Ep 157 | Build Better Relationships with Networking

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Wouldn't it feel amazing to not have anxiety when you show up to a networking event or a conference? There are so many things that come into our heads when we show up but a few simple mind flips can really help with creating a better experience for you. Brendan has some great insights and ways to think about networking as part of your bigger picture.

What you'll learn:

→ easy ways to start conversations.
→ how to plan for your events (hint it starts with what events you even go to).
→ ways to approach building relationships.
→ follow up tips.

Want to skip ahead? Here are key takeaways:

[8:35] Choosing where to network Choose events that best suit you, your needs, and your personality. Have conversations with as many people as possible to start, so you can meet those few people that you have an actual connection with. Create a “top 10” list of the people you found the best connection with.
[14:30] Getting to know each other Don’t go straight into a business pitch or try to sell yourself. Ask the other person questions and get to know them so that you can determine if you two are a good match. Spend more time with the people you feel a connection with rather than trying to force a connection with a lot of people.
[22:13] Following up Use your “Top 10” list, and start by reaching out to the top 3 on that list. The higher you have someone ranked most likely means you had the best connection with each other. The best way to network is to build strong relationships and meet more people through those one or two people you connect with the most.

Brenden Kumarasamy

Brenden Kumarasamy

Founder, MasterTalk

Brenden is the founder of MasterTalk, he coaches ambitious executives & entrepreneurs to become top 1% communicators in their industry. He also has a popular YouTube channel called MasterTalk, with the goal of providing free access to communication tools for everyone in the world. Learn more: http://rockstarcommunicator.com/ Watch videos on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/c/MasterTalks 

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Full Transcript

[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] Hey, we are here today to talk about networking events, and conferences and conversations with people and how to really think about how we show up and how we make the biggest impact with the people that we meet at these events. How do we show up confidently? How do we build better relationships and better connections? I'm so excited about this episode, so much energy from Brendan, who is my guest, and just such a great mindset reframe, for how we can show up. So for those of you who are thinking, terrible at networking events, I'm terrible at public speaking, I don't have success at these events. I think this episode is really going to give you a new way to think about how this works for you in your business. And I promise you, it's not what you think. And it is a little bit of a mindset shift, but nothing crazy. So I'm really excited for you to take a listen to this episode. Brendon is the founder of master talk. And he coaches ambitious executives and entrepreneurs to become the top 1% communicators in their industry. He also has a popular YouTube channel called Master talk with the goal of providing free access to communication tools for everyone in the world. He blew my mind, I just have to be honest, so many things that I hadn't thought about and things that I now am excited to put into practice for myself. You know, ways to just think about the numbers of people we need to meet and how to continue to jump into that abundance mindset and know that we can be more targeted and more engaged with the folks that are in our world. I also just love how he talks about giving value. Because you know, I'm all about giving value. So I really think you're going to enjoy this episode and just kind of a way to reframe how you show up in your community and how you being the best person that you know you are and providing value all the time, how that can play into some of the networking things that you do. But before we get into it, this episode is brought to you by our office hours. Digital Marketing therapy sessions are 30 minute sessions that are here for you to do whatever you need to have me in your pocket to talk through your email marketing strategy. To talk through your ideal donor list, whatever it is that you need support with to hit your goals, you can head on over to thefirstclick.net/office hours to grab that time slot. And let's talk and let's make things happen. So you're hitting your goals, too. Let's get into the episode. 

[INTRO] You're listening to the digital marketing therapy podcast. I'm your host, Sami Bedell-Mulhern. And each week, I bring you tips from myself and other experts, as well as hot seats with small business owners and entrepreneurs to demystify digital marketing and get you on your way to generating more leads and growing your business. 

[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] Hey, everybody, please join me in welcoming Brendan to the podcast. Brendan, thank you so much for joining today.

[Brendan Kumarasamy] Hey, of course, Sami. It's good to be on. Thanks for having me.

[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] Yeah, so people I think we hear all the time, I am terrible at public speaking or I am terrible at networking. You know, before we kind of jump into some of the tactics today, like what do you say to people when they just assume they're just bad at it? So there's not going to do it?

[Brendan Kumarasamy] Yeah, you know, I don't blame him for it's me because a lot of communication and public speaking, is littered in negativity. Like the first word that comes to mind with ease of communication is not dream. It's fear. It's anxiety, it's stress. So what I always like to say I always respond with the question. And the question is simply this, how would your life change if you're an exceptional communicator? A lot of us dream of better vacations that we want to go on, the expensive things we want to get with the Ferraris, or the Bugattis, or whatever you want to call it. But a lot of us don't dream about our communication so the best place to start is there.

