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How to Meet New People Who Want To Help Your Business and Career
Last Updated May 9th, 2013

I’ll never forget this…

One time, after I spoke at a conference, a guy came up to me to introduce himself

He said, “Hi my name is…” and then he shoved a business card in my mouth.


At first I thought maybe I had something in my teeth. Then I thought, “is this guy SERIOUS?”

I took his business card, dropped it on the floor, and walked away.

Networking fail.

What’s strange is…

…While I was annoyed with this guy in the heat of the moment, it’s really not ALL his fault.

You see, networking today is borked.

Conferences, networking events, and the places you’re told to go to “Meet people,” are unnatural and fake.

What ELSE was that guy supposed to do? He was told he needed business cards, and that he should hand them out.

He did it wrong. And sure, there’s a right way to meet people at events, but to me, it ALWAYS comes off as unnatural and fake.

(Wouldn’t you agree?)

And that’s why I filmed this new video.

I share how I build my network and lasting relationships with people.

No business cards. No sleaziness. No networking.

Do you have any networking horror stories? Or maybe you had a GREAT networking experience? Share your full story in the comments. I’ll read every one because I have a feeling this is gonna get good.

Plus, if you want more advice on how to email people the right way. Watch this video and read this pdf.

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120 comments Leave a comment

hi everyone im chumani from south afrika cape iv got a dream of starting up my own catering company anyone interested in helping me please feel free to email me or phone me on this number 0838905411 be blessed


I know it may sound backwards but my goal at networking events is to not try to get anything out of it. I really go just to meet people. It seems most of my valuable business contacts have come out of the blue. So I usually use networking events as social practice and to gather good stories.

I go in with no expectations and it usually works out better that way πŸ™‚


A business card into your mouth!!…. i thought that happened only in movies!

Kathy William

Good points. I hate it when people approach me and ask if there’s anything they can do to help. I know that their intentions are to be polite, but I’d much prefer that they approach me with something specific more..

U18 India

I have a story that helped me to get more students for the university I am associated with.
Some months ago, I attended an alumni meet at my graduation college. I found thousands of new students there.
I love public speaking, so I managed to have a discussion with those guys about getting higher education through online education platform.
I am really amazed to see their responses and some ideas they brought to improve the effectiveness for the learning program.
Some candidates who are willing to get higher education also showed their interest to work with us. And through those students, we have an increased audience in our state.
That alumni meet helped me to connect with more talented guys.

Aqiyl Aniys

Go advice bro! When I first started blogging I was fortunate to hook up with another blogger and an important lesson she taught me was to help other just as much I as help myself in blogging. the is really just something that I apply to my life. this is a great way to build a network.


Keith Farazzi wrote a great book on Relationship Marketing and he talks about reaching out to people. He said both parties must see some value for a meeting to occur. So you have to get to give in short.

PS. Derek, I’d like to hang out with you because you’re an internet celebrity!

james gaffney

was it genetically modified? gluten free?

it is pretty amazing some of the garbage that folks will do to try to leave an impression. never heard of this one before.

you remember the guy, though!

Takiyah Noble

I have a question? How do you offer to give a product or a service for free without subjecting yourself to being “mounted” (for lack of a better term)? I have tried this approach, and I take full responsibility that I am probably doing something wrong, but I find myself quickly surrounded by people who quickly feel entitled to continuously get that product or service for free indefinitely.

How does maintain the balance of “giving” without being “taken”?


It is refreshing to hear you say that. I go to a gym and saw a great opportunity to write a media release for the studio for an event they were holding, so I wrote the media release and emailed the owner of the gym and asked if it would be okay for me to liaise with the media and do a release for him on this particular event that he was holding.

He loved my story, the release went great and now I write all of his media releases and have him as a client and a great testimonial.

I am an avid believer in offering someone your services because it gives them a taste test of just how amazing your services actually are and how it can benefit them immensely while giving them fantastic results. It’s like when you want to go buy a mattress, you want to lay on it and feel it to make sure that you will be comfortable sleeping on it for the next five years πŸ™‚

I love your videos, they have taught me so much and reaffirmed that I am heading in the right direction so thank you very much πŸ™‚

Steven K Wendt

Sounds to me like he just wanted to leave an impression,
and in that sense… it worked. May not have worked on you, but
probably did work on some other people he tried it on. Props to the
guy for being creative I guess.

Lara Chapman

Great post. Timeless talking points here. I’ve done some β€œnetworking” events here in South Florida in the dead heat of summer. The problem I’ve encountered is too much forced conversation and too much sweating (bad combo). The events are usually after work and it’s a complete oven outside… and why are the little bottle of waters still lukewarm? Come on people!

