that going to the gym and ‘doing Yoga’ is not what it’s all about. I find it amusing when people say, “Oh, I’ve just come from yoga.” I think to myself if they realise that what they’re really stating is that they’ve just come from a union with The Supreme Person.

Yoga is almost ageless in its origins. It is a quest for enlightenment and ultimately it is the quest for union with The Supreme Person. Without this quest and purpose, Yoga is no longer Yoga, but rather an exercise routine. Since its introduction to the modern, mainstream world, Yoga has been associated more with ‘Yoga mats’, gymnastic exercise and the fitness of body, more than it has been associated with its true purpose. What many have not realised is that Yoga does not start and end with specific movements of the body and a peacefulness of the mind – that is Hatha Yoga, made up of asanas, or poses. Yoga certainly does include these aspects, but its purpose – as opposed to its action – is much harder to achieve and practice, yet it is the core definition of Yoga.

Yoga is a Sanskrit word that means ‘union with The Supreme Person’. The closest English word to Yoga is ‘yoke’, such as when you ‘yoke’ two animals together. When you yoke them, you are uniting them. The very nature of that union is not merging, but two distinct entities uniting together as one. Yoga follows this same meaning; it is when two individuals – the practitioner and The Supreme Person – come together in love and in purpose. So, the real meaning of Yoga is union with The Supreme Person, and the very nature of that union refers to a loving devotion and service, called bhakti. This is why true Yogis (those who study Yoga) and true Yoga masters understand that Yoga is a means to an end, but the end as well – it is achieving union with The Supreme Person through the practice of devotion and union with that Supreme Person; through bhakti.

It may come as a surprise to some to know that Yoga can be performed without a defined choreography of physical movement; many forms of Yoga are actually quite far removed from the common association of yoga mats, stretching and breathing that today is commercially synonymous with the modern concept of Yoga (Hatha Yoga). Just one example of this is Jnana Yoga. Jnana in Sanskrit means ‘the path of knowledge’. It is the system of understanding The Supreme Person through the research of scriptures, the understanding of knowledge and the process of learning. The purpose is the same as with any other form of Yoga: to unite with The Supreme Person. However, the way in which this is done is through acquiring knowledge, as opposed to the more commercial notion of Yoga and Yoga mats.

The true beauty of Yoga is that it doesn’t matter if a practitioner realises the depth of meaning, purpose, or desired destination of practicing Yoga. Regardless of whether people realise it or not, even if they are just going to a few Yoga classes a week in an effort to be more ‘fit and healthy’, they won’t be able to help but to start realising that they have to practice mercy, that they have to be clean with their body, mind and soul. They will often drift towards vegetarianism. If they practice even the elementary levels of Yoga properly, it is leading them to the quest of a union with The Supreme Person.

So, even when people are exposed to the preliminary, commercial Yoga, they will reap the benefits. But they should not think, “This is all there is to Yoga”. Just like an ocean, Yoga is almost limitless and it can be almost impossible to understand its depth. But just as we can have a good idea of the ocean and what it is by analysing a drop of it, so too can we peak into the ‘bigger picture’ of Yoga by practicing even the basics.

Yours sincerely,

Joseph Bismark
Group Managing Director
QI Group

The Paradoxical Abacus of Life

Life comes packaged with highs and lows. This is a fundamental truth and no matter what we do, no matter how hard we try, our lives are – and always will be – full of subtle shifts between good and bad, light and dark, day and night, joy and sadness, hot and cold.

We all experience happiness. And distress? Well, no one wants it, but it comes anyway. To survive the paradoxical abacus of life, there is a secret. There is a balance.

You see, I have come to realise – as have many, much wiser people have before me – that happiness comes of its own accord, without a person having to desire it. We may put all our efforts into trying to avoid despair, but sooner or later, we will experience that too.

