“I’ll help you build relationships rather than just a network” is how Robbie Samuels describes his core business focus, a passion that was inspired by his own experience in Boston, “not the friendliest of cities”.
“Before starting my own speaking, coaching and consulting business, I was involved in the fundraising industry and the Meetups I started grew to hundreds of events and thousands of members. The key to their success was helping people to understand and embrace a Host mentality”, explains Robbie.
That Host mentality is beautifully encapsulated in Robbie’s philosophy of “Croissants and Bagels”. You’ll likely have experienced this phenomena if you’d ever felt on the edges at an event – A Bagel group is closed off tightly, shoulder to shoulder huddles, with no apparent opportunity for you to join in. A Croissant on the other hand, is open and receptive to new people and participants. We love croissants! Bagels can be unconscious by the way, not intentionally closed off. All it takes it for one member to open their body language to open a space for new people to join.
Apart from committing to “being a croissant” when you are at events, Robbie also shares a wealth of insights about how to maximise your return on energy when you network both on and offline, helping you to create relationships and opportunities with planning, strategy and authenticity because “serendipity happens most often when you know what you’re looking for”.
Key points from this episode
- Always approach events with the energy of “how can I help” – focus on the mantra of “ I can add a little value all the time”. That might be a resource, an app recommendation, an introduction, or simply being welcoming and inclusive wherever you can. The ripple effect you create will come back to you.
- Attending events is not just about the content – after all, you can access almost everything you need content wise online from the comfort of your own home these days these days, so f you’re going to a conference there are many ways to maximise the investment of your time, energy and money.
- Engage in the Facebook Group associated with the event – make yourself known – share useful resources, perhaps do some background research on restaurants and other highlights of the local area
- Host your own social event at the event to meet more people and connect on a deeper level – perhaps a breakfast, lunch or dinner? Other attendees will appreciate your initiative.
- Set intentions of what you want to achieve there – who do you want to meet and why? Don’t just focus on finding possible clients – perhaps you need an accountability partner, a support network, are there speakers you’d like to meet?
- Work out a simple system in advance to follow up the business cards you are bound to collect. Write the follow up email you would envisage sending to a perfect connection before the event and book time immediately after the event to connect and follow up or time will get away from you…
- Look for “small networking moments” – some of the best of these are in the breakout rooms before a presentation – don’t just sit on your phone!
- With online networking, take it face to face when you can with technology like ZOOM and Skype that can make the world smaller.
Don’t try and build your business in a silo, locking yourself away whilst you create a product or program and then ANNOUNCING it and then wondering why no one really responds. You need to commit to engagement and building relationships, letting people know what’s happening and asking for feedback and input along the way – involvement is so important.
Links and key resources from this episode
I’m off to a conference in Canada at the end of September and I have already been utilising many of Robbie’s tips so that there are croissants waiting for me when I get there! You can download the “Ten Tips for Conference Connections” resource by clicking on the image below.
A practical guide to help you build meaningful and authentic relationships.
If you feel anxious about networking, this book shares practical steps to help you feel empowered, with clear examples of how to approach and engage people who are different from you are provided, so they’ll want to keep the conversation going.
Networking expert and speaker Robbie Samuels shares these and many other tips and strategies to help you level-up your networking prowess. Whether your goal is to get the most ROI from participation in conferences or elevate your ability to network authentically, you’ll walk away with techniques enabling you to be more strategic, more effective, and more inclusive.
Click on the image to be taken to the information and purchase page.
About Robbie Samuels
Robbie Samuels helps his clients shift their mindset around relationship building, so they discover new connections and business opportunities in the world around them – and know how to act on them. He has been recognised as a “networking expert” by Inc. and Lifehacker, and is the author of the best-selling business book Croissants vs. Bagels: Strategic, Effective, and Inclusive Networking at Conferences.
A professional member of the National Speakers Association, he has been speaking on the topic of inclusive networking for over a decade. As a consultant and coach, he shares how to create more inclusive and engaging connections.
Connect with Robbie Samuels
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