I suppose it’s all apart of the deal though.


i learned how NOT to treat someone-whom wanted to work with
me-by how they made offer to work with each other. (the candy/hook
to have me on) she said: “you need to belong to a community to help
yourself obtain skills” which is true-at least in part. when i
actually signed on with a contract per her, (yeah-i now know in
hindsight-that i shouldv’e done that-not bcs of legal reasons..but
for other reasons..) she asked me questions of variety-that were to
do with how many incomes i had funneling into me. as things went
on-i felt what i was being (almost) groomed into, was a exclusive
shopping center or a knock off of e-women’s network (which is an
org i let go of in the 1st bcs all they would have women get
upto-is shop their a$$ off..i mean REALLY) so instead your
refreshing empowerment is found and i can breathe and pursue more
effectively-how to be with people. thank you captain


I like your stuff but don’t entirely agree here. Yes, I think you need to offer something of value but I also think that can be nebulous. I email people to invite them to be a guest on my TV show and promote their site and I get people barking at me for wasting their time. You would think offering someone a specific invitation to promote their stuff would be positive, but in this age of douchyness and unilaterally overvaluing one’s content, it would appear not to some people. I do like your PDF with tips for how to frame things, however… framing is everything. If the Today show emailed these people the response would be different.

Jane Frankland

I love reading your blogs & watching your video. The advice you give is spot on. My networking horror story (if you can call it that) involved Linkedin. I’d been referred through a former supplier of mine to someone who consulted on Linkedin. Unfortunately he saw my new business venture as a threat to his, so although he scheduled a call with me, he refused to Link in. It didn’t bother me as I found his arrogance irritating and his attitude short sighted. He took delight in telling me how he charged some of his clients by the second! Urgh!

Jason Spencer

The classiest cards are the ones people throw on the floor and try to make them look like folded cash. I can’t imagine how those campaigns are worth the printing costs.

Shoving cards in people’s mouths? That’s up there in classy too, man. So sorry you had to go through that.


Also, become a person others want to meet and do business
with. Plus, instead of asking for something from them or instead of
trying to give them something that’s really just another way to
eventually get something from them, offer for them to join you to
do something that you both have a genuine interest in or to further
talk about a topic because you both happen to have the same values
for what’s most important or to talk about actions to achieve a
shared goal, and then build the relationship off of that authentic
mutual connection. Most other people, except for maybe your
grandmother, do not “want to help your career,” and the few kind
people who would want to help are not able to. Many people want to
meet me for business and I ask myself is this a person I would want
to do business with.

Kirsten Nelson

I’ve found that I get super irritated when I get emails from authority building sites that say “Jane Doe (aka random Facebook or Twitter contact I barely know if at all) Needs Your Help to Build Their Reputation.”

My initial reaction? I don’t know who you are and resent that you’re asking me to do something for you! *delete*

I totally agree with your advice to avoid the generic “If I can ever do anything for you…” line. Making that extra effort makes you stand apart from the crowd. It’s all about relationships.

(Can’t get over the guy putting a business card in your mouth…seriously!)


I used to ask people to help without giving back
something.Exactly, they ignored everything I requested and this is
a great video help me out how to ask for people help, love this

Chef Kendra

Networking is one of the hardest things for some and the easiest thing in the world for others. I fall in the first group.

Syed Balkhi

Great advice Derek. I think this is extremely useful
specially right after you met someone at a conference. You had a
good conversation with them, and this is the perfect time for you
to build a strong relationship with that person. Don’t wait months
to reach out to them. Do it right on the same day or right after
the event if you are worried that they won’t check their

Jody Heath

Excellent incites. But I would like to hear the part you left out about that guy losing a few teeth.

Steve VanHove

He put something that his HAND touched in your MOUTH? Yikes – I have a hard time touching a shopping cart handle unless I wipe it down with those wipes they provide. Also, it sounds like something he cold be arrested for. I think pushing something into a body orifice of someone else (unless the other party seems to be agreeable) sounds like a criminal act. IMHO. At least on Long Island.


Awesome Derek!
It’s a great lesson for everyone i guess. You must not be pursuitive and developing bad manners. You just need to be polite and catch the listener’s attention with your kind behavior and your smile(if you have a good one).

Thanks a lot for your post!


Hey Derek,

I posted a comment the other day, but maybe it went into your spam? Jus’ checkin’!

This post inspired me so much it’s helped me help people who are trying to work with me Help Me Help Them. They’d like to work for me. Great, I’d love to work with them. But they need to make it easy (and attractive and interesting) for me to want to work with them. It’s not that hard, but it’s a big difference in perspective.

Lydia Balian

Me: “Hello, my name is Lydia, and I am guilty of perpetrating a networking nightmare.”

Audience: “Hi Lydia.”

Me: “Several months ago I made–what I thought then was–a ballsy move. I emailed the owner of one of my favorite sites focused on bargaining, couponing, saving money, etc. I’m not going to name names, but her site has a page rank of 7, she has partnerships with several big-name brands, and she is very successful. Thankfully, she also is quite forgiving, especially given what I did.

