I want to say something that is contrarian to the kinds of things that the popular people are saying about networking. But it’s 100% true. Learn what these other people are about. Don’t run your mouth and reveal that you don’t know anything, you know? That’s why, if I’m sitting down with Margaret Thatcher or George HW Bush, I’m not going to interrupt the dinner conversation.
How To Network Like A Pro
Make micro connections.
If you can find a micro connection with other people, then it’s easy to be able to fit in because you’re already halfway there, you share the same hobby or interest. You ran track and field? So did I! We’re in the same Clubhouse room because we have a lot of these certain friends in common. Things like that.
I realized that really smart marketing is just using data to find something to connect with people on; data makes it so much easier. Instead of asking people you meet about the weather or the sports or some general topic, like where are you from, in the hopes that you can build a connection with them, you can be prepared to make a connection over something more substantial. Nobody likes small talk.
It all starts with one connection.
But in order to support networking, you need an “in.” So whenever you’re at a party or your group of friends, or you work at a company like Service Titan, whatnot, you need one, all you need is one in.
In my one in was Al Casey, who is the CEO of American airlines. Al introduced me to other people and I did everything I could for Al. If he wanted me to run an errand, or he wanted me to prepare for a meeting or to read a book or do some random thing and get coffee, I would do that. And because of that, he introduced me to Dick Han, who is the chairman of Allstate insurance, which is one of the world’s largest insurance companies.
And then I met George HW Bush, who was a president of the United States. And that introduction opened up so many other doors. People will say, oh, Dennis is hanging out with so-and-so, sho’s important. I can trace that all back to other people that have opened doors for me.
“Think about the people that you know who are powerful. Did you just meet them randomly? Or what percent of the time did it come through somebody that you knew that made that introduction for you?”
I believe that your networking capability is not about how well you talk. It’s not how well you sell. It’s not how good your clothes are or whatever it is. That those are all nice things, but, really, it’s about how strongly other people endorse you. And, if you’re a millennial, that’s the thing I think you need to focus on. Don’t think networking’s about yourself. It’s about other people endorsing you.
What is the first step do you recommend for like a younger person to start slowly expanding their network?
I want to say something that is contrarian to the kinds of things that the poppy other people are saying. Learn what these other people are about. Don’t just run your mouth and reveal that you don’t know anything: listen.
If I’m sitting down with Margaret Thatcher or, George HW Bush, I’m not going to interrupt the dinner conversation. I’m going to sit there and listen. I have nothing to add, so I’m going to listen to these other people.
Make a list of four or five of these people that you really want to follow. And don’t say Richard Branstetter, Elon Musk, or those sorts of people, other people who are successful, but not super popular people: learn everything you can about them.
If they’ve written a book or if they’re on Twitter or whatever, consume all their information, pay close attention. Then write a blog post about five things you learned from them. Tag the person in it. Spend tie to make sure that the content you’ve written shows that you actually spent some time and you’ve been thoughtful about it.
I know that this technique works super, super well because 99.9% of people don’t do that. They come straight out and ask for the favor.
How can you leverage on clubhouse to grow your network?
Use a Q&A format and try to add as much value as possible on a particular topic.
Q&As will grow your room.
I’ll bring up other folks as the room grows. Try to get the mods or the power mods, who have 10,000 or more followers, they’ll fill your room. The real power of a full room is that there will be other experts there, who can step up to answer questions. There’s no way you can answer every single question that comes up, and it adds a lot of value to be sitting in the same room with a ton of experts.
Clubhouse is where you go to multiply against your network.
LinkedIn, Twitter and Clubhouse all have powerful network effects.
That’s what value is to me. It’s not something that disrupts someone’s day. It adds something to it, whether it’s like something actionable, whether you inspired them to do something, whether it’s insightful that they got them thinking about something new.
If your content isn’t entertaining someone, if it’s not giving them something actionable to do, if it’s not getting them thinking like differently, or it’s not helping them answer a question or engage, like nobody’s going to, people are just going to scroll past it every single time.
How can an introvert start building a network easily?
You have to recognize where your advantage is.
Introverts tend to be more thoughtful. They tend to be deeper in terms of the knowledge that they have. They take a little longer to respond because they don’t want to just bla bla bla bla. A lot of the salespeople in marketing are super extroverted people. They’ll just go, blah, blah, blah, blah, right? And you might be thinking, why is this person even opening their mouth?
An introvert won’t want to open their mouth because they don’t want to sound dumb, they don’t want to say something that isn’t right. They don’t assume they’re most expert person to be able to answer that question. So they’ll sit and wait, and listen.
