How to Connect Quickly at Networking Events

Have you ever been forced to go to a networking event with the sole purpose being to mingle with total strangers and pray for a connection? Did you feel odd sitting at a table during the dinner and not know with whom to talk, or what to talk about? Well now you will have three simple steps to help you become more efficient than 99% of the others that are also attempting to make quick connections. Follow these steps and you will easily and quickly find similarities between you and those that are like you!

First, you must realize that you are not the only person who has had these feelings. Chances are that most of the other people in attendance have had similar experiences. Clammy palms, nervous knees and dry mouth are not exclusive symptoms to you. Once you realize these side effects are only temporary, you can use them to your advantage. I often take these feelings, these symptoms, as a sign that I am normal, in touch with life, and use them as motivation to perform. We are all human, and even the most accomplished people get butterflies. The key is to make them fly in formation. Every great athlete and performer gets a little nervous. Often it is these nervous butterflies that help make them compete to be the best! Cher, in her “Sonny & Cher” days, would get so nervous at the thought of performing live, that Sonny would have to go on stage with her to give her the emotional support she needed to perform. However, once able to step on stage, she was able to shine. She overcame her anxiety and continues to this day, some four decades later.

Second, at the event go up to anyone that looks like they might be alone and bored. Chances are that they would rather make small talk with someone friendly enough to introduce themselves, rather than sit alone and stare at their plate. Keep in mind that you are at an event where the main purpose is to network and socialize. It may be a little disconcerting at first approaching people, trying to make some connections, but that is why they are there too. Recently while at a fundraising event, I was in the same situation. I did not know one soul, but my goal was to come away with one personal connection. The primary goal was simply to make a friend and it was my only goal. I was fortunate enough to make that connection. I have not made any sales or received any meaningful referrals from this contact, but that is okay. I gained a friend, and who knows, maybe someday we will be able to help each other in some way.

The third and final step is to have fun. If I had set a goal to obtain a new client or a new referral source, I would have failed and failed miserably! You and I certainly don’t need that sort of pressure. Any preconceived ideas of what to expect before you even arrive will show through in your efforts. Remember to just have fun with the people and the event itself. You should introduce yourself to a few different people and get them to talk about themselves. How do you do this? Ask them about their favorite movie or movies. It works every time. Movies are safe. Sometimes you will both have seen the movie, and if not, there probably are similar movies that you have both seen. I’ll explain in my next article which movies should be on your must see list to quickly spark conversations and make the best potential connections. Also, you will learn how to determine how people think based on their favorite movies!

Public Speaking: How Mindset Creates Opportunities – Part 1 (Conditioned Self’s Job)

How a Public Speaking Mindset Creates Opportunities

Mindset creates opportunities because you’ll see your visions come to life when you believe in them. When I’m working with professionals to present information successfully, it comes down to a critical asset: mindset. First and foremost you need a foundation that begins in your own mind. That’s where confidence ultimately resides. It moves from your mind and manifests into your physical world as you start believing in yourself. Here are 4 ways that confidence (residing in your mind) manifests into your physical world in the form of opportunities related to public speaking.

4 Ways that Confidence Manifests

  1. You begin taking risks. As you believe in your potential for success, you are able to visualize yourself taking risks. Because you can visualize it happening, you take the steps necessary to make it happen. You join a networking group. You send emails to service organizations to speak about your topic. You begin writing copy material to advertise your service or product. You plan workshops to present your topics.
  2. Your network of people expands. Because you are becoming more visible, you are associating with more and more people. Those people become more familiar with what you offer.
  3. Your client base expands. You receive direct or indirect referrals for your service or product.
  4. You receive compliments on your product or service. Because you are confident, others see you as confident. They are attracted to confident people. Your confidence ultimately creates better results with your clients.

Mindset Tip #1: Your relationship with your Conditioned Self is Powerful

Get to know your conditioned self as it relates to your beliefs about your public speaking. Be aware that your conditioned self will sometimes try everything in the book to stop you from changing or being vulnerable even when it’s in your BEST INTEREST. Public speaking makes you vulnerable. It puts you in front of others who have the potential to disapprove of you, criticize you, disagree with you, or dislike what you have to offer. Inside each of us is a very important critic. It is also known as the conditioned self.