“I’m of the belief that closed mouths don’t get fed. If you don’t ask for something, then there is no way that it’s going to just be handed to you. You have to be proactive. So I emailed this person, and, after giving her an extended run-down detailing the topic of my new site, wrote the following: ‘I was wondering whether you could give my website a quick shout out on your site. I’m not trying to get famous, just trying to make a little extra on the side to support my family.’

“I even ended the email–and I’m especially ashamed of this–by writing, ‘If you could direct readers to my website, I would be forever grateful. Thanks so much and God bless you!’ I’m not even religious; I just thought that if I included that line, she might be more inclined to help me.”

Audience: “Gasp! “For shame!” “You didn’t!” “For the love of all things holy!”
::The entire crowd murmurs their disapproval. Several people shake their heads; a few even stand up and leave the room, embarrassed by my story::

Me: “Naturally, she refused. But she did so in a really nice way by wishing me luck and even went as far as to let me post a link to my website on her Facebook page.

“Knowing what I do now, however, I should never have contacted her to ask for such a thing. As the old adage goes, ask not what your favorite website owner can do for you, but what you can do for your favorite website owner.

“I should have completely changed the focus of my email, and spent the majority of my time discussing something that would benefit her in some way. Perhaps I could have let her know about a new report or article that might make an interesting blog post. Even better, I could have offered to do something for her, something specific, like come up with a list of all the smartphone apps that have come out that help people save money online. But I didn’t.

“From now on, I will think these kinds of requests through before hitting the send button. No more will I annoy overworked website owners. I will make myself useful to them and follow Derek Halpern’s advice about how to increase traffic to my blog–in the least obnoxious way possible.

“Thank you for your support. I’m taking things one day at a time.” πŸ˜‰

Malati Marlene Shinazy, M.Ed.

Tip Two of Two

(2) If I am handing a person my business card, I say “One of my Japanese clients taught me how to give and take a business card with respect… Again, light-heartedly, I hold my business card with two hands and present it to them like I am giving them a gift.

But, I show them the BACK, where our company services are listed, and off-handedly tell they that my contact information is on the other side.

Three things usually happen:

(a) They take the card with two hands, and actually READ it, rather than toss it into a pocket

(b) We start up a conversation about how different manners are in other countries or even regions of the US

(c) We’ve made a real connection

Malati Marlene Shinazy, M.Ed.

One of Two Tips:

(1) If you have a non-mainstream name like mine, make it easy for people to say it. If you don’t, they’ll be tense and hesitant. I NEVER show people the spelling of my name. I TELL THEM HOW to pronounce it… and do so light-heartedly.

“Hi, Joe… It’s so great to meet you. My name is MAUL-UH-TEE… You know, just like the word, “Quality!” With a twinkle in my eye and a sincere smile, I’m done.

They usually say, “Oh yeah! That’s easy…. Quality Maul-uh-tee.”


Hi Derek,

Awesome video. I love that you practice what you preach. I have seen you at a couple of events and you are always introducing people that might benefit from each other (aka helping first). I try to remind readers of my blog that networking is similar to building a friendship. If you were trying to make friends you wouldn’t say, “can you introduce me to some of your other like minded friend?” after you have met them for the first time.

I really enjoy reading your articles and have benefited a ton from the BTC Course.


Brian Swichkow

Thanks so much for the awesome post Derek. You’re absolutely right! So many people seem to be compelled to spread their business cards like a dandelion spreads amongst the winds. With that strategy there will be some that grow, but the roots are shallow.

Brian Swichkow

You had me hooked in the first sentence…

You’re absolutely right! Most people are enslaved by the oath of the ancient ‘Business Card Cult’ and their venomous ideals. They are encouraged to spread their seed like that of a dandelion in the wind. Charming at first, right up until you get a few shoved in your mouth.

Let’s continue the analogy.

Don’t be a dandelion, be an oak tree. The dandelions spreads its seed far and wide in the hopes that some will take root, but the strategy just creates a bunch of weeds. The oak tree offers a delicious nut to the friendly squirrel and thereby creates a lasting relationship. The squirrel buries the oak tree’s acorns to eat later, but these often sprout and grow into a mighty oak tree.

Thanks Derek, you’ve just inspired a blog post πŸ˜‰



Great video, Derek!

I often struggle with figuring out how to partner with people or how I can ask them to help me when I have little to offer being a new business. Relating to that, how do you figure out who are the right people to approach for help? I’d like to partner with other similar-minded businesses but don’t know how to find the right ones.



GREAT VIDEO Derek! How ironic…This is what I’ve been doing for the past month! I just browse around looking for people that needs my services. I’m not going to sit around waiting for customers to come…I’m coming for them.

KC @ genxfinance

Wow, that was annoying. I can’t believe that it can happen it real life. I don’t know what I would have reacted if he shoved a business card in my mouth! Urgh. And thanks for the video. Awesome tips.


How To make Friends & Influence People by Dale Carnagy might be of interest, it certainly helped me in communicating and obtaining better results.

