How to network: 8 proven tactics
I’m not very cool.
Millions of people don’t know my name, and I’ve yet to do anything worthy of being a 30 Under 30.
What I can say for myself is that I do know a significant amount of people who are known by millions and actually are 30 Under 30s.
Which leads me to the million-dollar question from the people, who do know my name.
How the hell do I meet these people — these celebrities?
(Important note: This post won’t teach you how to meet celebs, like, say, Ryan Gosling. Please holler at me if you know how to hack that one.)
Here’s six ways I meet really too-cool-for-school people on the reg and two ways I keep them around. All eight ways are free. And all of them will take you less than one day.
6 Ways I Meet Really Too-Cool-for-School People
I email a freakin’ lot. I email a lot of people I don’t even freakin’ know. Is that creepy? Only if you make it.
I love going to coffee shops in Harvard and Kendall Square.
Regardless of the fact that I wear unattractive, bright green ear plugs to concentrate on my work, it’s impossible not to hear (crystal clear) the surrounding conversations.
I swear my ears have Google Alerts built-in or something.
I won’t be listening then all of a sudden someone in my vicinity will say something and a “Lauren Alert” goes off.
That’s when I begin actively listening and waiting for the least awkward time to tell my soon-to-be, new acquaintance what I do, who I am or why we should know each other.
“I can’t do this. It’s creepy,” you’re probably thinking.
No, it’s really not. People love that you have the audacity. Just do it. Trust me.
I studied journalism in school, which forced me to learn how to interview (really cool people).
This is how I’ve met the overwhelming majority of really cool people I know.
As it turns out, the overwhelming majority of celebs are extremely down-to-earth, cool-as-shit people, just like you and me.
Literally, it’s as easy as cold emailing a really cool person and asking for an interview for an article or blog post you’re writing.
I recommend getting started by writing for your school newspaper, even if you aren’t a journalism or English major. This way you’ll get published and gain interview experience, which will open doors for you to contribute to bigger publications, meaning bigger interviews with cooler people.
I’m really good at spotting trends, which translates to being really good at spotting up-and-comers, i.e. people who are super cool and about to blow up.
When I spot someone who I know is on the verge of “big-time,” I make any plausible excuse to email them for a few reasons.
For one, they haven’t blocked their email address from VoilaNorbert or even their website yet, making it super easy to get in touch with them.
Second, they’ll remember you in a good way because you were a loyal fan before all the posers who started following them after Forbes deemed them the next Pete Cashmore.
“Oh, you’re that girl who posts on (insert community name) all the time.”
I’m shocked every time I hear someone say that because no one ever comments on my posts so I assumed no one read them.
As it turns out, this isn’t the case. Just because people don’t comment, doesn’t mean they aren’t listening to you.
Get active in a few online networks/communities, and post VALUABLE stuff.
Get offline, and get in-person. Attend events. It’s a no-brainer.
Here’s just a few places to look.
- Local campus calendars
- Inbound (Last year, I met Shane Snow, Rand Fishkin, Malcolm Gladwell, just to name a few)
2 Ways I Keep These Super Cool People Around
Now, I hope you’re paying attention because this is the important section.
I could do all of the six tactics listed above and still be a nobody who doesn’t know anybody.
Fortunately, this isn’t the case, for two reasons.
If I reach out to someone, it’s because I truly like them, want to work with them or are inspired by them. Something genuinely good inside of me drives me — motivates me — to introduce myself into their realm of awesomeness.
You’ve got to be genuine. You have to keep it real. You can’t fake it with smart people because, well, they’re freakin’ smarter than that.
I may not write for New York Times (yet), but I certainly can provide enough value in the majority of cool peoples’ lives that warrants, at the very least, an email back or even a Skype chat.
You must, must, must provide value to cool people (and you should to anyone for that matter) before you go shooting off 10 asks before you’ve even told them who the hell you are.
Cool people like cool people. Being cool involves:
- Keeping it real.
- Being bold.
- Providing value.
- Being a damn good person.
That’s all I’ve got. Hope I provided a million-dollar answer to a million-dollar question.