Friday our college hosted “Welcome to the Majors,” the signature kick-off event for students entering the College of Business. Dean Paul Jarley explained why students need to start differentiating themselves now, best-selling author Seth Godin put his own, unique spin on differentiation, and I led 2500 attendees through a networking exercise in the largest face-to-face class in UCF history. For those who couldn’t make it, here’s my presentation:
In the college we like to use the term “thought leader” a lot. I’m going to talk a bit about a different type of leader. You see, I used to work in the car business. And there we had a saying; “Nothing happens until someone sells a car.” Meaning, our business depended on people DOING something. Action. Activity. Thoughts are great. Ideas are great. But action makes things happen.
Our guest today, Seth Godin is called a thought leader. However, he’s also a DO leader. He started companies. These companies put people to work and empowered the actions of others. Things happened because he started Yoyodyne and Squidoo.
In the Icarus Deception, Seth tells us that no one is left to pick us. No one will pick us because the rules of business and society have changed. Entertainment, music, comedy; all of these have become “do it yourself” affairs where a Soundcloud account and YouTube channel have replaced a record deal and videos on MTV.
One of your classmates, Natalie Alzate, is a great example of this. Her video blog, Natalie’s Outlet (https://www.youtube.com/user/nataliesoutlet), started as her way of expressing her love for DIY beauty and lifestyle. Last Spring, as a result of her networking, she was picked up by ICON and now earns money from her videos. This Saturday, a video that she collaborated on with Michelle Phan will be going out to 8 million subscribers!! Check out Natalie’s Outlet on YouTube to see what I’m talking about. To see what I mean by a DO leader.
Lionel Galvez is also a DO leader. He turned an opportunity to attend the college’s Hall of Fame banquet into a connection with one of the Dean’s Advisory Board members. He turned that connection into a site visit, a job shadow, an internship, and ultimately into a job offer. No one picked him. Just like Natalie, he initiated action and made it happen. DO leaders make things happen.
So how can you do what they did? Networking. And as my friend Dean Caravelis taught me, networking is not about shaking hands and kissing babies. It’s about needs. OTHER PEOPLE’S NEEDS. The key to networking, according to my friend, is to identify the needs of others, help them meet those needs, and eventually it’ll come back to you. The connections and relationships that you foster eventually come back because you’ll have other people helping you with your needs while you help them with theirs. Natalie stimulated traffic from her viewers to the ICON sites. Lionel offered to help his connection with a project. Their DO was an offer, not a request!
For Introverts, this is great! I’m not asking you to open up and be the extroverted life of the party. I’m asking you to simply ask questions. Lead the other person. Let them talk. Leverage your listening skills to find out their needs and help them meet them. Extroverts can do this too. You’re engaging. So keep the smile, put the other person at ease, and just remember to start your sentence with “you” instead of “I.”
When you’ve helped someone, they’re more willing to help you. Or maybe help someone else that you know that needs help. Now you’re connecting people. Two people who didn’t know each other are now better off. And you will reap the benefits of what you DID.