[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] Do you think that people don't dream about their communication because they just don't know how good it could be, like they don't even, they can't even fathom like a life with good communication, not fearing public speaking, not fearing walking up to a stranger to have a conversation? They've just never even seen how amazing that can be.

[Brendan Kumarasamy] I feel that's a big piece to that. Absolutely, Sami.  The other piece to that is we've just been taught communication the wrong way. Let me give you an analogy to help us understand this. Let's say we played basketball as kids, just a random example. And every time you missed a basket, somebody would throw a basketball at your head. Would you grow up liking basketball? No, right. But in the context of communication, that's literally what we're doing with our children right now. Because every presentation we gave in school where we learned how to speak was mandatory. It was never Hey, Sami do you want to get breakfast and present all day? Like nobody says that. The second piece is all those presentations were different. It was never, what do you like, Sami? Do you like books, do you like podcasts? What do you like? Do you like communication? It’s like no, you got to talk about Shakespeare. And then the 10 year old is confused and like what’s Shakespeare? And then the third piece is every presentation is tied to a punishment. So if you don't do a great job, you don't get a clap, you get a slap in the head and 30% Yeah, off your mark.

[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] That is a really interesting way to think about it. That makes so much sense. But we are talking about this today, because from the context of networking events and in person, and how to have kind of that confidence, because I think whether you show up and you do public speaking, or you show up and you're presenting yourself in a professional setting, they're kind of similar tool sets, right? Like, how do we present ourselves in our business with confidence? And so what kind of would be the biggest mistake that you see people making when they show up to an in person networking event to kind of make connections for their business?

[Brendan Kumarasamy] Absolutely, Sami. So let's go from a principle here, I would say the biggest mistake, whether it's in an in person setting, or just general networking, is we don't over invest in our winners. Let me explain what I mean because my thought process is a little bit different than other guests you might have had on. So here's the perspective. Let's say we meet somebody new every few days, which is something that's very rare, most of us don't. So in a year, give or take, we'll meet 100 people, make sense so far? Pretty simple. And let's say you live 50 more years than the age that we're currently. So let's say you're 30. And you live 50 more years until, let's say 80. As an example, if you multiply it and don't worry, this is the only math exam today. If we multiply 50 years by 100 people, the answer is 5000. I think a lot of people when we think about networking, we go, Oh, my God, how do I get everyone to like me at this event? But the setting versus going? Who do you want these 5000 people to be? Go ahead and jump in.

[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] No, I was just, I just love what you're saying.

[Brendan Kumarasamy] Feel free to jump in. But absolutely right. Out of the billions of people that are in existence, maybe 2 billion lives speak English. And then out of them, we can only shake 5000 hands. So if we look at that game, networking is a game from that perspective, our mindset around networking changes, which leads to the following conclusion. The biggest mistake that people are making with their network is they don't rank their best relationships. Who are the people that you already like? Who are the people that pour into you? And when was the last time you did something for them? And for most of us, the answer is nothing. So what you need to do is, you need to figure out the people you like, like, for example, we have good chemistry that's just random. We don't get to choose that. It's just energy. And sometimes you get on the show, this is like, oh my god, I can't do this. Take these five people, and have them introduce you to the best people in their network, and you can network out of your closet and do really good.

[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] I think that's really interesting. And I've never heard anybody describe it that way. Because then that takes all the fear out of it. Because now you're not necessarily trying to just go after cold people, you are going after the people you already know who are going to introduce you to somebody you already know, which we do in sales all the time. But that's a really interesting way to figure out how to open it up. And I love that 5000 people, who do you want those people to be? Because it also plays into like, Who's your ideal person? Like, we're not trying to cast the net to everybody, right? We're trying to target the people that we know are the right fits for us. So could you talk a little bit more about how you might prepare them to go to a networking event so that you can come in with that confidence of like, I know who I'm talking to, or I know what I'm doing here? Or I feel okay.