A sober person does not get elated when they feel happiness, nor do they become despondent when in a distressed situation. We should know, understand, and accept that there are dualities in life that are married to each other, despite our individual actions or desires: hot and cold; day and night; happiness and pain. They will always come. The secret, the balance, is that a person remains happy until they try to make arrangements to be happy… and that is the beginning of their distress.

I remember a story that goes with these thoughts. It’s simple, but perfectly sums up the consequences of not being at peace with cards we are dealt in life.

There once was a student, a yogi, trying to meditate in a hut with his yoga teacher. He was being bothered by a mouse, so he said to his teacher in despair: “I want to get rid of this mouse! It is annoying me and I cannot concentrate on my meditation!”

So, the teacher asked him: “Are you sure you want to get rid of the mouse? Because if you fix one problem, then another problem is quite likely to appear in its place.”

But the young yogi was adamant. “Yes! I am sure! I simply cannot meditate with this silly mouse running around!”

So the teacher suggested that the yogi get a cat to take care of the rogue mouse.

The problem of the mouse was gone. But just as the student started to settle back into his meditation, the cat started meowing. To quieten the cat, the student decided to get some milk. But from where could he get the milk?

A cow was brought to the hut to provide the milk for the cat, who had rid the hut of the mouse in order for the student to meditate. But now, thought the student in an even deeper despair, who will look after my cow and my cat?

The student’s teacher smiled wisely. “Well young yogi, you should better get a wife to help you.” And so, the student found himself a loving wife, who wanted a house and children.

Because of one, little mouse, the student now had no time at all to meditate, a meowing cat, a large cow, a wife to satisfy, children to feed, and a life much more complicated that when a ‘silly little mouse’ was running around his hut.

It’s like this in life. When we are unhappy, we try to solve a problem, and 10 other problems arise. We invented cars for efficiency, and are now left to deal with the payback of pollution. Examples like this can be found the world over. The more we try to fix things, the more we ruin them.

Happiness will come to you – it is already vested that you will experience it, but you are not the controller of how or when you will experience it.

And with that, I leave you with a question that I am constantly asking myself. “What is the goal of life?” Is it sense-gratification? To be happy? Or is there a higher purpose in the human form of life?

Yours sincerely,

Joseph Bismark
Group Managing Director
QI Group

Beyond Positive Thinking

“Mirror, mirror, on the wall… Who’s the fairest of them all?”

If you ask this question, and repeat constantly in your mind, “I am, I am, I am”, will that make you ready to walk down the catwalk as a supermodel? If you are struggling to make ends meet and are strapped for cash, will thinking “I’m rich, I’m rich, I’m rich”, suddenly make a few million dollars materialise in your bank account?

As much as the notion of positive thinking has developed into a worldwide self-help trend, unfortunately, the reality of life and its inherent dualities simply cannot be ‘thought’ away through positive thinking. If you shut out the reality that you are not quite supermodel material, or that you are not next in line for the latest addition to the world’s rich list, then essentially all that positive thinking is, in fact, negative thinking. And that, my friends, could do you more harm that good.

Let me explain.

There is such a thing as the dualities of life. I’ve spoken about these dualities in one of my previous Gems (Maybe, Maybe Not. 28 January 2009) and tried to impart the importance of not being influenced by the ‘ups and downs’ of life. Because no matter what we desire or what we want, who are we to know when something happens to us is ‘bad’ or ‘good’. There is no escaping the fact that everything has its opposite. And what we may think of as ‘bad’, could in fact be setting us up for something ‘good’. The point is, we can not allow our moods and attitudes to be pushed around by the natural dualities of life.

Opposites are everywhere, they will always exist, and each opposite is vital to us. Night and Day. Light and Dark. Rich and Poor. Good and Bad. Without heat, there would be no cold. Without pain and suffering, there cannot be happiness. You cannot have a front without a back.

It is the same with positivity; negativity is the opposite of positivity.

