Less than six degrees – An unexpected introduction

An unexpected introduction in networkingPreviously I left off that I was a 51 year old guy, starting a career in a new place with no connections.  The only people I knew were my family in Queens and Long Island.  Without me asking (or knowing that I should ask), my brother-in-law, Hugh, told his friend that I just moved into the city and that I was in commercial real estate.  His friend asked to be introduced to me and my world changed with one email.

I received a “virtual introduction” from Hugh to his friend, Michael Deutsch.  Mike invited me to come to a meeting he was attending, just telling me the date, time and place.  I agreed without a further thought.

I arrived at the Hippodrome Building on 43rd and 6th a bit early (I’m always early) and met the meeting’s organizer, Dave Bresler.  I find out that I’m Mike’s guest at a networking event called “Network! Network!” and Dave explained how the morning would proceed.  It’s a two-hour session, where 14 people sit around a conference room table over breakfast and coffee.

They go around the table three times.  The first time, you get a minute for a quick introduction.  The second time, you have four minutes to go into detail about one aspect of your business, service, etc.  The third time, known as “Around the Horn,” someone proposes a business challenge they’re facing and it’s the group’s goal to relate their success in overcoming that challenge.

Once the formal meeting is over, then it’s an informal time to reach out and set up time to meet others “one on one.”  Dave is clear to remind everyone that the power of networking is not in these formal meetings but spending an hour with someone over coffee, lunch or a drink.

If you learn nothing else, remember that advice – the strongest connection you make is the “one-on-one” and I’ll teach you the art of connecting by the examples I share.

Whether you have 30 seconds or four minutes to introduce yourself to someone in a networking setting, the words you use should be impactful and memorable.  It may be a tagline, a slogan or just a great descriptor.

Mike Deutsch says he creates “brain tattoos.”  I’ve never forgotten that, so the description clearly works and since he’s in the business of promotional advertising, it makes perfect sense and he’s my “go to” guy for anyone in need of anything from t-shirts to cool, techy items to hand out as leave behinds, at trade shows and the like.

Another member is a very upbeat guy, funny and definitely a morning person.  His name is Craig Delsack and he’s a transactional attorney who helps businesses get properly established, especially start-ups.

After hearing my nervous four-minute introduction, Craig says he’s going to a “pitch event” for start-ups that night being held at Microsoft and would I like to go?  Of course I would!  (I was amazed by his generosity.)

Quite a few others asked me if I knew certain people and offered to make introductions for me.  For a stranger in a strange land, I’m beginning to feel at home.

When it came to “Around the Horn” – Lynn Chiavaro asked the group “How much time do you spend networking per week?”  She volunteered that she spends 80% of her time going to events and one-on-ones and didn’t know if it was too much.  I was blown away.  Could that be possible?  How do you get any work done?

The group’s answers confirmed Lynn’s approach – most members were spending 50% or more of their week meeting others.  Although it took a while for me to meet with Lynn personally, when we did, we bonded immediately and I can’t express how much I adore her.  Lynn has sung my praises and introduced me to countless people and invited me to some amazing events.

(As an aside, you’re going to see a common theme among the people I meet – they are phenomenal and I am blown away by the good fortune to connect with so many wonderful, talented, caring and real people on a daily basis.  Is it just me?  Do I draw these people into my life by luck or is this the power of connecting and learning about someone beyond their face value?)

Until next time

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(Here’s a hint for following this blog easily.  ”Previously” is always hyperlinked to the next article after it’s been posted.  ”Next time” will take you back to the previous post.  Make sure to click on each person’s name when they’re mentioned and see if they aren’t a possible connection for you. I’d be happy to make the introduction.)

Mark Karten is a connector in New York City.  If you’re ready to expand your network of meaningful, relevant relationships, contact Mark at mark@jpday.com.

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