8 Ways To Inspire The Next Generation (Even If You Don’t Have It All Figured Out Yet)

It takes a village.

Every child’s future is our future, whether you’re related to them or directed invested in their little lives or not.

Those kids are our future leaders, entrepreneurs and change makers who will create our world of tomorrow. We don’t need more mindlessly working zombies… We need leaders who can inspire with vision and that all starts before they’re five years old.

Most kids start out with this incredible child-like wonder and as they get older, the world kills their ambition, hope and creativity one teeny tiny bit at a time.

Break that process.

Sometimes, all a kid needs is an opportunity.

… Sometimes, they just need someone to inspire them.

I had the chance to talk to about 20 high school seniors at Atlantic High School in Delray Beach, FL for a program called Suits for Seniors.

Suits for Seniors is an 8-week program for underprivileged seniors to learn, grow and develop. Throughout the eight weeks, they have different speakers come in to talk to them about leadership, goal planning, financial literacy and even emotional intelligence and at the end of the 8 weeks, they have a suiting ceremony where each participant gets a tailor, fitted suit.

I spoke to another group of Suits for Seniors last year about the importance of contributing value before you get to ask for anything in return and we went through the various ways to contribute more value.

This time around, I wanted to focus on making sure that their focus was on finding their purpose, building a vision leading a life of fulfillment and I even recorded it so that you can watch.

This is my favorite workshop to do in the entire world.

I’ve done a simplified version of this workshop for high school students (seen below) and in-depth workshop for young professionals who are already in their careers and are looking for direction and experienced professionals who are successful from the outside but lack fulfillment (professionals that aren’t considered young anymore). Because this workshop can be adapted to every audience, I’ve been blessed to receive incredible feedback.

The beautiful thing about this workshop is that it can be tailored to any audience and receives a ton of value.

What I love most about it is that I always get emails, texts, and Facebook messages after about how much clarity and direction it gave them.

Since the beginning of mankind, we’ve spent our time teaching our children what we’ve learned… and that’s how society has progressed.

We are failing our children because we don’t spend time teaching them what we’ve learned. We trust schools to teach them the things that only experience can…. and we are the ones with that experience.

More than anything, spending time with kids has been rewarding in itself, but I never expected to grow so much in the process.

Just because you’re a young professional and don’t have it all figured out yet doesn’t mean that you don’t have anything to teach kids… They want to know what you know and they can’t wait to be young professionals.

Your advice means more to them than the advice from a 40 year old… After all, when you’re 13, anyone over 30 is like 70 and they want to hear from you, not from old people.

Here are six ways that you can contribute back to the next generation….

 

1. Be A Mentor

You know all of those times when you’re like, “if only someone had told me…”

Be the person to tell that thing to the next generation.

Our society will only flourish if we build upon each other, rather than going through a continuous cycle of trial and error.

There’s absolutely no faster way to help the next generation grow and develop than to help them through their struggles.

You can mentor someone that you know personally or you can get involved in an organization like Big Brothers, Big Sisters or Take Stock In Children.

The best mentors ask a ton of questions and help their mentees discover the answers for themselves. I wrote a whole article about how I learned that the hard way and how to engage in powerful conversations.

 

2. Find An Organization to Speak For

I’m addicted to speaking… Especially for kids and young professionals. I get a natural high off of it.

The things that come easily to you, teach the next generation.

You don’t have to be a professional speaker to inspire and you don’t have to be an expert to educate.

Wherever you are in your life right now, there’s a kid somewhere that wants to be where you are.

My three favorite parts of speaking are sharing stories or examples to help them understand, make it concrete and actionable and make it interactive.

If you can do those three things, those kids will admire you forever.

 

3. Read To (Or With) Them.

Reading is dying and that is terrifying.

We need to bring it back ASAP.

Every problem that we’ve ever faced has been faced and solved by someone else before us.

… and the crazy part is that it’s all documented in writing, in a book.