So, when you ‘pretend’ that you are rich, you are ignoring the fact that you must first identify the fact that you are poor before you will actually do something constructive to change your reality. In other words, if you want to be rich, the first thing you must admit is that you are poor. Then, you can do something about becoming rich. You must realise the reality first.
This is why I say that real positive thinking means that you have to go beyond positive thinking. You must rise above positivity as well as negativity. A real sage or a real saint is someone who is beyond the push and pull of positivity and negativity. This is transcendental… to transcend the nature of things. This means that when you feel happiness, you should not become elated. And when you are sad, you should not become despondent. Rise above it all, take the good with the bad, and realise you can’t have one without the other.

Let’s all face up to reality and go beyond positive thinking. Let’s think beyond positive and negative and look at the real thing: Duality and the need for both sides of the coin. Real contentment can only be found within. Before we ask the mirror “who is the fairest of them all?”, we should already know the answer and what we are going to do about it.

Yours sincerely,

Joseph Bismark
Group Managing Director, QI Ltd

Societal Equality… What Does It Really Mean?

In society, everyone has a role to play. We all have a prescribed duty. Are some duties more important than others? Certainly. But in terms of function, every role is equally important to contribute to the sustained survival of society. We need the street sweepers and we need the heads of Government. We need the school teachers and we need the students. The individual importance of each is not the same, but the importance placed on each function when considered as part of a whole society is indeed equal to the well-being of society.

The concept of ‘equality’ has been misconstrued over the years. For example, women’s liberation activists will petition that women and men are equal. This is correct in terms of function, but not in terms of ability and purpose – because ‘equal’ does not mean ‘the same’. Men cannot give birth. Women are much more poorly equipped, physically and biologically, for heavy manual labour, than men. Yet, we need the functions of both men and women. There is a reason that men and women are built differently, both physically and mentally.

Similarly, the concept of equality in society has been misunderstood and distorted.

Consider the physical body. We have legs for walking, a stomach for eating, arms for administrative work and to protect the body, and we have a head to do our thinking. All this bodily division acts according to its function and, when each part works as per its function, you have a body that is efficient and effective.

On a whole, if you look at society, the different divisions or inclinations of people in general can be akin to the body. In society, the legs are the labourer class. They are the ones doing the street work and our construction. That’s their function in society. The stomach of society is the mercantile class who engage themselves in business. They ‘feed’ society. The labourers would not have work without them. In society, the hands are the administrators. They do the admin work, police work, government duties, and general management of society. They set and enforce taxes, laws, and guidelines for daily life. Finally, the head of society are the thinkers, the philosophers, the priests, the monks, the scientists, the philanthropists, etc. The head protects the morality, ethics, and religiosity of society. They influence the administration class to enforce guidelines that would make this world a better place. We need all four ‘classes’ to have a fully functional society, but certainly there is an inherent hierarchical system.

Still not convinced? Think of a bee colony. There are workers, drones, and a Queen.  Individually, the Queen is obviously the most ‘important’. But if each worker bee and drone bee did not fulfil their function, the whole colony would fail and die, including the Queen.

We need each function in society, just like we need each body part. But one thing that is often forgotten is that a person becomes a member of each ‘class’, not because of birth, but because of qualification. This is where the caste system in India began to be severely misunderstood. Just because a person is born into a family of labourers, does not preclude that person from raising themselves through education, determination, and generally qualifying themselves to complete the function of a ‘higher class’. A person’s prescribed duty depends on a person’s values, upbringing, and set of inclinations.

According to our inclinations, we all have different work. The point is that whatever our calling is, we should fulfil it to the very best of our ability. If your job is to serve at a restaurant, then give the best service you possibly can. If your job is to run a company, then be the most professional, ethical, hard-working director that you can possibly be.

If today you are a mommy, then be the best mommy. Don’t complain about staying home; what type of society would we have if every single child was raised by a maid, rather than his/her parents? If you are a boss, don’t complain about having to go to work every day. Set a good example; this is your prescribed duty and it is you who aspired to be in this position.

