You Can’t Google Who You Need to Know
August 16, 2021 no comments
“So what are your goals for this conference?” I asked a few friends as we sat on a perfectly sunny day on one of the many perches at the Gaylord Opry hotel. We were there for Podcast Movement 2021, the first conference any of us had attended in awhile, and frankly I was nervous.
I like to ask questions when I don’t know what to talk about or when I’m stewing internally about something. I didn’t know MY goals so why not put it on someone else!
Networking, no matter how annoying it is to hear, is always the fast forward button.
Oh, about those goals. Out of the four of us, no one mentioned a specific speaker, the sessions, or the seemingly endless schedule of tracks we can choose from. The collective goal, it seemed, was to advance our respective podcasts (or ourselves) with “hallway talk.” You know, the happenstance conversations you have when you find yourself bored and meandering in the hallway.
But what about all the knowledge to be gained? If you aren’t “in class” what are you paying for? The hotel, the travel, and the conference … it all adds up! Look, there isn’t a price tag you can put on the magic that takes place when you connect with the people you need to be connected to.
It’s not who you know, it’s who knows you.
I’m the guy who will endlessly advocate that having a social media presence is critical for your brand. It’s simple. You need to be known and the reach on the social platform of your choice is more than you will ever be able to do physically.
There are far too many virtual relationships that turn into real relationships to underestimate the power of free organic personal branding.
But I was reminded at the conference … that hallway talk, breakfast talk, post keynote talk, or whatever talk you want to call it can have immediate effects.
Because of my nervous introversion, I simplified my networking goal; make 5 great connections. I did. Here’s what came of it.
- A new podcast collaboration
- The creation of a mini mastermind with 3 other podcasters (for accountability and goal setting)
- Advice on how to make my podcast sponsor’s value proposition more appealing
- Substantiating my reluctance to buy anything from a certain famous podcaster’s funnel
- A very warm lead for the video production side of my business
Have you ever left a conference super motivated to act on all the new knowledge you got? Never really lasts, right? That’s because most of the time we go to these events to solve a problem we have, get us unstuck, or to help us start something we’ve been dwelling on. Let me explain.
They are there to sell and you’re there to buy.
Don’t feel bad. All the solutions we need are presented to us in all the bells and whistles attached to these 48-72 hour extravaganzas. We aren’t trapped, but we trap ourselves. Because of that we feel compelled to act (with money) to catapult us towards removing whatever barriers we have in our way.
But you know that going in. Here’s what we forget:
YOU CAN’T GOOGLE WHO YOU NEED TO KNOW.
There is no scenario that can replace the chance encounters, the way you become surprisingly comfortable with someone you’ve been talking to for 10 minutes, and the optimism you feel when you connect with people who are willing to help (without a price tag).
It only happens by being there. Like I said, I love the area you can cover by having a consistent and dedicated social media strategy.
But damn, the people I didn’t Google (and never would have because I didn’t know them) have proven to be a true fast forward button to clearing some of the cobwebs I’ve had in promoting and growing my podcast.
I don’t like networking. I don’t even like the word networking. Podcast guest and former client Jocko Willink explains it well here.
To me, this is something that has to happen naturally. Yes I had a goal, but I was trying to snipe people. I just had conversations until I realized I met 5 people who I want to stay in touch with.
If your connections feel stale, they probably are. Go have some conversations. You’ll be surprised at what you find.