After having read it through the book once I now flip through the book about every 6 months picking out more techniques I can experiment with to see if they are resulting in helping me be more communicative. It’s actually fun experimenting to see what works & what doesn’t.

Smilling, remembering peoples names and using it in the converstation, remembering past conversations, remembering personal information people shared and asking about developments are all techniques that haved improved my ability to be communicate and consequently to some extent I believe influence too.


Quentin Sabanowski

Hi Derek,

totally love your videos and following you on Twitter.
I happen to manage a marketing agency specialized in multilingual SEO between English and French speaking countries.

If you plan to have a French version of your website, I will create new audience to develop your emailing list and spread your word abroad for free. πŸ™‚


Derek, the video and the post were awesome. Thanks and cheers πŸ™‚

Daniel Jordi

Awesome video Derek! I’m writing a lot about networking myself and we absolutely share the same values here and the same view of the world!

Thanks a lot for putting out such great content! Also, I love your energy πŸ™‚

Sai Krishna

Wow Derek,

I couldn’t believe that guy really put that business card in your mouth, that was something really weird and unexpected.

You have made a nice video, and I agree we should be nice to people always.


Great video man. Your network is your net worth…


Many of my best networking stories start with a simple thank you.

Since I am a college student, I come out cold turkey and tell people, friends, potential mentors, etc the truth. “I am young, ambitious, good at x, x, x, and really want to thank you for your content/message/inspiration etc.”

This simple hack has gotten me experience in launching a book, and has helped me in getting my most recent job as a freelance marketing manager πŸ™‚



Great article and video. I was cheering you on the whole time. I’ve used a similar approach to building up a business with lots of trades and smaller partnerships. I’ll enjoy taking your advice to cold emailing and introductions. Thanks for the great advice as always!



Hey Derek!
Just wanted to say you look hot in a v-neck!
Keep up the good styling πŸ˜‰


Hi Derek

I had some people on Facebook inviting me for coffee so that we can “talk about home business”. I don’t even know these people and they never commented on my blogs, FB updates or anything. I guess these people are promoting business opportunities.

Thank you so much for valuable content as always.



Hi Derek!

Reading the headline of this blog post, I though – I got this! Boy was I wrong, because after following up with people I have met at a networking event a few days ago, all my emails ended with “Let me know if there is anything I can do to help” OMG! I’m definitely changing that! But the thing is, it’s so HARD to come up with something that you can help them with.

This reminds me of a time where I was tremendously helped and I wanted to help back. So I said “Let me know if there is anything I can do for you” and he replied – “How about you think of something you can do for me” LOL!!! That should have been my turning point, but as always, Derek comes to the rescue!

Wish I came up with the idea of transcribing all the videos for you πŸ˜€ he he

Thank you for your valuable content!!!


Great video Derek!

A few qs come to mind. 1) how do you help people without coming off super calculated? There’s a big difference between really wanting to be of service and build a relationship with someone, and just wanting to help to get something out of it in return

2) what’s your take on informational interviews? I’ve had a good amount of success taking people to coffee and talking to them about their experience. Is asking for an informational interview still taking and not giving?

Alexa Hart

Good points. I hate it when people approach me and ask if there’s anything they can do to help. I know that their intentions are to be polite, but I’d much prefer that they approach me with something specific.


    Alexa, that is so interesting! I never even though about that and I ALWAYS ask, with good intentions, of course! Thank you!


Your frank message of give to receive makes total sense to me. And it’s a creative way to share the knowledge wealth as I’m building my business.

Kristen Tammaro

I walked up to a gentleman who seemed to be ignored by the crowd at an event and introduced myself. He proceeded to hand me TWO business cards with ONE business on each side, it took so long to describe ALL his biz’s that I didn’t have had time to talk about my own business. Talk about information overload!


Hi Derek,

I can’t believe that someone put their business card in your mouth. That takes a lot of chutzpah!

I loved this video because it also reminds me of people who send you an invitation to “Like” their Facebook fan page or a client’s Facebook fan page. I often ask myself, “What is this? What is this Facebook page about? What’s the benefit of me liking this page?” before I click “Like.”

It would be nice to receive a personal note that goes something like this, “Hey! Check out this Facebook page because it offers great information on (fill in the blank). I know you and your business will benefit from liking this page. Thanks!”

Don’t get me started on people who automatically add you to a Facebook group and those who use the generic LinkedIn blurb when you send an invitation to connect. πŸ˜‰

Markus Wild

Derek, thanks for reminding us of the obvious. How could anybody think he could build a relationship by only stealing time? Similar situation for me if an internship applicant doesn’t know how to write my name or to build a bridge to our company – and after refusal is insisting that I have to comment his portfolio and to give him a lesson. Sure, I would be willing to do him a favor if he was the one and only, but actually he is not. People have to learn again to be of service – and not from professional reasons.