One last thing to remember, is that in life, we all have multiple roles to play. A CEO is not just a CEO, but also a husband, a father, a friend, a son. When you go home, take off your CEO hat… Don’t start setting KPIs for your four-year-old child.

Yours sincerely,

Joseph Bismark
Group Managing Director, QI Ltd

If You Complain, You Are To Blame

There is something that we all do every day, yet we usually don’t notice that we are doing it. Nor do we notice the effect that it has on ourselves or on others.

This ‘something’ that we do every day has become so ingrained in us that if we stopped to analyse why we are doing it, I really don’t think we’d have an answer.

The thing that we all do is complain. Complain, complain, complain.

It’s a cloudless day and the sun is shining its warmest embrace. You have the day off work, so you put your feet up to relax on the balcony while reading the paper. It is pure paradise as the birds sing in the background. The only thing wrong is… all the mosquitoes!

Or maybe this is somewhat familiar: You’ve waited so long for your new car to arrive at the dealership and once you get the call that your shiny new model has arrived, you race down to pick it up and drive away.  And then, the traffic light turns red and you start cursing to yourself with utter impatience while you wait for the light to turn green.

Never will we find a perfect situation wherein a person would stop complaining. Even when we finally find a place that is perfect paradise, there’d be mosquitoes.

We have everyday experiences that impact on our reality and on us. It is up to us to determine how these experiences impact us. Shall we get annoyed and complain to anyone who will listen to us? Or should we look for the opportunity within the challenge; should we take it as a lesson learned and move on as a better and improved person? It is a case of one person seeing the glass half empty, while the other sees it as half full.

If it is raining and you get wet, don’t complain that you’re getting wet. Of course you are getting wet! You went into the rain, didn’t you? So, it’s your fault. Just go get an umbrella.

With all the complaining, it seems that everyone is doing the wrong thing, more or less, as we have complaints for everything and everyone…except for ourselves. You see, ‘Complain’ has a cousin. To be able to complain, you have to be able to blame someone or something. So, ‘Blame’ is the cousin of Complain.

As soon as you start blaming others, then it becomes an indefinite belief habit that the problem is ‘them’ or ‘it’, but never ‘me’. Then, as you blame the things and events around you, you start to see the world as the problem. The thought process that follows is that you think you need to change people, things and the world, so that you will not have to complain about them. This leads to the need to control and dominate. You never see it as your fault, and at this stage, you start imposing your beliefs, your rights and your opinions on other people to change them. You try to change people without ever looking inwards towards yourself as the subject that needs changing.

Anyone who has been to a hospital would have expected to see sick people there. Why? Because a hospital is for sick people and they go to the hospital to get better, so we expect to see sick people at a hospital, right? Well, similarly, the world is like a big hospital filled with imperfect people, including yourself and myself, who are all here to get better and to improve and develop ourselves. That’s what life is basically all about — to improve ourselves and cure ourselves of our envy, our greed, our anger. All these sicknesses we have as people, you can cure them by seeing the disease of others. Because the diseases you see, should be reflected upon yourself. You must realise that you too, are not perfect. This is the beginning of making an actual positive change as a person: recognising you are at fault.

Let’s try, even for just one week, to stop complaining. Every morning when you wake up, make a promise to yourself that you won’t complain. You won’t blame. You will look to within for the change that you feel needs to be made in order to stop complaining. Good luck.


Joseph Bismark
Group Managing Director, QI Ltd

Putting the ‘Happy’ in a “Happy New Year”

Late every December, I wish people a ‘Happy New Year’ and of course, I receive the same year-end wish in these three little words from my friends, family and even strangers. At this time of year, we hear ‘Happy New Year’ everywhere we turn, because we’re expecting the coming 12 months to bring us something new, something different, something that will finally make us ‘happy’.

