Today’s Writing Challenge Day 6 is Someone who Fascinates You and Why. I decided to put a spin on this one and write about something people have often asked me about which is my networking technique.
I go to a lot of music industry parties, events that require me to be around celebrities and a lot of executives. The celebrities don’t make me as nervous as the execs, because the celebrities are pretty much unlikely to do anything for my life and career. But, the execs are the people in whom I see myself. They are in roles and positions that I would love to be in, or they are people that I would love to work for.
Nerves are natural. That’s an important thing to know. But, my technique, which I have called The 3-2-1 Rule really works. So, here it is:
The 3. When I attend an event, I plan to meet three new people. They could be any three people. I usually look for someone who is working for the event, or the sponsoring company. The first of these three people is the person that I can tend to get my nerves out with. They can just be standing next to me, and perhaps we see or hear something together which helps me strike up a conversation. I ask them about themselves, they ask about me, we may go to the bar and get a drink (sparkling water) or exchange cards. This one successful exchange makes me feel energized and ready to connect with more people. The goal is to meet three new people and exchange contact information with them. Not to sell yourself or to get a job, especially in the music industry, because the industry is small and you will usually see them again or can do your follow up. The goal is to be seen, to be met. To come across poised and professional.
The 2. This is my favorite step in the technique. The goal of this step is to RE-meet two people. Because I travel in small circles, I very often see a lot of the same people. The goal of this technique is to say hello to two people that I’ve seen previously. To say hello to them, to let them see me in this exclusive event, to let them observe me in the environment. They already have my business card, and now that they have seen me the second time, they may be a little more motivated to reach out to me now that they have seen me again.
The 1. Ok, this is the big one. The goal here is to identify the “Big Fish” in the room. At every event there is at least one major person there who can help move your career forward. For me, last night, that was Jay Z’s right-hand man, Ty Ty (the someone I admire). The desire to meet Ty-Ty was for a couple of reasons. 1) who wouldn’t want to meet Jay Z’s best friend? 2) Ty-Ty runs a lot of the businesses connected RocNation. To meet him and put my face in his mental databank is important, because at the next event Ty-Ty becomes a 2 which is an important person in one’s career trajectory. It’s not 1’s who get your hired, and it’s usually definitely not 3’s (although they are good for small opportunities). It’s 2’s who open doors for you. 2’s see you (several times) and they come to respect you for your grind and your hustle.
The great benefit of this technique is that it gives me a plan. When I am in the execution of the plan, I can stay focused on getting the job done. The distraction of the event, the music, the noise, the drinking…none of that throws me off my game because I have my plan. It also keeps me poised, and I believe that “Poise is Power.” The other great part of the technique is that after I’m done, and I’ve accomplished my goals, I can either leave early or have a drink and relax and enjoy the event. The pressure is now off. I can meet a few new people, but without the pressure of it being “networking.” I’m just enjoying myself.
This technique really works. I have met a ton of people here in New York and previously in Atlanta, which is where I created and perfected it. I’m happy to share it with you. I hope you use it and make it work for you.