Mary Jean Padalino

Your videos always make my day! I haven’t been to any networking events (I keep finding excuses not to go lol) but I was at a training event last year and there was a woman there networking her services. Well…she was giving me and my friend the crazy eye and then she sashayed over (trust me, she sashayed) and said, “Wow you ladies are sexy.” That was her introduction and then she explained that she was teaching health coaches how to lose weight (I weigh 108 lbs) lol! I was actually confused at first and then I asked if she actually meant that she wanted me to hire her to help me lose weight…I’m pretty sure that is the day she learned that her services need to actually be needed! The scariest part of this story is that she is a pretty popular health coach…maybe she was off her meds that day (or my sexiness threw her off) who knows! Thank you for the stellar advice, as always!

Rusty Eddy

Derek, great advice. It is crazy how often people want to “pick brains” or get advice. I have found that it is pretty easy to figure out to help somebody out, and how hard it is to find people that will do just that.

Offering to help and following through will certainly place you in the minority and easily ingratiate yourself to others!

Keep the good stuff coming!

Kelsey Ramsden

Service before selfish is what I always say…..thx for the vid.


He did that? Wow. That is crossing so many boundaries I don’t know where to begin. How did you find out he called you rude?


You are my brother! πŸ™‚


Fantastic! I love your truth “smackdowns”.

    Derek Halpern

    I should start calling them that.


I’m suspicious of people who offer things, I’m sure Derek is one of those guys.
“Excuse me lady, I can help you loofah your back, I ask nothing in return.”

Gail / A Healthy Hunger

To add to your great advice- connecting others is also a good thing. If I can connect person A to person B, I would connect with both of them.

And even if there is no immediate exchange, it always comes back to me sooner or later, and often better.

One point tho- think it’s funny that at the end of the video you ask for a direct want. But the humor in “like me up!” And of course the free advice, gives you the green light to do that. Made me chuckle tho.

Marsha Shandur

Loved this video! And LOVED the card-in-mouth story – that’s just *astonishing! What did he think you were, a mailbox?!

I used to cower in the corner at networking events, because I thought that networking meant going up to the most important person in the room, telling him his shoes looked amazing, telling him I could make him loads of money, then sliding him my business card.

Years later, I now define networking as “talking to nice people, that you get on with, about things you both enjoy talking about”. That’s a way you can build the lasting relationships you talk about above!

I’m now on the course to making it my business to teach people this!
And I’m enrolled in Blog That Converts to help me do it. Into week one and LOVING it so far, thank you!



You hit the nails on their head or how do you say this in English. πŸ™‚
It’s true; one must invest descent time in the prospect, knowing what their pains are.. And if you find one and you have a solution, only then you can start to “exchange” (not sell)..
Best regs, Daan from Belgium
ps.. your podcasts are top material.. keep on the good work

Kim Forman

Thanks for the great advice, Derek. Your videos are always informative and personable. I appreciate what you do.

Sara Nicole Clark

I was in a social media conference all dress business professional and they had us do an activity which involved throwing balls or yarn. I had to get up and leave the room to take an emergency call… (Any females know 5 inch heels do not mix well with obstacle courses) as I was leaving I tripped and jumped back up to act like nothing had happened. Of course everyone saw it happen and applauded me. I though for sure everyone was going to doubt my business abilities since I couldn’t even walk in heels and at the end of the conference everyone was networking I ended up getting everyone’s business cards and a ton of leads! Now pray they go somewhere! (This happened two days ago)

    Marsha Shandur

    Sara, this story RULES! Way to make lemonade out of lemons!


Thanks for the specific example of how we can offer to help someone. Useful!


Awesome, Derek, this is great advice and perfect timing: I’m heading off to a monthly meetup of designers (I’m a new member albeit a copywriter; I go with my designer buddy). Figured this is a great way to get to know people over the long run, naturally, and learn tons of new things to help my clients. So my eyes and ears will be open for opportunities to lend a hand!

Have a great afternoon, Derek!



I’m still so confused about the card in the mouth. Did you see it coming and try to swat it away? Did he have to aim the card between your lips? Did he say anything when you inevitably asked him what on the good green earth he was doing and why he thought it would be okay?

Jeez, what a psycho. I’m highly introverted so it can be tough for me to initiate networking, but once I’ve been talking to someone for a few minutes things usually flow a bit easier.

I’ve contacted a few “hard to reach” people via LinkedIn before and gotten responses, sometimes even if I don’t have much to offer. Being polite goes a long way. I’ve actually had a company recruiter pass my resume directly on to a hiring manager because I showed some initiative and mentioned that I understood he was busy. So many people sound really entitled in their emails, like the person they’re writing owes them… which is definitely not the case! As Derek mentioned, you need to offer something in return, even if it’s simply respect and gratitude for their time.

Ekaterina Ramirez

Another quick thought. A great way to build a solid network is when you stand out in your field. In this case you don’t chase people. They come to you.

