How to Avoid Being ‘Networked to Death’

Last week I was fortunate enough to make a presentation to a professional networking group at the University Club in Chicago. Since I am a firm believer in short, terse, pithy titles, I called the darn thing, “How to Avoid being Networked to Death and Instead Do Things That Open Doors.”  And then on the next slide I subtitled it, “or how I became an accidental marketer and ended up talking to you today.”

I think it went well. One of the organizers of the event, Larry Gard, was kind enough to say some kind things on my LinkedIn page. Larry is with Hamilton Chase Consulting. Larry, if you’re reading this, thank you again.  Hope you like the online plug 😉

I spoke about how a string of unintended and seemingly unrelated decisions resulted in a self published book (ok, a pdf I circulated for free, now available on Kindle Digital Press for 99 cents) which led to a “real” book (M&A For Dummies), which resulted in all manner of additional marketing opportunities (including this newsletter), and frankly, quite a bit of self analysis and reflection. And despite all that work on myself…I can’t get my handicap under 12. I have a lot more work to do. This summer. On the golf course.

If you’re interested in talking a look at the presentation, please follow this link.

Some of takeaways from my presentation are:

1) Have something to offer. The world is full of people who ask (for money, a job, advice, etc.). All that asking becomes background noise. Offering something of real value will differentiate you from the teeming masses. Oh, a real offer is not, “hire me and pay me money and I’ll do something for you.” You have to think of something else.

2) You’ll never stand out if you strive to be the best at fitting in. Be different, don’t be afraid to speak your mind. C’mon, in my first book, the one I initially gave away for free (and worth the price!), I claimed the book used Keith Richard’s guitar tuning from Brown Sugar as a paradigm for venture capital!  But in addition to taking a different tack, you need to be genuine and know what the heck you’re talking about.

3) Don’t waste your time networking with peers and competitors.

4) Too much marketing is myopic. We’re all guilty of this. We spend too much time communicating to ourselves about our ideal client and why those client attributes are so ideal…for ourselves. We rarely spend time communicating what the other person gets out of the bargain.

5) And much more, including a slew of self publishing tips, a slew of insights on how to get a publishing deal (and actually write the darn book) with a “real” publisher, and a bunch of other advice to help the eager business professional avoid being “networked to death.” Get it now? I even include a picture of my late dog and a synopsis of one of my many TV show ideas.

Yes, yes, I know. I break the rules of giving a presentation. My bullets are long and wordy, I have 30 or so slides for a 45 minute presentation, but you know what? Who cares? I do things the way that make sense for me. The presentation is essentially a big crib note for me. If I tried to give a presentation using someone else’s rules and norms, I’d probably fall flat on my face. I’ve always been a much better teacher than student. And that’s one of the bits of self-analysis and reflection that resulted from writing the book!

Any, let me know your thoughts. If you’re interested in having me deliver this presentation (or a version thereof) to your business development people, please contact me. See. That’s an offer. I don’t charge for this. I just like to talk…and having an audience to listen to what I’m saying is a nice bonus.