Everyone wants to be happy. While we’re busy wishing everyone a ‘Happy New Year’, we should be taking some time to look at what we did in the year that has just gone by and figure out why it didn’t make us happy. We were wished a happy new year last year, weren’t we? So, what went wrong?

I’ve been contemplating New Year’s resolutions a lot lately. A ‘resolution’ is a former solution from last year that we weren’t able to complete, or perhaps that didn’t make us happy. Therefore, we need to repeat it or improve it. Hence, the word ‘re-solution’.

It seems we are always wishing for the world around us to change before we can be happy. “I’ll be happy if I get a new job, or if there is a change in government, or if I get that new car I’ve had my eye on, or if I had more money…” Do any of these sound familiar?

The fact is that the search for real and lasting happiness and contentment should not be conducted in the world around us. The quest begins and ends within ourselves. In order to be happy, we must change, not the things around us. We must change our lifestyle, our mindset, our actions, our thoughts, and our attitudes. It is my opinion that at a time of making New Year’s resolutions and wishing those around us to be ‘happy’ in the new year, we should look inwards towards ourselves and become more analytical of why we’re not happy and how we can be happy.

How can you be happy if you’re not going to make major changes? Resolutions…? No, no, I don’t want to talk about resolutions. Let’s talk about solutions; solutions you have to realise to ensure you really do have a ‘Happy New Year’.

There are four propensities in life – eating, sleeping, mating, and defending – that we share with animals. But there are four fundamental principles that we, as human beings, are capable of that separates us from animals: Austerity, Cleanliness, Mercifulness, and Truthfulness. These are the foundations of human life and to be truly happy, we must change ourselves from within to embody these principles in order to discover what it truly means to be happy.

How can you be happy if you are not truthful and you wrap your life in deceit?

If you are not cleansed in the mind, body and soul, do you honestly think such impurity can lead to deep-seated happiness?

Compassion, tolerance and forgiveness are all part of being merciful and are tantamount to a life happily led.

The ability to accept discomfort and pain for the greater good, to express austerity, to make sacrifices for the ones you love; happiness comes from giving ourselves for others, no matter what the cost.

I believe that these four pillars are what will make one happy. They are all interrelated and they are all bricks in the road to happiness. But you must pave these bricks yourself.

This year, think about how you can change from within and apply these four principles to your life. It won’t come easy; it takes practice to achieve the height of happiness that is available to us all if only we look inside ourselves and make the change.

So, in all sincerity and with all the best intentions, I truly wish every one of you a very Happy New Year. May you be blessed in 2010 by taking the first step towards being truly happy.


Joseph Bismark
Group Managing Director, QI Ltd

All Wrapped Up in Christmas

Once upon a time, three kings followed a star in the night sky in search of a newborn boy who was prophesised as the Son of God. With them, they bore gifts as an expression of their love and respect for the one who would come to be known as the Son of Man.

On this day, Christ was born. And so was Christmas.

More than 2,000 years later, this concept of giving gifts at Christmas first set by the three kings has prevailed, even if the true meaning of Christmas has been somewhat lost amongst the mountains of discarded wrapping paper and quick-fix presents.

From where has this pressure to give presents at Christmas come? From department stores with their glittering window displays and ‘Christmas Sales’? Money-hungry business people capitalising on the commercialisation of an ancient tradition held close to the hearts of many? From social norms, that say those who don’t give presents during Christmas are frowned upon as being thoughtless and uncaring? Whatever happened to ‘it’s the thought that counts’?

Before I go on, I should state that I am not a Scrooge and I certainly do not say ‘bah humbug’ whenever someone offers me Christmas cheer. I think Christmas brings out the best in people and today, even atheists will wish their friends and family a ‘Happy Christmas’ during this festive season. This is great, but do they know what they are saying? Do they know the meaning of Christmas? Whether we’re talking about the word or the holiday, you simply cannot have Christmas without Christ.