For example, last year I decided to write articles for a website that covered all local networking events – it’s been the best thing I’ve done for my networking in the city. A little leverage but made a big difference for me.


great email. I don’t mind helping people, I love it actually, but so often it starts to feel like everyone wants a piece of me. great advice!! will share this video. (btw I also don’t like when people offer to send free product for a review. because it’s not really a gift to me, like they try to sell it, they’re just looking for free publicity)


I love the transcribing example, something anyone could have done, really cool.

I see this happen a lot outside if the business realm, I have thosands of people I didn’t really know as friends on FB. I read a ton of non-fiction and so I can recommend a book from someone’s status update that may be of interest to them. I’ve had a bunch of lunches and now real life friends that started by a book recommendation.


I wondered what happened to you after American Idol!

    Derek Halpern

    Thats the first time I’ve heard that.

Ekaterina Ramirez

That guy is creative! Good for him!

Yup, networking is like that. Giving, giving and giving. I noticed how people’s reaction changes when you do something for them first. They open up and then ask what they can do for you.

I personally never throw out cards and try not to judge by how they behave because often they are great people who just don’t know how to approach others. Why not to take a second just to point out that what they do sucks? =)

Felicity Fields

I went to 1, and only 1, networking event with the local chamber of commerce. It was completely alienating – you didn’t have to converse, you just had to hand people your business card. As if a piece of finely-designed cardboard could replace a real conversation with someone.

Thanks for the great post, Derek!


    Interesting. I was invited by a business acquaintance to a CO Cevent in another city 50 miles away. He suggested I offer my services (free of charge) to provide chair massage to the attendees, and provided contact info for the man sponsoring the event. I sent an email (at his suggestion) and bcc’d him. First I got a nasty email back from him telling me my email had typos (it did not). When I responded with a friendly “oh wow not sure how that happened but I’ll check.” I got an even nastier email back. I also got a very rude rejection from the sponsor of the event, claiming that his “committee” didn’t think there would be enough space. I provided chair massages for the first guy at small seminar, and knew I did not need a lot of space plus it was very well received. People offered to pay me even though I told them it was free. Then I got a third email from my aquaintance saying oh well, sorry they rejected you but you can still come with me. Oh but I’ll dump you as soon we get there since I need to mingle with the others. Needless to say I never responded to him and did not go to the event. Now I’m glad with the decision I made.

    Derek really enjoy your videos. Always great advice (especially the one awhile back with the example of the massage therapist).

    Ekaterina Ramirez

    Chambers of commerce are like that. I’ve been to one just to check out – it’s deadly.

Fernando Zorrilla

Awesome tips as always.

I can’t keep thinking about the mouth-card and how easily could be reappraised in a positive experience if the owner wanted ,since there are two forces involved: you couldn’t forget it and also you are making an effort to forget suppress his name. Agreed that putting a card in the mouth is too aggressive but he attempted to be original. With some brainstorming sure we’ll come up with something better!

Version 2.0 should be some business card which makes some sort of engagement, like a puzzle, game or you name it. Or at least with a potato or chocolate taste…! πŸ™‚



I was just venting about this exact topic this week!

I’ve had so many people connect to me on LinkedIn, or someone that I just met, email me and immediately ask me to do something for them.

Whether it’s to read and review their book, take a look at their website & give them feedback, or help them get into the dating industry.

It’s such a turn off and it’s really annoying. I just hit delete!

Thanks for the great content, as always! πŸ™‚

Karen Westbye

I had a great laugh with this one, but you are totally right. You got me. I am social by nature, but I get somewhat that same feeling during these settings. I am a publicist so I probably should not complain (though gone social media). Have a great day!

Brandon Turner | BiggerPockets

Great video Derek. You know – I wonder if the guy who put the business card in your mouth was just trying to “shock” you into being remembered or something. I suppose there are good ways and bad ways to do it … and then there are really creepy ways like that. πŸ™‚

I love your story about the person trading access to your course for help transcribing the videos. I wish more people worked on the “barter system” today, but I don’t think many people think outside the box like that. Do you know what ever happened to that person? It seems to me that the kind of person who would do that is also the kind of person who would really succeed in this business.

Take care Derek!


Great video; actually the first one I’ve ever watched and it was worth every min!


Love your enthusiasm and advice Derek.

I agree most networking sucks. People handing out cards and just talking about themselves and never really connecting, but this is what we’ve all been told to do and I must admit I’ve been part of the problem. While I have changed and offered help after learning about someone, I’ve never been specific.

Thanks for clearing the way for making better, longer lasting relationships. You’re the best!

Dee R

Excellent advice as ALWAYS!

Abraham Arango

One time I was having lunch at a table where 4 other indian girls were sitting that I had never met before. They were having their conversations and I would try to join it but they would just ignore what I would say and keep talking. This happened like 3 or 4 times. I’m still not sure why they did that.

I decided to change my tactic to join their conversation. Instead of trying to give verbal messages I decided to give out strong male dominant body language messages.

