Now that the small talk is out of the way lets jump into this weeks story.
I am a better networker than you…and probably a better lover too but thanks to my generosity and good mood (and my desire to get my own TV show) I am going to give you a few secrets to help to make you better at both.
I call this week’s entry “Did I ever tell you about the time….Ala Peanut Butter Sandwiches Edition”
I am of the belief that every time I leave my house there is the possibility I could meet someone that may help me in my job or career. History has shown me that you never know who will sit next to you on a plane or tap your foot under a bathroom stall in a Minneapolis Airport. Random stuff happens all the time but not all opportunities are random and when you know ahead of time, like a conference or a cocktail party you need a plan to be memorable over all the other people in the room because if you think about it, life really is just about being remembered.
So here are a few things I have done (and feel free to copy but if you do you need to send me $5 in the mail)
I prefer to network with a partner because I can be funnier and more comfortable if I have someone I know but that isn’t always possible so a tactic I have used many times is to hire Magicians. There is no better ice breaker than close up magic and if you entertain people it gets them to drop their guard and welcome your product/service pitch. In Vegas a few years back I was lucky to hire Steven Best to be my networking partner. His name is appropriate since all the other magicians I’ve worked with have been poor substitutes. So much so that once I had to fire someone half way through an event because he kept hiding cards in his underwear and asking the people I was trying to meet to “go get the card”.
That never happened with Steven. The thing that made him so great was that besides being a nice guy he understood that the goal of the night was to make people remember me and he had a great solution. I would find someone to chat up and would say Hi. From there I would introduce him we would do a Penn & Teller like bit where I did all the talking (including a pitch) and he entertained. He would do trick or two and when he was done he would take one of my business cars (that were soaked in gasoline) and light it on fire, let it burn for 10 seconds and shake it till the flame was out. Somehow the card was in perfect (unburned) condition and he would give it to whoever we were chatting up. Needless to say we were the talk of the conference and people were seeking us out to see the trick and get a business card.
If magicians aren’t your thing you can always use mimes.
I hired a mime to keep me company at SXSW one year. Same idea as above, offer something so cool that people won’t mind hearing your pitch and not just wanting to get your card to follow up but actually desiring to follow up and speak again. There was no fire with Tharpo (my mime friend) so in its absence we had to get more creative. I would walk up to groups of people chatting and I would politely interrupt them all and ask if I could ask the group a question. From there I would go into a story about how I recently found out I had a brother, and while overjoyed by the news there is one problem (at this point he would jump into view from his hiding spot and start miming a box) “I don’t speak Mime and he doesn’t speak at all”. I would ask if they would help me translate, most said yes and we would then go through a version of mime charades where he would pantomime our product with others guessing the key parts and me filling in any of the holes of the pitch.
Both of these ideas resulted in instant recollection when doing follow ups and closing a lot of new customers…oh yeah, during the event we had an opportunity to be on CNN and, I let Tharpo speak on my behalf with the result of the interviewer doing the pitch for me.
So why is this stuff brilliant?
I am a bit insulted I need to explain this but if I must…basically if people are excited to be pitched your product/idea and are so excited by the experience that they tell their friends to stop what they are doing so they can hear you pitch them then you sorta won.
Same thing goes for your companies marketing…so what have you done lately that was memorable?