AskPat 173 Episode Transcript
Pat Flynn: Hey, hey. What's up, everybody? Pat Flynn here, and welcome to Episode 173 of AskPat. Thank you so much for joining me today.
We have a great question from Denny, but before we get to that, I do want to thank today's sponsor, which is FreshBooks.com, an awesome company, an easy cloud accounting solution that's helping millions of small business owners, even myself, save time with invoicing, keeping track of expenses, keeping track of money coming in, so you can spend more time doing what you need to do and stop getting headaches over the financial stuff in your business. Let the software do the hard work for you. If you'd like to get a free trial of FreshBooks, one of the top accounting softwares out there, head over to GetFreshBooks.com and enter “AskPat” in the “How did you hear about us?” section. That's how you get your free trial. Let's get to today's question from Denny.
Denny: Hi, Pat. My name's Denny Krahe, and I have a running blog and podcast at DizRuns.com. Next month I'll be attending Podcast Movement, which is the first major conference that I've ever been to. I keep hearing from you and from a variety of other sources just how valuable attending conferences within your industry can be, and I was wondering if you can give me any tips as to how I can get the most out of this event and any future events that I'm able to attend. Keep in mind I'm a pretty introverted person, so going to a big event like this is a big step out of my comfort zone anyway, so just telling me to go navigate the room is going to be tough. Any tips and tricks that you can give me, I would really appreciate it. Thanks so much.
Pat Flynn: Denny, thank you so much for your question. And of course, for those of you out there who know about the Podcast Movement at this time, it has already happened, and I hope you had a great time, Denny. I'm curious to know how it went for you. I apologize I didn't get to this question beforehand, but hopefully with that experience that you had there and the tips that I'm going to give you for future Podcast Movements and future conferences, this stuff's going to be helpful.
And of course, it's just going to take practice. I remember my first conference, and I hardly talked to anybody. I just talked to the people that I knew, and that was it. That was helpful, and that's my first … If you have the opportunity to go with other people, it's great to do that, because you can then, together, go and meet new people, and it becomes a little bit more comfortable because you're there with your friends, so you always have somebody to go back to if you need to. It's not like, well it's sort of like it—I'm just going to say it's not like that person's your wingman, but it kind of is. They're more your wingman in the sense that they're there as somebody who is there to comfort you. It just makes you feel more comfortable when you're not alone, of course. If you have the opportunity to go with somebody else, that's always helpful, but it's not like you're going to be talking to them and being like, “Hey, dude, can you hook me up, I want to talk to that guy.” You go in there first and you tell them that you want … “My friend over there is like really interested in what you …” No, you don't want to do that; that's kind of crazy.
Again, big thing is, you still want to be natural, be comfortable, and having another person there who you already know is helpful. That's also why it's important to get to know other people, because the more other people you get to know and befriend while there, the more comfortable you get, and you probably noticed that already. It's hard at first, but once you start meeting people and start talking, it becomes so much easier. There's two sides to conferences, right? There's the content and the note-taking side where you're getting information, and you're going to be hopefully implementing that information, so that's really important. That's not necessarily something that an introvert has to worry about, because you're just sitting there, and you're taking content in, and you go to the talks that seem most relevant to you and implement, right? That's the first part.
There's a second part, which is called, they call it networking, and that's a big, scary, word: networking. I like to think of it as just talking, just talking. That's really what it is, and when you think of it like that, it's so much easier, because in order to meet other people, that's really all you have to do. You just have to talk, you just have to talk. Start a conversation, because once you start those conversations, they become much easier. It's all about that time beforehand, when you're starting to think about it too much and you start to get that anxiety in you, and you're like, “Oh, what if that person thinks I'm weird?” I go through the same things, Denny. This might sound crazy, but I have the same exact feelings when I go to places that I've never been before and I'm meeting people I've never met before. If I am in a group setting, I'm fine. If I'm with anybody that I've ever been with before, I'm totally cool, but if I'm meeting people on my own for the first time, I get scared. I get sweaty palms and all that stuff. I freak out, and I'll often hide in the corner—maybe not literally, because then people will literally see you in the corner, and that's even weirder.
There's nothing wrong with being an introvert; it's just that you've got to fight over those feelings that you start to get scared. One tactic to do that is something I picked up from reading a book called The Game by Neil Strauss, which is more in the pickup artist scene. I read it because I heard that there were a lot of strategies in there that were great for networking. One of them was called the “three-second rule.” The three-second rule is, if you're going to somebody you want to talk to or that you're interested in talking to, you don't give yourself more than three seconds to think about it, because after three seconds, that's when you start to doubt yourself; that resistance starts to come in and hold you back. Don't even give yourself three seconds. Just think, one, two, “Hey, what's up? What's your name?” or something like that. It's really easy to start a conversation, and really, that's the second tip. I kind of mentioned this already, but in terms of how do you start those conversations? Doesn't matter. Just start talking, and the easiest way to do that is to introduce yourself: “Hi, I'm Denny. What's your name?” It's really easy, at conferences especially; it's not like you're at a bar trying to pick up people, right? It's more like, “Hey, I'm this person. I'm at this same event as you,” and you already have a common ground, so there's going to be a lot of things to talk about already. It's a matter of talking and getting started.
