Making the Most of Networking Events
When you go to a conference, you might be at some sort of web developer conference, you're meeting people. What I like to do is do little side conferences. What that means is I'll, before I even go there, maybe pick five to seven people that I want to meet and know more about. You know, these conferences, there's always little dinners and people are always getting cliquey, or they meet with their friends and then they go hang out. Me and the guys, we'll often, depending on what conference we go to, we'll set up mini-golf on a day when the speakers don't look that great, or after everybody's done, or early in the morning, we'll do a bike ride. We'll do an escape room. You guys, if you listen to the show, you know I'm obsessed with these escape rooms. So is my wife. We love these escape rooms. We'll set these up and we'll be like, "Hey, look." During the other little mixer event where everyone stands in the corner and eats subpar hot dogs that came out of a can, "We've got this escape ro...
om booked. There's five spots left. Do you guys want to do it?" And they're like, "Whoa, I've never done that before. Sure, let's go." Now you've got a little mini-event with the people you wanted to get to know better. Mini-golf, escape rooms, dinners work as well, but it's still like, "Okay, I can eat with anyone." You can offer them a little bonus experience of something that they'd maybe think, "Wow, that would be really fun." They can eat at any time. There might be a lot of that. Another thing is getting influencer attention. Also in the bonus materials, there's a lot more about this, and I talk about this a lot on the Art of Charm podcast as well. If I go to an event and I want to meet the speakers, usually I am a speaker at the event too these days, but I realize that that's not a luxury afforded to everyone at every event. What I will do is I will go on LinkedIn. Say I'm going to a science conference, which is very, very unusual, but it's happened. I'll go on LinkedIn and find out, oh, this person, the top line superstar science guy, I'll look up on LinkedIn that he really loves squash, and I'm like, "Okay." So I'll take a squash lesson 'cause I'll get my squash skills back up, and I liked that back in the day, and I'll email him and go, "Hey, I heard you're gonna be at this event. If you wanna knock around a squash ball before your talk, a few hours beforehand, I'm not that great, but I don't run into the walls anymore, so if you're interested, let me know," and he goes, "Oh really, I didn't even know there was a squash court nearby." "Yeah, there is. I know exactly where it is. I booked it for 9 a.m. on that day. I can get an Uber and we can go there." It doesn't always work. Sometimes they're like, "Hey, weirdo. Not gonna play squash with you. Sounds creepy." (audience laughter) But other times, they're like, "Sure, why not? Sure." If I can get a warm intro, and I also say, "Hey, do you want to play squash," even better. Warm introduction being somebody else said, "Hey, you should meet Jordan while you're there," and they're like, "Whatever. I'm gonna meet a lot of people while I'm there, fool," then I go, "Hey, actually, why don't we meet outside the conference, and have a little one-on-one time where it won't be awkward because most of the time we'll just be whacking a little bouncy ball against the wall." That type of thing works really well, especially if their interest is unusual. "Oh, I'm really into Soviet architecture." "Okay, well I don't know much about that, but I have an old Soviet watch. I'm gonna bring it. If you want to see it, I know it's rare because it's got a serial number on the back," and they're like, "Oh, that would be really cool. I would totally like to see that." Now they're looking for you, right? You don't wait in line with everyone else. You send them a message like, "Yeah, I know you go on at noon. If you want to grab coffee before or after breakfast, I can show you then." Now you're sitting down with this person. They know who you are. When you reach out again, they remember you. These little things you can find just by looking at social media and finding out what their interests are. I believe the term is "stalking," and I'm totally recommending it at that point in time. (audience laughter) Brainstorm the types of activities you can do at side conferences: Escape rooms, or mini-golf, or my go-to. There's probably a zillion more. If you're into fitness, you could do little bike rides, you could go surfing. That's one that actually, I love to recommend. I don't love surfing at all. I'm a little terrified of it, but it's one of those sports where when you do it, and you find out someone else does it, you're like, "Oh cool, we should totally do that tomorrow at 4:00 in the morning." Pass. But everybody else, fine. Go for it. All right, and what I want to do is have you do what we call the "Doorway Drill." This is a nonverbal communication thing. Normally we're gonna save this because we're gonna do a lot of this after the break, but I want to make sure you're doing this during the break. What the Doorway Drill is... Johnny, again, is gonna cover this in depth after lunch, the nonverbals in general, but what we know is that we judge people nonverbally before anything ever happens, right? If you don't believe me, go to the mall and you'll be like, "Scary, 'cause face tattoo. Attractive. Athletic. Threatening." These are things your subconscious brain does all the time whether we like it or not. People that say, "I'm not judgey," they're probably doing it even more. They're just covering it up, consciously. Others do the same thing to us, which means that our first impression is made nonverbally. It's made when people see us, whether we like it or not. A lot of us think, "Okay, great, so when I go to a networking event, I'm gonna stand up straight, and be confident, and look cool, and take up space," and then you end up with this thing where you're like, "Hey," (audience laughter) leaning against the wall, trying to look casual. Like Saturday Night Live, the Hillary Clinton looking casual and it's this really awkward lean. (audience laughter) That's what ends up happening if we don't relegate and delegate our nonverbal communication to the level of habit, and the way that we do this is called the "Doorway Drill." Essentially, if you all want to... Can I get them standing up, or is it gonna be weird? All right, everybody stand up. You can throw your stuff down. This is about the chin up, the chest up, the shoulders back, smile on your face. Not this, okay? This is exaggerated. You look like a weirdo. I'm sure you're gonna freeze-frame that. Thanks for that. But just upright, open, positive, confident body language. Now remember this position. This is the position you're going to reset to, and I'm gonna move around. You guys can't. This is the position you're gonna reset to when you go through a doorway, and what this does is it creates upright, open, positive, confident body language every time you enter a room, and also, technically, when you leave. Let's not split hairs, but when you enter a room is when most people notice you for the first time. Now, if we create this as a habit every time we walk through a doorway, even in our own house, in our own office, we start to realize that, and reset our position as this is our default body position. Not this, which is what normally it is, 'cause we're on the computer all day. We've reset to this position. This is great. This is a totally different look than most people have, and here's the problem. You're gonna walk through that door and you're gonna be like, "Oh, shoot. I already forgot the Doorway Drill." Grab Post-It notes at some point later on today, or whenever you get a chance. Especially those bright pink ones, or the green ones. Stick them up at eye level in the doorframes you go through most often. The bathroom, if you're me. The office, your own doorway, your office doorway, whatever, and that'll interrupt what we call your autopilot pattern. You'll walk through there and you'll be like, "Post-It? Oh, right. Doorway Drill. What's the... Oh, Post-It note. Right, Doorway Drill. Reset the body position." Then, next time when you go to meet somebody, you walk into a Starbucks, you go to a networking mixer, you're at your office, anything you do, you don't have to think about your posture. You've already got upright, open, positive, confident body language and nonverbal communication, which, since we know other people judge us right away on their first impression of how we look before we open our mouths, that first impression is no longer whatever it was before. Now it's open, upright, positive, and confident, if we've played our cards right. That's a huge deal, and then, of course, what happens is, they treat us as if we are confident, friendly, open people, and when we are treated a certain way, that then informs our behavior of how we act towards other people, so we end up, by using stinkin' Post-It notes on a doorframe, we end up with a core level identity shift in the way that we think about ourselves, the way that we behave, and the way that other people see us, which is pretty awesome for a stack of Post-It notes that usually end up just getting all crusty and hard and then getting thrown away, am I right?