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Networking isn’t just vital to career success. It is also crucial for getting things accomplished. It's making change in relationships, organizations and the world.
I have spent much of my career honing the skills of networking and connecting with influential people who are well respected in their industry or discipline. In the beginning, there were a lot of things I didn’t understand. I studied, read and got advice from everyone I came in contact with. I learned everything I could about how to run a successful business (based on selling products via webinars), and worked my tail off to connect with anyone who I could help build their business.
This resulted in me hosting more than 500 webinars with a variety of influencers who wanted to share my insight with their audiences.
Now at my current stage, I have had the privilege and excitement of meeting many celebrities and high profile people. I am very grateful for my network.
I recently hit a milestone when I landed an interview with one of my all-time heroes, Tony Robbins, on my podcast, The School of Greatness. Along with The Rock and Will Smith, Tony was in my "Top 5" list of people to interview. Just over a year after launching my podcast, I am proud to say I was able to pull it off. It was awesome.
After years of networking and connecting, here are my suggestions for how to connect with high profile influencers:
Always Add Value.
Don’t go after a connection so that you can ask that person for something. You need to be giving. Be sincere and helpful. If you don’t have value to provide, then don’t reach out.
If you don't intrinsically want to help other people, chances are no one is going to help you. Always think creatively about how you can add value to the person you are looking to connect with.
Like Tony Robbins said in my interview with him, you need to be more than great, you "need to stand out."
Social media can be helpful for getting in touch with your idols, but you have to be compelling enough to cut through the noise of the thousands of requests they get each day. If you haven’t built anything worth taking notice of then you will probably not be noticed.
Do your homework. Read everything you can about the influencer(s) -- everything they have written, and ask people who know them what they are passionate about. Get to know the person so that your approach is relevant to their life, not yours. Be respectful to their limited time by being prepared when you approach them.
Be Concise and Specific.
These are busy people and therefore are unlikely to respond to vague requests or have time to find ways to help you. Help them to help you by making a specific request, if you are making a request at all.
Give that person something tangible to consider, because once you've left their presence, they are not going to spend more time thinking about you.
Be a Passionate Visionary.
A visionary conveys his or her message in a way that allows other people to see it in their imagination as well. The more you pursue your passion, the more compelling it will be when you share your story with others. Your enthusiasm for your mission will be contagious, and you will gain their respect and potentially their friendship.
While it may seem like a long shot to fill your network with the best and brightest, it's not rocket science. It's about giving much more than you take, and always looking to be of service to everyone you meet.
Once you've ingrained that mindset into your head, you'll start making connections that will evolve into an amazing network more rapidly than you could dream.
If you want to be connected, make yourself worth connecting to. It's a journey, and every step counts.