So in Clubhouse it can be disadvantage when you’re an introvert. But it’s a huge advantage if you are blogging, if you’re trying to rank on Google, or if writing articles where you don’t have to respond immediately, and you can take your time and think .
Introverts write the best articles that rank better for SEO. They thrive on LinkedIn and Twitter, where the focus is on a lot of words, and not about immediate response.
Extroverts, on the other hand, will have an advantage in Clubhouse, where it’s impromptu speaking, like at Toastmasters or a debate where you have to quickly come up with some answer otherwise someone will cut you off and keep talking.
Find those mediums that are based on what you have to say thoughtfully, to be an advantage as an introvert. Don’t think that you have to be an extrovert. Don’t think that you have to sing and dance on Tik Tok If that’s not your thing. Don’t think that you have to be a great speaker and run a Clubhouse room.
There’s so many different social networks that will cater to where your blend of strengths are.
What are some other ways that people can network that is not through just going to networking events and like, what are some things that you do?
Think less about the different mediums.
I mean, you can meet people in the dinners. You can meet people at get togethers. You can meet people on different social networks, and those are all great. Rather than thinking, I’m going out to network (because then you’re basically a sales person trying pick up lines), think of it this way, What is it that I want to accomplish?
RDo you want to start a digital agency? Okay, who are the top people that run digital age? You want to be a surgeon Okay, cool, who else is doing that? And how do you meet other people that have successfully done that?
And if you want to reach someone famous in your field, don’t try to cold call them with a pitch. Instead, look at the people who are close to that particular person. Everyone’s always trying to go for the celebrity. Go for the person who is close to the celebrity: the wife, the celebrity, or another person who’s a friend. Those people are never getting much attention.
When you do good things for those people and honestly befriend them and not just try to use them to try to get to the celebrity or whoever the famous person is at the center of the circle, then that’s how you build a really strong network.
And I think that’s the key to networking: Your connections making introductions for you. You never have to post. You never have to say how awesome you are.
Find someone who is a mentor. Maybe it’s the parent of someone who’s a successful entrepreneur or doing anything that you want to do when you set your goals. Maybe they’d be willing to spend 30 minutes where they’re mentoring you.
But study their stuff. Honor them. And they serve as a weak connection to be able to make introductions for you.
Don’t underestimate the power of a weak connection.
A weak connection is not the people that you know, directly, but the people that they know, so the friends of your friends,
You need to establish a niche that you’re known for.
Like find that niche that you can like dominate, even if it’s a small something that people know something or create a story that your friends could also talk about to you about. Otherwise it’s hard for someone to like, know who to introduce you to.
I’ve noticed that like when people don’t have like something that I brag about for them, it’s hard for me to introduce them to anybody. I end up saying, “This guy is cool. He’s a good guy. You should meet him. He’s a good guy.”
Think of little facts that your connections can use as leverage for you. Maybe if you’re younger you don’t have your bragable thing yet. That’s okay. It doesn’t have to be that big accomplishment. If you’re interested in 20 different things the key is just to pick one. And you can change it, depending on who you’re trying to meet. Most of us have many interests. Being multifaceted is a networking asset.
What most people do wrong when it comes to networking?
#1. Talking about theirselves and being so quick to try to represent that they’re a pro or trying to show that they’re worthwhile. Look, if people are spending time with you, you already are legit. Right?
I was on CNN in front of 3.5million people live, talking about Facebook ads and Cambridge Analytica, etc.
And I thought that I had to demonstrate that I was some kind of pro. Before they brought me on the show, the anchor said, Dennis, you don’t need to say any of those kinds of things. I’m going to ask you questions and you have 30 seconds to respond to each question. The key is just give me good answers.
You don’t need to talk about your background. You don’t need to talk about your accomplishments. The fact that you’re on CNN, in the studio means that you already are authoritative.
#2. You’ve got to listen. Really listen.
I find for networking for building long-term relationships, you’ve got to truly show interest in the people you’re talking to, and forget about yourself. It’s hard to do because you might think, how am I going to stay in this conversation, I’ve got to keep saying things that are interesting. What am I going to say next?
Those people are listening to respond instead of listening to understand. You’ve got to understand someone to build a connection with them. And the best way to understand someone is to listen to them, and keep yourself and your experiences out of the conversation. Make it about the other person.
Want to learn more?
I wrote this post on how to make meaningful connections. Take time to nurture your network to get the most out of it.
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