[Brendan Kumarasamy] 100%. So now going with that frame, excellent Sami. Now it's about thinking about, which event are we choosing? That’s the first problem we got to solve for. And for me, my perspective in life is always simple. Great people always lead to great business. Always. So if you have great friends, you want friendships, you have those friendships, you got relationships up all over the globe, you'll be fine. Somebody will get you business. So now it's with that frame. So I'm not a big fan of going into the event where I need to talk to these two, three people. For me, it's more about pick the right container, and just let life work itself out. But talk to as many people. So in the context of this, what I always like to start the conversation with is start thinking about what are you personally excited about? What are you passionate about? What are the questions you like answering and what groups of people have those same values and have that same curiosity that you do. So in my case, for me the best networking environment by far besides podcasts, which is always fun to have a conversation, is personal development conferences, going to Tony Robbins events, going to Lewis House events, going to these kumbaya events where everyone's trying to improve themselves. I love that show. So I'm always talking to people about the meaning of their life. And I find that one of them's like a CEO of a billion dollar company and I just get a sale, but the sale is never direct.

[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] Yeah, good. Yeah. No, it's not what you go into the conversation with, kind of going back to your point of when was the last time you did something for someone else in your network?

[Brendan Kumarasamy] Absolutely, exactly. So for me, it's all about, like, for me communication and networking is a lot like dating, you have to date a lot of people. And honestly, if I look at the top 10, I call it the value list where you rank your relationships, not based on money, or fame or status, but just simply based on how much they pour into you. But that's the metric for me, is how generous is somebody? And what I realized when I looked at my top 10, and I thought about the first impression I had of them, I never would have expected we'd be friends this long, or that we'd have a super amazing relationship. So these things can't really be guessed or thought of and said, we've seen this all the time where people are perfect for each other on paper, whether it's in love or relationships, and then they meet each other, and it just doesn't work. And I don't know why.

[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] That's true. But what about, so I guess what you're saying is when you go to a networking event, kind of like what you said, don't necessarily have your targeted list. So you are just kind of have the mind frame of like coming in with the questions that I think I can have to get to know somebody, and then just talk to as many people as possible so that I can find out who the right people are to continue that conversation with, not necessarily coming in with my business pitch ready to like, sit down and throw it out and have a conversation about it.

[Brendan Kumarasamy] Absolutely Sami, and another way of rephrasing what you said, which is absolutely true, is a lot of people make that mistake. They go into networking cocktails, they give people their business cards, and they expect that's going to get them something versus going, who are my favorite people at this event? And how can I over invest in my favorite people? I'll give an example that's more tangible. I was at a networking event in October. It was like a grand for a day. It was like 30 executives in Montreal, Montreal is where I'm from in Canada. So I just said, you know, I might as well just drop the money and see who shows up because there's never any events in Montreal. So, I go to the event and honest to God, I didn't like 29 of them out of the 30. No, I just talked to them and was like yeah, that's not gonna work. But the one person out of that 30 is like my best friend. So for that person who has like this big beard, he's the CEO of this physical therapy company, he’s like 27 years old, like super successful. And we just hit it off. And at the end, I just followed up with that one person, I think maybe two, one and somebody else. And then we got dinner, we became best friends. So the goal here is not going, How do I get to like everyone, but rather going who's the person that's meant for me. And if I can get one of those people at every cocktail, that's a massive win, because that one relationship is going to open so many doors for you.

[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] Well, kind of is that ripple down effect, Right? It just takes one person and to go back to what you said at the beginning, Who are the people that I want to pour my energy into so that they can pour their energy back into me? You can't do that with hundreds of people. So if we do that with the select one person who's then going to introduce me to three, maybe three business opportunities, who then might introduce me to three more I mean, then it just starts to kind of ripple from there.

[Brendan Kumarasamy] Oh, yeah, 100%. And you might have said this on another show as well, the whole idea behind Dunbar's principle, where you can only maintain ties with like 150 people, all at the same time. So even the 5000 rule is very overstated. The truth is, it's probably 500 or even less. So given that what this does is it changes our frame of mind Sami, where we get less anxious about trying to make every relationship work. It's kind of like marriage, like you don't need to marry seven people, to have a family to have a beautiful life. It's just a lot of people get stressed out, right, including me, by the way. But when we realize that, okay, we're optimizing for one person. So it's okay, if we need to let go of most people, it's okay. It's not about treating them rudely, or great, they're not in my life anymore. But rather disclaim like, okay, right, just don't follow up with them, versus the people that are really meant for you. But then every 50 people, every so many people, if you're willing to go through all the dates, you’re willing to have those conversations, you'll find somebody who's like a business partner and you’ll ask yourself three minutes into the conversation. Do I know this person? It feels like I've known this person for like seven years. And those are the people you keep in touch with and you triple down which most people don't do.