The very thing about Christmas is that it should be a time to remember Christ and give him thanks. The giving of gifts should be to express our love and respect for the people we hold dear. It is, after all, the season of giving. But let’s think about why we are giving the gift in the first place. Did you wander aimlessly around the shopping centre with a list of names, trying to find something – anything – that you could buy so in order to cross off another name on the list? This is not the meaning of giving. In essence, this type of present is nothing but gift-wrapped emptiness, devoid of meaning and emotion.

The best gift I have received this year was from my mother. She gave me a beautiful card with even more beautiful words inside. She said that she couldn’t think of anything to ‘buy’ for me that would bring me happiness; but she knew without a doubt what to ‘give’ me that would make me truly happy. She wrote in her card that her gift to me was that she would continue to meditate and devote herself to her prayers. She said she would give thanks to the Lord. She said she knew that this would please me more than anything else, and so this is what she was giving to me for Christmas.

What my mother gave me was something lasting. Something that was only for me and something that showed just how much she loves and cares for me. What my mother gave me made me happy, far more than a set of matching socks, a new alarm clock, or a new car. For Christmas, my mother gave me love.

There is nothing wrong with buying gifts for people at Christmastime. But ask yourself what the gift means – to you and to the person you are giving it to. The focus should not be on the gift, but on the expression of love and care for another human being that the gift represents. The gift doesn’t have to be expensive or elaborate. But it must have meaning.

To each and all of my readers, my gift to you is this Gem. May you take just a few moments to ponder the question of what the people around you mean to you, and by doing so, may you give them a gift that truly matters this year.
Merry Christmas and a happy, healthy and successful new year to you all.

Joseph Bismark

Group Managing Director, QI Ltd

The Fundamentals of Networking: Present the Present

Have you ever bought someone a present? I’m guessing the answer here is ‘yes’. When you buy someone a present, you obviously consider what the person would like, what they would want, and what they would need. Once you’ve found the right present for the person, it is then very likely you would take the time to wrap the present in an attractive way, perhaps with ribbons and bows, before giving the present.

Why am I talking about presents and gift-wrapping? Because the way you select and wrap a present with the recipient in mind is exactly the same as the way you prepare and present a presentation to your prospect.

Think about the word ‘presentation’ and analyse the word ‘present’. Just as when you select a present for someone as a gift, when you present to your prospects, you must consider the person to whom you are presenting. What will interest them? What will motivate them? What will excite them? A presentation must be packaged around the person you are presenting to, so it is very important that you know who your audience will be. You cannot rely on the same presentation to be successful with every audience. It must be tailored to suit your audience, so it is therefore essential to have established a relationship or rapport with your prospect before you present to them.

The next similarity between present-giving and presenting is that you don’t give a gift that is not nicely wrapped, and you don’t give a presentation without wrapping it with all the right trimmings that people want to see before getting to the core of the business.

I used to give my daughter gifts without wrapping them, so to not waste paper. But my daughter would complain that it wasn’t as exciting to receive an unwrapped present. She likes the anticipation. It is the same with a presentation. A lot of people fail because they start talking about the intricate details of the business too soon in their presentation: the costs, the involvement, the compensation plan. When you do this, your audience will quickly grow disinterested and will think you’re trying to sell them something for your own benefit. They will not be as receptive as they would be if they thought you’re giving them a gift. If the audience is not receptive, it is the presenter who is failing. The approach should be that of giving a present. “Hey, I have something here that will be of value to you. I want to give it to you.”

Normally, in a big group presentation, you cannot be so specific to the needs and wants of an individual, and you can’t really close. So, that’s why when you speak to a large crowd, you wrap your present with many different trimmings, try to use as many examples as you can, and express various ways of saying your point, so that you try connect with each person at different times.

