Not digital, but real‑world socialnetworking. If your goal is to growyour personal brand into a publicpersona, the subtle, mysteriousstranger approach is most often notgoing to cut it. There are only somany people that can pull off theJ. D. Salinger route of becomingfamous for not being seen. Theeasier (though more painful) route isto hire a publicist—more explicitly,hire
*—and will yourself towant to impress the red‑carpetedworld of celebrities, CEOs, andTwitter famous. I can’t hold yourhand at the events, but here are tentips for surviving them:
1. Value Quality over Quantity
Your publicist will give you a socialcalendar that’s jammed with events,insisting that you “need to be” at allof them. This is false. Separate the“need to attends” from the “niceto attends,” and this will serve youbetter in the long run. Chasing thesecond tier of events will exhaust youand overexpose you, and you’ll burnout faster than yesterday’s news.
2. Don’t Overtly Parrot
Most of the management bookstell you to parrot the person you’retrying to impress, suggesting thatyou nod when she nods, touch yourleft nostril when she touches her leftnostril, and then if she says, “I loveLady Gaga!” you say, “Oh my God,I love Lady Gaga too!!!!” The worlddoes not need more parroting, andit’s okay to
love Lady Gaga.
3. Use Mints
If, at any point in the day, your mouthhas been open and if you’ve con‑sumed food, chances are that yourbreath stinks. Do yourself a favor andfreshen up your face.
4. Don’t Name-Drop
It’s transparent and obnoxious. WhenI met George Lucas, even thoughat heart I was a starstruck fan boy, Iwould never say, “I saw Harrison Fordlast week!” or “I just played golf withSteven Spielberg!” Lame. If you
want to slip in a name, it’s better touse one that’s more mundane, moregrounded, like the celebrity’s lawyerthat you might happen to know.
5. Never Ask for a Card
You can (and should) give out
business card, but never ask for onein return. If people want to give youa card, they’ll give you their god‑damn card.
6. Respect the Handler
The notable might have a handler(assistant, publicist, manager, as‑sociate) standing with him or herat the party. When you meet thenotable, also introduce yourself tothe sidekick, and when you give thenotable a card, give the sidekick acard too. Treat handlers with respect.Not only is this the right thing to do,but this could be the hand of theking—and they’ll later whisper intothe king’s ear.
7. Drink Water
This is work, it’s not a party.
8. Don’t Try to Speak to Everyone
When Barry Sanders scored atouchdown, he would casuallytoss the football back to the ref,shrugging, and living by the credo“Act like you’ve been there before.”Just chill out. Don’t try to meet everycelebrity and shake every hand. If youare conducting and managing yourpersonal brand well, part of yourbrand will be to spend more timein this mildly toxic environment.You’ll be at these events again inthe future, so let things happenmore organically.
9. It’s Not About Being a “Closer”
Lower your expectations aboutimagining that you may magicallyseal any deals. These events aren’tthe right forum for giving someonethe hard sell, for overt pitching, or tobecome someone’s best friend.
10. Know That They’re Working Too
Even famous people don’t likegetting dressed up and making afuss about how they look. Even if they have a giant dick or won theMost Beautiful Woman in the Worldaward, the chances are that they stillhad anxiety about getting dressed upand going to this event. It’s work forthem too. Take comfort in this.
“ANALOG” SOCIALNETWORKING 101
*Be Your Own Publicist:
The best publicist that you can hire is yourself. Publicists and PR agents are useful: they’re concierges who can make introduc‑tions to people that might be outside of your network. But they can’t replace the need for you to be your own bullhorn. It has to start with you.