The Conditioned Self’s Job

It’s job is to protect you from any pain, which includes emotional pain. When you were growing up, you may have experienced criticism from others in an unhealthy form. Others may have tied worth to performance. Perhaps you were judged and criticized for making mistakes. You may not have been commended for effort, taking risks, trying new things, or trying to express yourself in new ways. You internalized this criticism and judgment as a reflection of your worth.

This judgment from others taught your conditioned self that it’s best to judge your performance as tied to your worth. On the outside, it seems obvious that this is unhealthy. However, just because you know it’s unhealthy, doesn’t mean you can readily begin to change it. By learning the truths of this lie that your conditioned self tells you, you can begin changing it. In Public Speaking: How Mindset Creates Opportunities-Part 2, you’ll discover YOUR new job in empowering your belief in yourself as it relates to your conditioned self.

Summary of a Public Speaking Mindset

Know that the relationship you have with your conditioned self can create or hinder your opportunities for public speaking and visibility. Become familiar with it’s job and the reason behind its job. Know it’s job is to protect you yet that you are capable of protecting yourself.

To your success in getting to know your conditioned self,


Wealth Creation – If I Could Turn Back Time

In arguably one of the greatest comebacks of our time, in 1989 Cher’s number one hit ‘If I Could Turn Back Time’ caused quite a stir, both for the success of the song and the controversy of the skimpy outfits in the film clip. I’m no great fan of her music (or dress sense), but you have to give credit to Cher as a great example of perseverance and longevity in an industry which is fickle at best.

What does this have to do with financial planning? Not much, except the title ‘If I Could Turn Back Time’. This phrase is often heard in meetings we have with clients, either wishing they had done something sooner, or said no to something that turned out to be a disaster. Pondering ‘what would I do if I could turn back time’ could easily be written off as useless daydreaming, but I beg to differ. Ok, unless you are Michael J Fox with your own Time Machine, you can’t go back in time, and you can’t change the past. But what can be learned from looking back?

Firstly, it is worth pinpointing those key ‘turning point’ moments in your past, the sort of moments that called for action or decisiveness, and the outcome would be vastly better today if the choices you made had been different. Be honest with yourself, and try to get to the bottom of why you didn’t act. No doubt there was something at the time that may have been a good reason, but with the benefit of wisdom and hindsight, you now realise you should have just found a way, or looked harder for a solution.

An important part of learning is constructive critical reflection. Having insight from hindsight can put you in the right frame of mind for future decisions, the kind where you can look back on in five, ten or twenty years and say ‘that was a fantastic idea, and I’m so happy we did it’.

One of the best things about working as a financial planner is that we get to listen to the incredible life stories of dozens of very successful people. Collectively, our clients have much to teach us, and importantly, no matter what your stage of life or situation, chances are we have clients who have been down that road before, and come out on top. Through the reflection of these wonderful people, we can learn so much. It is this collective wisdom that empowers us to give our ‘upâandâcoming’ clients a head start by learning from the mistakes of others, without having to make too many themselves.

Unfortunately a sad reality of interâgenerational relationships is that there is often a reluctance of younger people to listen to their elders. On the other hand, because many of our older generations did it very tough in past decades, much wisdom is also lost because many older people don’t always know how to tell the difference between giving a younger person good advice as opposed to giving them a lecture on how much tougher things were ‘in our day’. A wise mentor knows the difference. I think it is very grounding to hear about the adversities faced by people, and even more inspiring is hearing how they triumphed.

Seeing as you can’t turn back time, the next best thing is to find out what other people would do if they could, and ensure you don’t have the same regrets. Don’t wait too long to get your insurance organised. Too many people end up paying far more than they would have if they were underwritten while still young, fit and healthy. Don’t put off your debt reduction or savings strategy, where time is simultaneously your worst enemy and your best friend. And don’t be someone who tries to save a few dollars by cutting corners on good advice. Be it with your choice of accountant, lawyers, or financial planners, what may appear to be a large cost may in fact result in far greater payoff in terms of savings or gains made through the application of sound knowledge and experience. As they say, you get what you pay for.

So don’t be afraid to scrutinize your past, but make sure you are applying constructive criticism. How empowering would it be in ten years time to say ‘I’m glad I did that ten years ago’ rather than ‘I wish I had’.