[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] So talk to me about how we fight that urge when we're at an event and we've met somebody for the first time and they say, Oh, hey, what do you do? Well, you know, where are you from? How do we fight that urge to kind of word vomit, everything and our sales pitch and turn it into just maybe a brief overview, and kind of maybe flip that conversation more into getting to know the person?

[Brendan Kumarasamy] 100%. So the way I always think about it is with Dale Carnegie. Dale Carnegie says it best right, Sami? In the sense of the people who are the most interesting are the ones who take interest in others relative to themselves. So people love to talk about themselves. I mean, that's why I love being a guest. I just love talking about myself all the time. So when we talk about ourselves, it increases the level of interest in the other person. So please spend 30 minutes listening to somebody. At the end, they just go well, I want to know about you, it creates this mystery. And the way that I've always seen it is, since we only get to keep a relationship with 100, 150 people, remember that you're vetting them, not the other way around. So you don't want to go quickly into your business pitch and your sales, because he might even be a great customer for you. Maybe they're not even worth your time. The most important thing is getting to know them, getting to know the officiant. So when people ask me that question, what do you do? Literally Sami what I do, which is totally bad in the context of the podcast, because I’m a guest, and guests come to talk and add value, but for this is outside of the setting. I want to respond with, Yeah I’m a Communication Coach, and I make YouTube videos and communicate, and what about you? I'd love to hear more about you. And I would just start asking you questions, and then listen to your response. And that's how the conversation would go with flow. Because if you don't like the person you're speaking to, I mean, you're awesome. But let's say in let's say, the cocktail, you just skip up, if you listen to it for 5-10 minutes, and he is like this, I want to shoot myself, but just move to the next person without talking about yourself.

[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] Let's say you spend 15 minutes, 30 minutes with that person at an event, that's 15-30 minutes, you're not talking to somebody who could be a better fit for you. So don't waste your time. I love that reframe of going into the conversation saying I'm vetting you because I think that does take the pressure off to like, I'm not here trying to make the sale, or convince you that you need to, you know, give to my organization. I'm here trying to learn more about you to know if you're the right fit like that, just is such a mind flip.

[Brendan Kumarasamy] 100%. And I'll admit, by the way, it's not something I had early in the business, as you can tell, I'm not the I'm not the oldest dog in the yard in my space. You know, I started coaching C level executives soon for those of us who just mean CEOs, when I was like 23 years old. So I had that scarcity mindset at the beginning, because a lot of people would say no, because of my age. So I would go up to every cocktail and say please old white men, please hire me for your, for your coaching and for my coaching. And they would all say no, and it would never work when I tried to hard sell them. But then when I realized that it only took 10, 20, 30 raving fans to really build a successful coaching business, which is what I have now, I realized I don't need to be great for everybody. I need to triple down and really maximize the value on the one person who says yes to me. And that's really changed my business and my perspective, where I don’t really feel the need anymore to go into a cocktail and say, oh my god, I really need to, like, get this person to like me or else I’m not going to eat tonight. I think it's more about say, Okay, let's set us up for success. Let's build that foundation. And make sure that every human being who says yes to us, even if that person is just one person, we over deliver for them so much, because time is better spent there than trying to get new fish into the net. Because that person if you over deliver for them, they'll open the doors for you over time.

[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] That is gold. I think that is so true. And I'm so glad that you said that. So let's talk about how, like, kind of, the world is one giant networking event. So when I'm in line at the coffee shop, or I am at a conference, or I'm in the pickup line for my kids at school, like all of these are networking opportunities. And I know this is something I struggle with, like there's so many things that I know I can do to help everybody and it all just starts with a conversation and you never know when you talk to somebody what that's going to lead to. So how do you kind of become one of those people who can just strike up a conversation with a stranger and just kind of see what happens and go from there?