I sat leaning back very relaxed on my chair with my arms stretched out resting on top of the backs of the chairs next to mine. I extended my legs. I would simply listen to their conversations giving very direct confident eye contact to the 4 indian girls as they spoke.

After like 5 minutes of doing this I noticed that they started avoiding eye contact. One of them even put her hand in front of her face when she would talk.

I realized I needed to start talking once more because I had stablished myself subconciously as one with a powerful look. If I didn’t start talking it was going to become creepy for me to give them so much eye contact without talking.

So I once again started talking, this time they all stay quiet while I talked. It was crazy!

By the end, I was leading and directing the conversation. I also had all 4 indian girls laughing and asking personal information about myself. It was crazy!

It’s amazing what body language can do!

Willie Prevolt Jr.

How is going Derek,

I have to say I have never thought about this approach, I have always used “The Infusion Framework” approach.

If I wanted to get someones attention and build a relationship with them I would do my best sell a ton of their products and services to get on their rader.

I have to say I really like this approach too, I will be combining the two for now on.

Thanks Derek.


Halpernicus lookin fit!

Andrew Ross Long (@DrewRLong)

Hey Derek,

I love, love, love that you used the word ‘borked’ in your email.

I thought I was the only one who used this word.

Another wisdom drop, high value, no doubt.

Keep up the good work man.

Rob - @formerfatguy

When I worked with Peak Potentials, we had a volunteer who volunteered just so he could make connections with our students and hand out business cards

However… He put the business cards on top of every urinal before breaks. There might be a spelling error in this comment. Your slide out bottom of page hover thing for next article is on top of the comment entry area a I type on my phone. I’m typing blind

Dr. Letitia Wright

So true. I once had someone ask for a job and then tell me they had no production experience. I was really shocked. This is so great!

Keith Lee

For the context of the story, I’m a lawyer.

Last week I attended a panel at a convention unrelated to law. I went because I knew one of the organizers of the panel and I like to support my friends. I sit on the front row because I want to make sure I get everything. Towards the end of the panel, the panelists shifted to Q&A from the audience. During this time legal topics started to come up. The panelists were unsure of how to answer. My friend, the organizer, comes up to the mic, says “that guy right there is a lawyer, I think he has experience on those issues.”

So I stand up and address the question. I end up answering 2-3 more questions as the Q&A goes on. After it was done, about a dozen people from the audience came up to me asking questions, wanting my card. Not anticipating the need for cards, I ran out after the first few people! Everyone ended up just writing my information down on notebooks or putting it into their mobile.

Natural networking at its best. I went to be supportive of someone else, and it in turn, benefited me. As the saying goes: “invest in your community, and your community will invest in you.”


Hi Derek,

for sure, to stuck it in your mouth is a big #fail

to be honest, if I were to meet you, and this is quite possible soon, I think I would be intimidated, lol!

Would I dare to say “Hey, Derek My Maaaan!”, or “Oh, Mr Social Triggers, what an honor to meet you”, or to say again that my 6 yo son doing his facepalm gesture reminds me you in your videos?

Even I’m usually quite at ease to meet people (not to network, but to “make friends”), you are The Man, Derek, so I would maybe wait a mutual friend to introduce me to you!

Talk to you soon πŸ˜‰

Jadah Sellner

Derek, this video is great! And I’m lovin’ the v-neck with the alligator. πŸ™‚

I use the strategy you discuss in the video and it’s really helpful. I’ve been able to tap into building a Instagram following (over 140,000 followers) that actually converts and helped me build my email subscribers to over 65,000 now (started my blog in Nov. 2012). I talked to a few successful online marketers at a conference, and I would share my Instagram strategies with them. I would have them pull out their phone and give them a consultation right on the spot on a few tweaks they could make to engage their audience. Business card exchanges would happen way later, and they would ask me for my card instead of the other way around.

There is no better feeling than providing value and being of service first.

Where I struggle is the initial hello. I’m an introvert and I get shy. Whether at a conference or sending an email to someone’s email inbox. I know people have a high volume of emails, and I want to know what some great first impression email subjects would be or how to dive into a conversation at a conference– without out felling awkward and like you just crashed the party.

    Marsha Shandur

    Hey Jadah!

    I totally feel you on stalling at the initial hello!
    As far as sending emails, I would suggest a subject line that is intriguing and compels people to open it.
    As for talking to people at conferences, the thing that I’ve learnt, is that 90% of people there feel the same way as you, and are SO relieved if you go up to them and make the first move. All you have to say is, “hello, who are you?” and ask them some questions about themselves. Another easy in is, “What did you think of that last session?”.
    If it helps, I just wrote a blog post on this very subject!

    Well done on the roaring success with your Instagram, and on helping your future self by adding immediate value!


Kelly Eckert

Awesome suggestions, Derek!

