Networking Tips I Learned from Meeting @KeithFerrazzi in San Diego
I had the honor of meeting my favorite author, Keith Ferrazzi in San Diego this week at the Entrepreneur Challenge Fall Kickoff Event at UCSD where he interviewed the renowned Dr. Irwin Jacobs, Co-founder of Qualcomm. As I mentioned in my post welcoming Keith Ferrazzi to San Diego, there’s not a single time I recommend a business book that I don’t mention his best seller, Never Eat Alone! I’ve learned so many great tips for networking, connecting and building professional relationships through Keith’s books, blogs and videos. Meeting him in person really reinforced many of these tips Here’s a glimpse of my amazing evening spent networking with entrepreneurs and meeting Keith Ferrazzi. I’ll end the post with valuable networking tips you can apply to the very next event you attend!
The evening started off with a networking dinner so of course, I had an opportunity to meet some great community leaders, UCSD students and affiliates. The photo below is a prime example of never eating alone!
I followed one of Keith’s golden rules for meeting the speaker at the event. Get to the speaker, before he goes on stage! I saw Keith Ferrazzi walk by and immediately went up and introduced myself to him. He’s extremely personable, enthusiastic and positive. I manifested this exact moment into my life because in 2009 when Who’s Got Your Back came out, I told Keith Ferrazzi that I would get his second book when I met him so he could autograph it and that’s exactly what happened!
After enjoying a great dinner, Dr. Irwin Jacobs and Keith Ferrazzi took the stage. Keith Ferrazzi’s job was to be curious and ask Dr. Jacob’s questions related to the topic of “Why great relationships matter in business?” Keith did a great job at asking questions that prompted Dr. Jacobs to share his inspirational story. As both a Marketer and an Entrepreneur, I really resonated with both Dr. Jacobs and Keith Ferrazzi. I definitely learned a lot about having a vision and following it, being a great leader and of course networking! Below are some networking tips I’ve learned from Keith Ferrazzi, some of them definitely came into play during this particular event!
1. Reach out before the event- If you’re attending an event and want to meet someone specific, reach out to them before the event. I’ve already discussed how to work a conference before it begins. This tip is very similar. Social Media is a great resource that allows you to connect. Before attending the event, I tweeted Keith a bunch of times and of course wrote my post to welcome Keith to San Diego. Reaching out can also be done by a simple email. You can let someone know that you enjoyed an article they wrote, congratulate them on a recent accomplishment or connect with them on a more personal level if you know a hobby they enjoy. (In the tweets below I engaged several people in conversation about Keith Ferrazzi and I even received a reply from him acknowledging that he would see me tomorrow!)
2. Arrive Early– If you want to meet the Speakers, they’ll definitely be at the event at least 30 minutes before hand. Chances are the speaker won’t be bombarded by everyone else so you may have an opportunity to introduce yourself before anyone else. If you wait until after the event to try and connect with a speaker, chances are they’re going to be busy talking to everyone else and also thinking about going home so it’s harder to make a personal connection. I actually arrived at UCSD 30 minutes early so was one of the first one who was let into the room.
3. Talk To the Organizer– Arriving early also gives you a chance to find and introduce yourself to the organizer and let him/her know who you may be looking to connect with. Ask the organizer if there’s anyone they feel would be a great connection for your industry. The organizer knows everything that’s happening behind the scenes and everyone who’s going to be at the event. See if they can introduce you to some other attendees or even the speaker. When approaching the organizer, make sure to be mindful of their time since they’re probably still planning last minute updates and make sure to thank them for hosting you.
4. Ask Questions- After many presentations and panels there is often a chance for audience Q & A. This is your golden opportunity to get in front of the room and let others know what you do. Before asking your questions, clearly state your name with a brief intro. Since you have everyone’s attention, there very well may be others in the room who are seeking your service, product or who many want to collaborate with you. Asking questions not only gives you mic time, it also allows you to interact and stand out to the speakers and attendees.
5. Give Books as Gifts- Since the holidays are approaching so quickly, tis the season to start thinking of gifts for your prospects, clients and colleagues. Books are full of information and are personal because you’re recommending something that has helped you. Autographed books are even better! Keith reminded me of how great of gifts books can be as he was signing mine. He asked if there was anyone I’d like to give “Who’s Got Your Back” to so he could sign the book to that person. I didn’t have anyone in mind, so I just told him to sign his name in case I did want to give the book away as a gift. Well Keith came up with an even better idea by writing “Melodie’s Got Your Back”. This way I’m able to keep the book myself or also give it away as a gift.
Again, it was such an honor to meet my favorite author, hear Dr. Jacobs speak and connect with other Entrepreneurs. I’m grateful that attending the event inspired me to refresh my own networking skills, allowing me to share tips with you. If you have additional networking tips, please leave them in the comments below! I’m personally hosting a networking event and seminar coming up on Wed. November 2nd! If you’d like to attend my next seminar where you’ll definitely have a chance to apply these networking tips, you can register here. If it’s your first time attending one of my seminars, please email me: melodie at marketing melodie dot com and I’ll send you a code fore $10 off. Happy Networking and if you don’t already have Never Eat Alone and Who’s Got Your back, check them out at your local library or purchase them! You won’t be disappointed.