[Brendan] And I'll be honest, Sami, even that's a struggle for me, even if I am a communication expert and what I do, sometimes I'm at a coffee shop and it's talking to this girl behind me, okay, like why are you talking to me? So I feel it's a muscle that we build up over time. There's no silver bullet. So I'll give an example, is the first thing that we need to master before we get to that level of communication, which I think is tough for most of us, is to start with, are we having fun? Do we see networking as a fun thing to do? And for most of us, it's not a fun thing to do. Because we haven't seen the benefits yet. Like the real benefits, not just the money in the sales. But really the lifelong friendships. A lot of my clients are lifelong friends. It's not just like, oh, like they give me money and like give them some magic hocus pocus and they're great communicators. No, it's like no, we have dinner together and one of my clients is coming to Montreal and I'm meeting the family, like, that's not, it's a very family thing. So for me, where we start the conversation with, is go to the top five people in your network and make a list and we rank that list not on celebrity status, not on money, but just how much they pour into you, how much they believe in you, and pour into them and have them make introductions. And when you start meeting those people, you start getting addicted to networking really quickly, because you go, Oh, my God, like one of my best friends, the only reason I met him, and we're business partners now, but it's more than just that was because of one of my other friends. If he had never introduced me to Billy, if Sam hadn’t introduced me, I never would have met him. Right. And then once I get that, then you get addicted to it. And then you could do the coffee shop thing. So when I'm at a conference, I'm super high energy. I'm always trying to talk to every human being, every soul that I meet, but it doesn't start there, we need to get addicted first.

[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] So what's your quote unquote pickup line? Those conversations when you're out there, like what do you say? Just like, introduce yourself and ask them a question? Or how do you kind of spark that conversation?

[Brendan Kumarasamy] 100%, I would say, it depends on the setting in a conference, it's a lot easier. That's why I go to them a lot. That's so it's also about going to the environment that you're the most comfortable in. So for some people, it's going to a music concert and talking to people. For me, it's personal development junkie events. That's my thing. I just like doing that. So my pickup line always at those events is how's the event trading? How's the event so far? They go well, it's great. You say tell me more about you. They just start talking because they want to talk to you. It's not like dressing for Starbucks and running off to their, their day to day, their day to day life. That's one piece. Another one that's very simple, but it's so simple. Nobody does it. You just go to people and you say hi, hey, I'm Brenda, what's your name? Like Hey, Sam, good to meet you. Where you from?

[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] Yeah, I think it's the nervousness creeps in. And then we feel like we're gonna be awkward and, and weird. But I think it's, I think to your point, that's true, depending on the environment, like if I'm at a networking event, or a conference or a business, something, people are there to talk to people. So they might just be as shy as you are. So you're doing them a favor by walking up to them to ask them a question, or ask them their name, because they might be feeling just the same amount of awkwardness?

[Brendan Kumarasamy] Absolutely, absolutely. I completely agree.

[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] Yeah. And we all want to have a friend at those events or somebody that we can, we can talk to so but I do like what you said about, you know, flexing that muscle and then that it is a practice. And I think a lot of us are maybe a little bit out of practice, because you know, the events are just starting to ramp up. I know I just went to my first in-person conference in May. And it felt weird, because I was like, I'm not, I haven't practiced this conversation and how to just kind of make that initial small talk. So we talked a lot about, kind of, what things to do before you get there. While you're there. You mentioned follow up. So how do we, what's your kind of best tips for follow up at an event and kind of keeping that conversation going? And like you mentioned, you don't need to follow up with everybody. But like, you know, do you follow the same ranking system that you use with that as well?

[Brendan Kumarasamy] I love that. I love your follow up question. Yes to all the above. So there's two pieces to them. One, I have a specific ranking list for every event that I attend. So I have my global top 10 list, which is all of my relationships with my top 10. Like my business partner, or family members, all that stuff. And then I have separate mini top 10 lists for different events that I attend. And what I do is I only follow up with my top three from every event because I go to a lot of events. And remember, we're only optimizing for a few 100 people, right? So for me, it's really the only metric. And it might be a bit immature, as who are my favorite people. That's it like it's just, it's not who is going to drive the most business for me, who's going to drive the best results. That's also not fun for me anymore, Sami. So that's like, for example, think about this podcast. It’s not so much better for my business. Right? I just like doing it. So that's why I like having conversations. And that's the key triple down on what you like. But the other piece is how do you follow up? Generally speaking, if they're in your top three, and you like them, chances are they like you too. So there's not much crazy tactical advice here in terms of the follow up. Like for example, Patrick, he wanted to talk to me too. So after that event, we just had dinner the following week, and we just made sure to put in the calendar. But I'm always the person who initiates though. That's what I will say. So I think the key is just make sure that when you meet that perfect person that you take it upon yourself to just send them that quick little text, that quick little message, say hey, it was great meeting you. Let's jump on a zoom call. What times worked for you this week? And that's it, simple.

