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10 Tips From Marc Ecko For Real-World Social Networking

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Not digital, but real-world social networking. If your goal is to grow your personal brand into a public persona, the subtle, mysterious stranger approach is most often not going to cut it. There are only so many people that can pull off the J. D. Salinger route of becoming famous for not being seen. The easier (though more painful) route is to hire a publicist—more explicitly, hire yourself—and will yourself to want to impress the red-carpeted world of celebrities, CEOs, and Twitter famous.

I can’t hold your hand at the events, but here are ten tips for surviving them:

The following 10 tips are an excerpt from Unlabel: Selling You Without Selling Out. Order your copy today!

 

Analog Social Networking 101

 

1. Value Quality over Quantity

Your publicist will give you a social calendar that’s jammed with events, insisting that you “need to be” at all of them. This is false. Separate the “need to attends” from the “nice to attends,” and this will serve you better in the long run. Chasing the second tier of events will exhaust you and overexpose you, and you’ll burn out faster than yesterday’s news.

 

2. Don’t Overtly Parrot

Most of the management books tell you to parrot the person you’re trying to impress, suggesting that you nod when she nods, touch your left nostril when she touches her left nostril, and then if she says, “I love Lady Gaga!” you say, “Oh my God, I love Lady Gaga too!!!!” The world does not need more parroting, and it’s okay to not love Lady Gaga.

 

3. Use Mints

If, at any point in the day, your mouth has been open and if you’ve consumed food, chances are that your breath stinks. Do yourself a favor and freshen up your face.

 

4. Don’t Name-Drop

It’s transparent and obnoxious. When I met George Lucas, even though at heart I was a starstruck fan boy, I would never say, “I saw Harrison Ford last week!” or “I just played golf with Steven Spielberg!” Lame. If you do want to slip in a name, it’s better to use a name that’s more mundane, more grounded, like the celebrity’s lawyer or dentist that you might happen to know.

 

5. Never Ask for a Card

You can (and should) give out your business card, but never ask for one in return. If people want to give you a card, they’ll give you their god-damn card.

 

6. Respect the Handler

The notable might have a handler (assistant, publicist, manager, associate) standing with him or her at the party. When you meet the notable, also introduce yourself to the sidekick, and when you give the notable a card, give the sidekick a card too. Treat handlers with respect. Not only is this the right thing to do, but this could be the hand of the king—and they’ll later whisper into the 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 a touchdown, he would casually toss 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 every celebrity and shake every hand. If you are conducting and managing your personal brand well, part of your brand will be to spend more time in this mildly toxic environment. You’ll be at these events again in the future, so let things happen more organically.

 

9. It’s Not About Being a “Closer”

Lower your expectations about imagining that you may magically seal any deals. These events aren’t the right forum for giving someone the hard sell, for overt pitching, or to become someone’s best friend.

 

10. Know That They’re Working Too

Even famous people don’t like getting dressed up and making a fuss about how they look. Even if they have a giant dick or won the Most Beautiful Woman in the World award, the chances are that they still had anxiety about getting dressed up and going to this event. It’s work for them too. Take comfort in this.

 

Marc Ecko Picture Quote

Marc Ecko is the founder of Ecko Unlimited, a brand that extends to 5,000 stores in eighty countries. He is also the owner of Complex Media, a network of fifty websites featuring content on music, style, sports, and pop culture. Ecko’s first book Unlabel: Selling You Without Selling Out, available October 1st, is a visual blueprint that will teach you how to grow both creatively and commercially by testing your personal brand against the principles of Marc’s Authenticity Formula. 

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6 Comments

6 Comments

  1. marie-anne lutchmaya

    Apr 30, 2016 at 7:39 am

    All your comments are so grounded and overflowing with commonsense – however, number 7 is the best because it shoots you into hard reality which then presumably launches you into a successful orbit. Nobody would respect a tottering swaying individual who can’t respect his alcohol limit – sometimes, even one glass can spell disaster for certain people. Thank you Marc for your precious insight into how the real world thinks and eventually reacts.

  2. Rachel

    Oct 4, 2013 at 9:59 am

    I agree with point #5 . Sure, we need to look for card than never, but that is about the timing, place, and person. When people wish to connect with you, they will ask for your business card. Then, we’ll exchange for each. So, this must a great chance. Even, you’re not bring your card too, they will ask for your contacting number. And the business is dealing well & successful. I mean ‘sense’ is very important with whom you’re gonna be a business partner.

  3. KenCook

    Oct 2, 2013 at 4:49 pm

    With you on every point except #5. There is a time and a place to ask for a card and “never” excludes that time. If I truly want to connect with the person then I ask for a card, or I ask for the best way to connect with them which queues them to hand me a card. I do this, however, only after establishing a mutual need or desire for continued engagement. On the flip I am never offended when someone asks for a card; cards are cheap, spurned contacts are expensive.

    Your #1 and #9 are crucial. Great primer for the rookie and re-hash for the pro. We, too often, forget to revisit the basics.

  4. LaTra Chivon

    Oct 2, 2013 at 2:47 pm

    I really liked his quote at the end! I’ve too fallen to that level of relying on others, and have recently realized that I have to be the face of my own brand and take things head on.

    Interested in his book now.

  5. kennboy1

    Oct 2, 2013 at 8:25 am

    Good stuff. Marc Ecko has an amazing story and rise, and he is very intact with Urban culture and lifestyle.

  6. Ronald

    Oct 1, 2013 at 4:07 pm

    Well timed! I was actually heading to a “networking” event later tonight.

    Thanks!

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