Everywhere we go, a new networking opportunity arises. Whether we are at the grocery store or mall or business event, a new group of people surround us.
But how important is networking really? And who is really around us?
According to Michael Simmons, open networks are the #1 predictor of career success.
But what's the difference between an open network and a closed network?
In an open network, you are exposed to new ideas.
In a closed network, you surround yourself with people who already know each other, which reinforces your belief.
The few times I do go out to network, I usually do so to build open networks.
Recently, I attended a dinner hosted by David Christopher Lee, founder of Destination Luxury, at the District by Hannah An in Beverly Hills. There were about three dozen corporate executives in the real estate, finance and law industries in attendance.
Speaking that night was networking expert, Christopher Kai, 'The Billionaire Networker." He even convinced Elon Musk to visit the Union Rescue Mission, the largest and oldest homeless shelter in Los Angeles, to raise awareness about the homeless youth epidemic in the U.S.
Christopher shared a few strategies from his most recent book "Big Game Hunting: Networking with Billionaires, Executives and Celebrities."
David Christopher Lee said that in the luxury world, it's all about developing relationships through friendship and business. Christopher Kai teaches us how to connect with people on a personal level.
Here are his three secrets to networking:
1. Plan Out Your Year
If you really want to network with people of influence, which includes billionaires, executives and celebrities, Christopher stressed that you need to plan out your year.
We often spend so much time and money on researching our vacations:
Yet, when he has asked his audiences, how much time they spend researching networking events which will exponentially affect every aspect of their personal and professional life, he often gets blank stares. Their most common answers are, I went to an event because:
When you start researching specific events that cater to influencers like the Milken Institute Global Conference, the Clinton Global Initiative or Art Basel Miami Beach, you increase your probability of meeting more influential executives.
Christopher seemed to be spot on with these Big Game events because all three events he mentioned are all referenced in this New York Times article called For the New Super Rich Life is Much More Than a Beach.
2. Be an Extraordinary Brand so They Remember You
Branding is simply turning something that sounds ordinary and making it appear extraordinary. Christopher used his own name as an example.
"Chris is a very common and ordinary name. But my mother named me after Saint Christopher, the Patron Saint of Transportation." He went onto share the fabled story of a heroic figure named Christopher who would stand beside a raging river offered to carry them across the river to safety on top of his shoulders.
In this concise story, he turned an ordinary name like 'Chris' into this heroic story about a Saint and connected that story with his mother who had high ideals for her youngest son."
His story was personal and memorable; yet so simple. Turn your name, profession, or where you live into an extraordinary story; that is a great start to create your own extraordinary brand to help influencers remember you.
3. Get Complimentary Access to VIP and Celebrity Events on a Press Pass
Just because you know where these events are, doesn't mean you can always get in; some of these cost as much as $10,000. Aside from volunteering at certain charity events like annual galas or 'lobby hugging' (spending time networking in the hotel lobby during events and conferences), Christopher suggests applying for press passes.
There are traditional media outlets like CNN, ABC, and the New York Times that are asked to cover high-profile events, but there are also thousands of non-traditional digital media outlets that you might not know about but enjoy a very robust following.
Some of these digital outlets don't always have the budget to hire a full-time writing, editorial, or video staff so they often welcome freelance writers to cover events on their behalf.
It's a win-win-win situation for everyone involved. The event gets extra coverage, the non-traditional digital media outlets has a freelance team, and you as the freelance contributor get free premium access to amazing events.
Do you have any success stories of networking with billionaires, executives and celebrities? I'd love to hear about it. Share your story below.