I got this image of calling up someone to ask them on a first date. “Hey, would you take me out and buy me dinner” isn’t going to get the same response as, “Hey, may I take you out and buy you dinner?” πŸ˜‰

I love your reminder to put the relationship first.

    Derek Halpern

    That sounds like something I would say, ha ha.


I fortunately do not have any nightmare stories but certainly attended MANY lackluster events that made hate going to networking events for a hot second. BUT the best networking experience I had was actually at your meet-up in NYC months ago. And no I’m not trying to kiss ass πŸ™‚ It was a free event, nothing was being sold. Met so many great people that I have a great relationship with now. It was a success in my opinion because it wasn’t about “promotions”. It was more of a hangout in a real swanky cool kind of a place. Cool conversations and interesting people with interesting stories – great business friendships/relationships were created that night. At the end of the night, yes business cards were handed out and they actually came in handy.

    Derek Halpern

    I’m going to host another one real soon.


Yeah, this one time I was networking at Social Media Marketing World and this lunatic named Derek told me a story about this disturbing club he went to the night before. I haven’t been right ever since.

Jeff Goins

What did it taste like?

    Derek Halpern


Seth Ellsworth

Ha! Reminds me of the time where another man stuck his hand down the back pocket of my jeans to leave a business card. I burned it haha

Great video. Service goes a long way. The best relationships I have were always built that way.

    Derek Halpern

    Burned it? Intense.

    Nothing makes me happier than going to the bathroom at a conference and seeing a business card in the urinal.

    Whoever handed that card out obviously did it wrong.


You should share ur psychology for your gym routine. Huge difference from your first videos. Keep up the good work my man

John Shea

That’s crazy Derek. I have been once taken to an MLM hotel party having NO CLUE what I was getting dressed up for only to realize I was being dragged into a sales pitch with a group of people trying to convince me how great this company was. The presenter called me out during the meeting because he could tell from the expression on my face how unhappy I was that I was deceived into coming to a meeting I knew nothing about. It’s all in who you learn and surround yourself with, I’m working on an article about a similar topic.


    John, that was very crappy of the person who did that; they obviously don’t know how to invite people to look at a biz opp. That’s how this great profession gets a bad name. Great post!

Joanne @ Fifteen Spatulas

Great tips Derek! I’m always shocked by emails from complete cold contacts asking you for something, especially when they don’t even use your name (major pet peeve, and instant delete). I agree that people should try to make true friends within their industry by supporting each other, and forming their own “tribe.”

    Derek Halpern


    I don’t get miffed about the name thing. But at least do SOME research. Don’t ask me to do something you know I’ve never done before — like sell ads on my site.

    Do you know how many people ask me to buy ads on ST? heh.


I can’t believe this guy really did that .. for real??? He must of been on something ….

Thank you for this .. the point in all this is that its more fun to be nice to people and actually treat them like people …

Thanks Derek .. I’ve always found you treat us like people …

    Derek Halpern

    Yea, what’s funny is, he went on to say I was rude. HA


Great advice!!! Without watching this video I was doing the same with the difference that I am a product person so I give products to people I want to do networking…and yes it works!


    Hi Agustina ,
    Can u give me some more advices about network marketing??

    Thank you

    Derek Halpern

    You should be careful with randomly handing people products for free though. Sometimes it can be just as annoying. But I’m sure you’re doing it the right way!


      OK. I’m curious.

      What do you feel is the right way?

      I’m a product person too and I hesitate to give out free products for this very reason. I usually try to find other ways I can offer something even if they aren’t directly related to my business. But if there is a great example of the right way… I’d like to know!

        Derek Halpern

        The right way is to talk about what you do, and make them ASK for the product. Then hand it to them. πŸ™‚

          Ibukun Onitiju

          Derek nailed that question with that response because

          1.) It doesn’t tone down on what you do by hiding it and instead systematically build rapport, which may be a total waste of time at the end of the day.

          2.) It boldly suggests you talk about what you do (people warm towards confident people) and give them a chance to respond to you. (And if they don’t, great, not more time and energy wasted).

          3.) However, listening is a great point too. Listen, Listen, Listen, and confidently ensure your response (or time to talk) is gives them an option of a solution.

          Great conversation here..

          Thanks Derek

        Avromy Segal

        I know you asked Derek but if it’s ok I will share with you my experience, being that I have thrown up over people for years giving out free product to people that don’t want any. What happens is they usually end up throwing it away so not only didn’t you make a new connection you threw money in the garbage.

        I stopped being a product person and started being a people person. I don’t carry samples with me and i barely ever hand out business cards. What i do instead is just ask questions and build rapport. By listening to someone and showing interest you’re actually giving them a lot more value then a sample of some product they dont even want.

        I have a friends first policy and once I establish that connection i determine a need. If my product or service can be beneficial i position it as a solution and if not i make an introduction to someone who can help them.

        Hope that helps.


          Thanks Avromy!

          Really anyone could answer this, but I think I feel as you do. It’s best to be a people person and make a real connection without the pressure.

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