While still in college, a young man who studying computer science was obsessed with comedy. He performed in small comedy clubs around the college he attended. The young college student interned in NY alt-weekly and his boss passed on his audition tape to Randi Siegel. When she called the young college student, he said, “I know you.” And proceeded to tell her all that he knew. So impressed with his vast knowledge of the comedy industry she agreed to take him on as a client that lead him to two auditions and a part on SNL.
Do you know who networked his way into SNL?
So after this young man networked his way into SNL. He didn’t stop there. After every SNL show, he thanked Lorne Michaels for the show. After he left SNL he flopped at a few movies, but continued to network…Jay Leno told Men’s Journal.
“Most people in show business think they know everything. They don’t really listen to the other person. They just wait for the other person to stop talking. Respectful is the best word I can use for Jimmy Fallon”
Yes, it was Jimmy Fallon who networked himself into SNL and The Tonight Show.
4 Myths of Networking
Myth 1 Networking is Connecting.
“Most people know 632 other people, says Judy Robinett, yet we go to networking events thinking that there’s only one person who can help us.”
Jimmy Fallon didn’t go to networking events; he connected with people to know whom they knew. Connecting is by far more powerful than networking. Read Jimmy Fallon’s story here.
When you connect, you’re investing in the other person. So instead create a personal network of people who you invest in and who invest in you. And when you connect two people together, you become a powerful 3rd person in the group. Connecting people will help you rise at a faster rate within your community.
At your next networking event, try and identify the connectors. Those are the people you want to know, not because of who they are, but who they can introduce you to. Some people just have more social clout. Doesn’t it make sense to know who the influencers are? Malcolm Gladwell wrote an interesting book on influencers and connectors called The Tipping Point.
Myth 2 Networking is About Speed Meeting.
Now, I’ll admit I’ve been to networking events that felt like a speed dating event! Many network “experts” suggest to meet as many people as possible…don’t waste a moment, and only give someone a couple minutes of your attention, then move on. That just feels stressful to me!
What works for me is this….know the people that are attending. Often times the network event planner will have a list of attendees. Ask for the list in advance of the event, and then do your research. Google and LinkedIn are my research tools. After you’ve done the research, determine who could be the best match for your business needs.
Select the number of people to meet that you think you can comfortable handle without looking rude and rushing to the next person. Then on the day of the event, you have your list, and you know a little something about each person. So when you approach them to introduce yourself, you have the perfect icebreaker because you’ve done your homework, and know just what to say…
Hi John, I’m Christine. Very happy to meet you. I understand your company has just completed a merger..tell me about that.
Myth 3 It’s All About You and Telling Your Story
Ummm…no it’s not. It’s not about you at all. It’s about everybody attending the networking event. I’ll just say it….don’t ME DUMP. I’ve experienced attendees ME DUMP all over the place. The minute they meet someone, they go right into their story. And some talk so long I wonder if they’ll pass out from not breathing.
If you are truly there to connect with people and become a connector, how are you going to do that when you Me Dump all over everyone and never find out a thing about the person standing in front of you? Instead…decide to listen. Ask questions. Be truly interested in the other person. They’ll see your sincerity and authenticity. As a result, they’ll turn their curiosity towards you and your business. Draw people too you instead of pushing people away with Me Dump.
I’m not sure who gave the advice to introduce yourself with your story…but they’re wrong. That’s self focused and you want to be outward focused. With that said…you do need to be prepared when someone asks you “What do you do”? Be prepared to recite something clever that just drips off the tongue!
Myth 4 Networking is the new Cold Call
Networking is NOT the new cold call. Like it or not, cold calling is still relevant today. Those that say otherwise, suck at cold calling or take the rejection personal. My business would dry up and wither away if I didn’t do my share of cold calling. Sorry..But cold calling is a necessity.
Think about it…Networking is a numbers game just like cold calling. Networking can get expensive too, especially if you’re a member of more than one networking group.
Now I have a confession to make…I bought into “cold calling is dead” BS. I wanted to believe it..But after months of going to network meetings and getting the same results as my cold calling average, I went back to cold calling and became very selective what networking events I attended.
And I’m not saying this to impress you, but to impress upon you I’m good at cold calling. I am. It’s because I do it everyday of the workweek and sometimes on Saturday. Use every prospecting tool available. Networking cannot take the place of cold calling and vice versa. They are two different venues..So use both.
Now, it’s your turn…comment below on any networking tips you can share with the community. Let’s talk!
Last…for the grammar police…I’m just finishing this article at 3:30 am. So if you find something misspelled or grammatical incorrect…try not to let it ruin your day. I’m human.