[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] And then how have you worked through, because I'm sure you've gotten some No’s over the course of your career and building these relationships. So how do you not let the, when they come back and they're like, you know, we're just not interested in having you know, your conversation kind of like, how do you not let that No derail you?

[Brendan Kumarasamy] I’ll be honest, it's very rare now that I get a No if it's just the top three. But it has happened for sure. Here's what I will say, you know, my perspective in life, and it's taken a lot of inner work to get to this point, I'll admit, is, you know, our goal is to, in my opinion, as human beings is to show love with other people, in the best possible way, in the best possible way. So if someone feels that they're not a match for us, if that's the way that we know, we need to show love for them, which is to simply not have a conversation with them. That's, if that's what's in the best interest for them. Then perfect, like, I'm all for it, because I want people to live their best life. But what I'll also say is, trust me, it might be painful, short term, and I've definitely had those moments where I was like, man, like they were the one for me, like why. But I also feel that it doesn't take a lot of people to make networking magical. So if you get all of those rejections, and you get that one person who says yes, and that person becomes a lifelong friend, always ask yourself, was that lifelong friend worth those 10 rejections? And the answer is, yes. I'll give you a quick example. So my best friend, one of my good friends, Sam Kimani, I've never met him in person yet. He's one of my best, best buddies. And this is when I started guesting on podcasts Sami. So I didn't know it was a thing. It was like March 2020, the pandemic just hit, and I just started messaging a ton of podcast hosts, like a ton. We're talking like hundreds of people. And what happened is most of them rejected me because I was a nobody two years ago, and I still am honestly still getting better. And one of the guys who said yes, it's like 20 People said Yes out of like 400 people, was a guy named Sam. And the other 19 hosts that I met, I had a great relationship with, but we didn't really keep in touch. And Sam was like the golden goose. He was this amazing guy. Fantastic. We've been friends for years. But here's the point, I had to go through 400 of these things. To get to that one person, I had to go through all that rejection. And was it worth it? 100,000%? Yes. So it's all about weighing in the benefit of that one relationship relative to the output. And trust me, it's always worth having the friend over the output.

[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] Yeah, it's I mean, at the end of the day, it's a numbers game. Right. But what I like about what you're saying is that you control the numbers. So it's not about putting out this net and saying, I need to talk to 1000 people and hope that five of them like me, it's more about, I'm gonna go to this event, because I know this event is right for me. I know guest podcasting is right for me. I mean, that's a little bit of a different numbers game. But I know that I'm going to talk to just a handful of people. And like you said, I don't want to gloss over this, like your No’s have become much less because you're being more intentional. And you're not following up with everybody. If you were following up with all 100 people you met at those events, then you would have way more No’s.

[Brendan Kumarasamy] Oh 100%. And I feel what's shifted a lot of my strategy, especially when you get more leverage in your brand. And you get better. Obviously, I'm not there yet. But it's definitely better than where it was two, three years ago. Most of my introductions now are warm intros. So it's people in my network, saying, hey, you need to talk to this person. So let me paint a different picture here Sami. Let's say you do the value list exercise that we talked about, right? Top five, you introduce people and you genuinely add value. Trust me, if you're someone who's a Go Giver, and you're really doing that, eventually, the market will speak the value that you offer. So what does that mean? Well, eventually that five person top amazing people becomes 20. You have 20-25 rock stars and your network will always be thinking about you, always helping you, My God, like you don't have time to meet all the incredible people they start introducing you to. You just don't have the time anymore. So at this point, you just, you just stopped going to events, or you don't follow up with anybody. Like that's what I said. And we filled up with top three, I think now it's probably one or two if I'm being honest. And then the rest is just warm intros from, from my network of exceptional people that I built one person at a time over the years.

[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] Okay, so this is a little bit off topic, but I want to touch on it and then we'll wrap this up. Because I think you've given people a lot and I don't want to overwhelm people with all the amazing things. So our audience is largely nonprofits and fundraisers. And so one of the things you talk about a lot, which I think is great, is how do I add value to those right top 10? Top five people? How do I provide value and I think as fundraisers it becomes really easy to just always be one sided. I'm calling you to ask you to refer people to me, I'm calling you to give me money. I'm calling you to be on this committee. I'm calling you because we need something from you. So do you have maybe some ways that fundraisers might reframe some of those either follow up conversations or ask for referrals and also provide value to them and give to them in ways they may not think about it?

