I’ve never enjoyed attending networking events and I have a hunch that you don’t too.
Why? It’s like an awkward “businessy businessy” meeting, where people have to dress up, smile, exchange name cards and talk about your business (or listen to others talk endlessly about theirs).
Here’s why you don’t have to listen to me:
1. I don’t have a business card.
2. I only attend networking events probably once a month or once every 2 months, not a serial networker of any sorts – I go on more dates than networking events.
3. I never become business partners with anyone I met from a networking event. But they become my friends first.
4. You believe your teacher or career counsellor can tell you how color-coordinating your outfit and hand-shakes are the most important.
Here’s your guide to how to really network. Ready?
1. I have decided what I wanted in my business, that is PFM (I learnt this from my good friend, Mark Anthony).
P: People- the project must produce value for people
F: Fun- if its not fun, or the people are not fun, I’ll get bored.
M: Money – it has to be profitable and worth our time
That is why, I’m not worried about sucking up or trying to get in the good books of everybody. If you’re a money-pincher, energy-vampire or workaholic who doesn’t know how to relax, we’re probably not going to work together.
Let’s get going:
1. So, what do you do?
If the person looks boring and I don’t really want to continue the conversation, I say “I am an internet marketer”.
“Oh? And what do you do?”
“I’m a blah…”
“Oh, okay, cool, have you met Melody here? (Connect the 2 people and get out to the food)”. <--- this is a contribution from Joan, my good friend. Too funny, but works like a charm. If the person looks interesting... "What do you do?" "I sell stuff on the internet" "Oh cool, what kindda stuff?" "Drugs." (of course I'm kidding). That usually leads to a laugh and then that leaves an impression. Once I get to know more of what that person does, then I start to reveal a little more of what I do. Online affiliate marketing, I build sales funnels, fun FB campaigns and sell digital products. I also teach people how to make money on the internet, doing what they love. I blog too. But I don't SPAM them with all the information. Just a bit, they can figure the rest as we go along. One of the most impressive things I find in a person, is that they get more interesting with time. One of the the guys I most admire, started off telling me he worked in IT, that he fixed computers. After a few months of getting to know him, I realized that he can also DJ, was an excellent singer, copywriter, surfer and stocks investor. If he told me all those things at the first networking event, I would have probably thought "Oh, a brag queen". And people have this impression that someone who is a jack of all trades is a master of none.. but in my experience, I didn't find that to be true. The most interesting people usually have a range of interests and areas of strengths. This is because they are curious. And their curiosity drives them to find answers, which drives them to do a lot in life. And to experience failures, and successes. These are my dream business partners and clients. Back to this guy. Because he make me like his personality enough to get me hooked, and showed me a little piece of his skill, to make me know there may be some alignment down the road, I stayed to explore. So takeaway: Be Interesting and get people hooked to your Personality, not your skills (They can figure that out later).
FAQ number 2:
2. What did you think about (Insert recent event)/did you hear about (Insert person and some silly thing they did)
– Have a few stories in your arsenal to whip out and use. Not everyone can be witty or know ALL the news. I will tell you a secret. I don’t READ the news. Anything newsworthy has already been curated and spread on social media. I subscribe to the low-information diet of Tim Ferriss and you know what? 2 years into not reading the newspaper and watching the news, I know what’s going on in the world and I haven’t become ignorant. I just read other things more relevant to the areas of growth I am seeking.
– Takeaway: Talk about an interesting experience YOU had that others can laugh about/relate to/find interesting. You don’t have to know every single piece of news out there. The serious or noteworthy ones have already surfaced on your FB newsfeed. Don’t panic and try to act smart.
– Another tip: Some people enjoy name-dropping or event-dropping. “Oh, have you heard of supernova sonic revolution book?”
If you don’t, just say no. It doesn’t make you look stupid. If you say yes, when you don’t know, you look more like a floundering octopus when you try and hide your blank facial expressions and are unable to complete details or phrases.
Just say “no”.
3. How to give a good handshake?
– A nice firm one with a big pleasant smile helps. From being around greatttt influencers, what I noticed is how they go beyond that, but touch you in a way that makes you feel their warmth, but doesn’t get sexual and make you feel uncomfortable.
Usually, this includes a nice arm on back, a shoulder pat— you’ve seen it in action- those build rapport instantly. Watch and observe, my friends.
4. How to build rapport instantly?
The number 1 thing to do, is to give the person a sincere and genuine compliment. “You have a really great smile”, or “Your presentation was really informative, you are a great presenter”, or “You have something about you”.
The number 1 question to ask, “Has anyone told you that you are appreciated lately?”
Watch people light up and instantly get into the present moment. My friend and mentor, Mark -coach of the coaches who have worked with big names like Tony Robbins and demonstrated this to me in real life: I’ve watched servers and toilet attendants go out of their way to move mountains for him.
He once left his sunglasses at a restaurant, but because he made such an impression on the waitress, she called 6 different hotels in the vicinity so that she could pass the sunglasses back to him. How’s that for rapport?
5. How many name cards should I give out?
I think the key to networking, is realising how just 1 person can open the door to a whole new world for you. You don’t need surface relationships with everyone, you only need to cultivate a good relationship with 1 person.
I don’t know about you, but I believe in intuition. You kindda know whether you’d hit it off with someone within the first 3 minutes of talking to them.
Why I don’t have name cards, is because, when I go to a networking event, I go with no expectations, and if someone asks to connect with me, if I’m interested in connecting, I’d tell them to add me on FB, or Skype or get my email. Most times, they just get my number and become friends.
What’s the whole point of networking?
1) Meet new people, synergise and create win-wins — but, I always aim to GIVE First, I don’t mind stepping up and offering my trust to someone and help to someone first. How they respond shows me so much about our relationship moving forward which can save a lot of heartache down the road.
2) Increase social brand (pictures of you hanging out in industry circles automatically makes people see that you’re in the inner circle, the niche and in the heart of the action)
3) Learn (usually, networking events are accompanies by speakers who will teach you something useful)
4) Discover new opportunities (in your conversations, ask questions that you don’t yet have the answer to… For instance, I went to ask how other people made their chunky affiliate commissions and discovered a new platform to source for products and learnt of a new traffic source)
So one example, last month, when I was in Bangkok for the Affiliate World Asia, I attended a blogging event by revenue hits as well.
I had a problem, “Google ads refused to work on my site”. I don’t know why, I tried the ad code, I asked my friend, Chris, for help to install the code… But it refused to work.
I thought “okay, that was it, can’t monetize with ads”.
But during the event by revenue hits, I discovered that Revhits is a google adsense alternative that has generous payouts and best of all (For bloggers), they had no prior approval process which can take up to a week, for Google adsense. Bingo, found my monetization plan.
Also, I met up with other bloggers who were monetizing their sites in various different ways, such as sponsored posts, guest-posting for a living, ads, affiliates for hosting solutions and their own products.
Looking at how innovative they were at making their online business work made attending that event worth it.
For those of you who wanna check out Revenue Hits as a google Adsense alternative,here you go.