Another cool thing to get the most out of these conferences is to follow up with the people who you do meet and you remember. A lot of times, you're going to have business cards coming your way … That's another thing, business cards, people still use them. At all the conferences I've been to, people still use business cards. And it might seem weird, but it's a great way to connect with people. And a lot of people take those business cards and they don't even look at them anymore. For you, Denny, for anybody out there, the business cards that you do get, especially if you're trying to meet new people, it's a great quick and easy way to follow up. You can get those business cards, they all have their social media accounts on there, really quickly, 140 characters on Twitter—just follow up later, either that day after you've met that person … When you go back to your hotel room, take out all those business cards, and just be like, “Hey @name, it was great to meet you today.” That's it, that's it. Chances are, if you see each other the next day, you'll strike up a conversation, and they'll be more likely to be like, “Hey, there's Denny.” Right?
That helps, and then also going into a conference thinking about it as an opportunity to practice this is really good, because it does take practice. I've been to dozens of conferences now, and now I'm very confident when I go, especially in terms of being on stage, but also with the networking side of things, with the just talking. I use it every time I go as an opportunity to practice, and I always focus on one thing I need to practice on. For, you Denny, when you're just starting out I think the thing you should focus on is starting conversations. Start conversations. You can say, “Hey, my name's Denny. What podcast do you have, or what blog do you have?” People love to talk about themselves, so if you want to strike up a conversation, ask somebody about what they're up to, and then they're going to talk for minutes, and you're going to feel comfortable. You're going to start a conversation based off of that. That's a really, really, quick and easy tip in terms of what to talk about. Let them do the talking. One great book to pick up is How to Win [Friends] and Influence People by Dale Carnegie; that's … one of the strategies is, let the other people talk about themselves, or give them permission to talk about themselves. “Hey, what's your name? Oh, cool. What podcast do you have? What's it about?” They're going to talk about it, and then you'll have a conversation in the bag, and you'll be that much more comfortable; you'll be friends after that.
I go in, these days—now that I know how to start a conversation and things like that—I go in trying really hard to do ninja conference things, which you can eventually get up to. Remembering everybody's name: I try to make it a goal to remember everybody's name that I meet. It's super hard right now, but I'm learning all these cool techniques to do that, and we can leave that for another episode. There's some great tips and tactics to do that because one of the coolest things that a person loves to hear is their own name. If you just met somebody briefly, and then you see them again the next day and you immediately say their name, they're going to be very impressed, and they're going to be more likely to remember you as well. Denny, for those and others, who are just starting out, if you wanted to do that for a few select people and really concentrate on that name, it can be a great start to practicing these types of strategies in the future.
Yeah, those are some strategies for you, Denny, if you're just starting out. And again, you're in the beginning of your conference-going career. Awesome that you have a podcast, and especially about running, because I run too, so that's really cool. See, immediately we would have something to talk about, because I run and you podcast about it, so we could talk about it. Awesome. An AskPat t-shirt is going to be headed your way, and I wish you the best of luck for all future conferences. And if we end up going to one together, I'm going to be at Podcast Movement next year keynoting it, so if you go to that one, make sure to come up and be like, “Hey, Pat. This is Denny from Episode 173 of AskPat.” I'll totally remember you. I'll totally remember you, and I'll be able to put a face to the name. That'd be fun.
For those of you who have a question you'd like potentially featured here on the show, head on over to AskPat.com, and you can ask right there on that page. Of course, I want to thank today's sponsor, which is FreshBooks.com. If you'd like to get a free trial of FreshBooks, go to GetFreshBooks.com and enter “AskPat” in the “How did you hear about us?” section. They have an award-winning mobile app, so you can do all your financial stuff, invoicing, anything, from your mobile app. That's amazing if you have clients and consultants that you coach, or if you're a coach of any kind. Incredibly, incredibly easy-to-use and convenient software. Again, if you want to get a free trial, go to GetFreshBooks.com and enter “AskPat” in the “How did you hear about us?” section.
Thank you all again so much for your time, and love you guys. You guys are amazing. Thank you so much for all you do for me in terms of motivating me. I'm going to keep doing stuff for you. Finally, let's end with a quote today from Bill Gates. He says, “It's fine to celebrate success, but it is more important to heed the lessons of failure.” Always got to learn from your failures. Cheers, take care, and I'll see you in the next episode of AskPat.
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