What’s more, when you are presenting, another trimming is the atmosphere and the environment. It is important to set up the right atmosphere, where people appreciate what you are saying to them. When I am giving a presentation, when I am giving someone a gift, I don’t become uncomfortable. I don’t think that he or she is doing me a favour by listening or accepting my gift, nor do I feel that I am wasting his/her time. I am giving them a present.
So wrapping it is very important. The different trimmings that would attract a particular person is best applied one-on-one. You can then focus on their individual needs, what they want, what dreams and aspirations they have, and all the things that excite that person. These are the trimmings. The details of the business are the present.

So, in this final Gem in the Fundamentals of Networking series, I am not going to tell you ‘how’ to present. I can’t tell you that because I don’t know who you are going to be presenting to; because who you present to dictates how you present. I can only give you parameters that you should consider, and advise that you should always show respect, be careful how you dress, be prepared in terms of what you’re going to say, have a thorough understanding of the business, know the background of your audience, and so forth. The rest is up to you and your prospect.

Joseph Bismark

Group Managing Director, QI Ltd


The Fundamentals of Networking: Getting the Invite Right

We’ve spoken about the need to do your homework, the invaluable process of developing your prospect list, and the importance of maintaining a prospecting mindset. So, now what?

Now you need to invite people on your list and who you have prospected to hear what you have to say. You need to pick up that phone and start dialling and inviting prospects to a business presentation.

When it comes to the invitation part of networking, I can give one very simple, very valuable piece of advice… make friends with your phone.

When I invite someone, the best mode is through the phone. The phone gives the perfect arena for me to say what I need to extend my invitation to a presentation, but without getting caught up in the questions and details usually demanded in face-to-face invitations.

Always remember – the phone is for inviting only. The phone is the place to ‘close’ with a date for the presentation. It is not the place to ‘close’ with a new Downline. Never attempt to give a business presentation over the phone. When you use the phone to invite, try to limit what you say. People normally ask so many questions and want so many details over the phone. So, when you invite someone, it is better to have a scheduled date, place and time in mind. Then you can invite them personally to attend the presentation, and you have a reason for not discussing everything on the phone. Also, be sure to have a set of schedules to tell your prospect, just in case they say no to your first suggested date.

On the other hand, if you invite someone face-to-face, be ready to present right there on the spot. People will often want to hear all about it then and there, instead of going through the ‘hassle’ of organising a time with you. And it is hard to reason why you can’t tell them about the business when you are looking right at your prospect.

Another thing about inviting is that it allows you to ‘prepare’ or ‘practice’ for the actual presentation, by becoming confident talking to people and building a rapport with them. Learn how to invite, even if you don’t have the confidence to do the business presentation just yet; you can always invite a prospect to someone else’s presentation. And there is a benefit to doing this. It is called the ‘Triangle’.

How does the Triangle work? Let’s use an example: Let’s say Mr B invites a prospect called Mr C to a presentation set to be given by Mr A. For Mr B to be successful in this, Mr B would talk about Mr A and edify him. He would build him up to Mr C by saying that Mr A will be in town and he is very successful and it will be very advantageous for Mr C to attend the presentation of such a prominent networker. You see, in this scenario, there is already respect and a relationship between Mr B and Mr C. In fact, Mr C is attending the presentation because of the credibility of his relationship with Mr B. This credibility extends to Mr C having respect for Mr A before the presentation even begins, simply through association. Mr B has spoken highly of Mr A and Mr C begins to share that respect. Mr B becomes the bridge. He attends the presentation with Mr C and gives him confidence in the presentation and the presenter. And then, after the presentation, is when Mr B makes the close. This is the Triangle.

If you have just met your prospect, build a relationship with them first before inviting them to a presentation. No matter what the situation, people don’t like invasion of privacy and they don’t like feeling as if they are being taken advantage of. So take your time.

One last word on inviting prospects: Never do it in desperation. When you invite people, it should be because you want to do good for that person, not because you are needy to gather Downlines. Don’t plead. Don’t push. Be polite, knowledgeable, confident, and friendly. It is truly amazing what these basic character traits can do for the success of your invitation.

Joseph Bismark
Group Managing Director, QI Ltd