[Brendan Kumarasamy] 100% and I'm glad you brought that up, Sami, my recommendation, then I'll dive into why that is, is a book that you probably have recommended on the show before but I'll reemphasize called Thirst by Scott Harrison. Scott Harrison is the CEO of Charity Water. It’s a nonprofit he started to help people gain access to clean water. I think he's the golden standard, and one of the best nonprofit executives in the world. And what I would say around Scott, and it's once again going to be counterintuitive advice is the reason he's so good at marketing and fundraising and building relationships, him and his team obviously, ha doesn't do this on his own, is because he treats the people who raise the most money for him like they're a VIP member at some club, like some country club. And I feel what a lot of fundraisers don't get is, I'm just having the empathy to understand what's important for the richest people in one's nonprofit, and what are their priorities and optimizing against that. So what Scott has done is he created a separate fund that you probably also already talked about on the show, are called the well. So the well is your group of families who actually pay for all of the overhead for Charity Water. So all the 100% of the public money goes straight to the programs. But what's interesting is how he manages the 114, 150 families. And it's a lot more than just hey, can you give every year, but it's really about like they send these people gifts that are very personal, they have a whole department in charity water that just focuses on gifts. And I would add on top of that as an easy tactic. Write very detailed notes about the top 100 donors and surprise them, find ways to add value. And the mindset that I want to leave people with, Sami, is imagine as if they gave the money that they raise to you. Let's say they were a client of yours, let's say they spent $100,000 on your service or something? How would you treat them differently? How differently would you treat them? And the answer would be very different. That's how you stand up.

[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] Yeah, we talk about that a lot on this podcast, is creating that experience for your donors. So they're like customers, as opposed to, as opposed to donors. I love that. Okay, so many good things and things that I'm actually going to take into effect, because I have a few in-person events coming up. So I'm excited to kind of reframe this. So I've learned a lot from you today. But Brendan, if you could kind of give one last takeaway to people, as they're going out, back out in the world and making some new connections, what would that be?

[Brendan Kumarasamy] Absolutely. You know, I always like to end with this question Sami, which is, how would the world change if you are an exceptional communicator? Don't just write the question down, really reflect it, especially in the context of your audience. We're not fundraising to have a fancier meal. But we're fundraising to create impact to the world, to create more transformation in people's lives. What would that look like at scale? What if we all banded together and made ourselves successful, how much more money would we be able to raise? How much more impacted lives would be able to save? And we start to visualize that exercise together. That's what creates the burning desire to say, you know, what, I should make my value list and start adding, because these triggers need me to do that. And that's what creates the motivation to get the job done. So I encourage people to reflect on that question.

[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] That is a great way to end it. Brendan, if people want to know more about you, how do they find out about you?

[Brendan Kumarasamy] Yeah, absolutely Sami, great conversation by the way, I love your energy, this is great. So two easy ways to keep in touch. The first one is definitely the YouTube channel, just go to mastertalk, and one word, you'll have access to hundreds of free videos on how to communicate ideas effectively. And then the second way is for those of you interested in coaching, just sign up for one of my free trainings that I do over Zoom on communication every few weeks. And the website for that is rockstarcommunicator.com.

[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] I love that URL. That's a great one. Yeah, we got lucky. I love it when that happens. And we'll link up all of this in some of the resources that we talked about at thefirstclick.net/157. So you can get all of the links there in case you're listening to this on the road. Brendan, thank you so much. It was a wonderful conversation. Big, big, big thank you to Brendan, I'm really curious about what your big takeaway is and what you're excited about doing when it comes to attending your next in person event? How are you going to turn these tools into action and really make things happen for your organization? I just think the whole mindset piece for me in showing up and really just asking questions and finding out who's the right fit for me is going to be a game changer in how I show up and talk to people, pulling that fear away, right? It's not about me, I'm trying to find the right fit for me, not sell myself. So that was my biggest takeaway. I can't wait to hear yours. You can email those to me at Sami@thefirstclick.net. For now, subscribe, wherever you listen, I'd love it if you'd give us a little review. And make sure you Check us out on YouTube. thefirstclick.net/YouTube but I hope you have a great week and I'll see you in the next one

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