You know those idols of yours that you want to sit down with and pick their brains?

You can literally get into their head by picking up a book.

I wrote a whole article about how reading is the cheat code to life and how it can cut your learning curve on any subject in half.

 

4. Take Them For Ice Cream and Listen To Them.

Instead of trying to shove knowledge down their throats, let them talk to you.

Get to know what they’re passionate about and encourage them to pursue those passions.

Your simple encouragement can ignite a purpose within them that turns them into the next Elon Musk.

In the process, you’ll learn to appreciate the world through a child’s eyes and fall in love with the simple things again.

Their wonder is incredible…

There’s no such thing as “no” to them, it’s simply “not yet”.

When you see the world through their eyes, your mind opens up to an infinite number of possibilities.

 

5. Share A Video Or Podcast That Inspired You

If you watch podcasts, inspiational videos or spend any time in self-development, share what you’ve learned and share the experience.

It literally takes five miutes to reach out to someone who looks up to you and share something that you recently learned. The fact that you want to share it with them means more to them than anything on the face of the planet.

Most of the values that kids have come from interactions like this where you’re sharing what you’ve learned and then talking to them about it. What better way to start a conversation than to show them something that will set their imagination ablaze?

Seriously, go watch a TED talk, share it with them and ask them about their thoughts on it.

 

6. Coach A Kid’s Sports Team

For the last three years, I coached cheerleading. I started at the YMCA and then ended up coaching at the gym that I used to compete at.

We’re not talking about go-team-go cheerleading, we’re talking about all-star cheerleading and developing athletes.

The most amazing part of coaching to me was how much I saw myself grow while I thought my job was to grow them.

The four hours a week that I spent at the gym taught me patience, how to appreciate the process rather than being so stuck on the result, how to refine my messaging to make it simpler and how to enjoy myself through the journey.

In the process, I got to teach them about leadership, team work, work ethic, dominating fear and mental toughness.

It’s been the most incredibly rewarding experience I could’ve ever asked for and even if you coach a recreational team that practices once a week, you’re developing the future generation.

 

7. Start An Organization

If you’re brave, have the resourcefulness and are willing to take some seriously massive action, start your own organization.

Generally, the best organizations are started because of a specific passion.

Maybe you’re passionate about art and want to raise the next generation of painters, or maybe you’re passionate about entrepreneurship and want to teach kids how to start businesses… Even an hour or two a week can make a HUGE difference in these kids lives.

Starting an organization is incredibly exhausting and time consuming, yet it’s probably the single most fulfilling thing you can possibly do with your time.

 

8. Donate.

If you really, really don’t have the time, make a donation.

The best investment you will ever make is in yourself… The second best is in the future generation.

Every dollar that’s spent on education gives a $30 return… Where else are you going to get an ROI like that?!

Your time will always mean more than your money, but if you’re in a position where you just can’t give up your time, your money will be put to good use.

“I’m too busy” isn’t an excuse for not developing our youth.

At the end of the day, if we don’t invest in our youth now (whether that investment is time and/or money), the future is going to be a much scarier place to live.
As a young professional, you need to be giving back to the next generation. They want to hear from you (even if you don't have it all figured out yet). Our future depends on us sharing our experiences with them so kids can become better leaders, people and visionaries.

7 Ways My Epic Failure Made Me A Better Leader

Remember when we were in high school and your teacher would assign you a group project and everyone would go ‘ughhhh?’

… and then while you’re doing the project, you’re like ‘this project would be so much easier if I didn’t have to deal with the people’?

Now imagine doing that all day, every day… As a career where your success is determined by your ability to lead the group?

Yup.

Leadership is freaking hard.

 

My Challenge With Leadership

Personal growth is the craziest thing ever because you usually don’t even know where you’re lacking until you are either called out on it or learn the lesson the hard way….

I learned that I was being a TERRIBLE leader the hard way by being called out on it.

By nature, I have a driver personality. That means I’m driven by results, I don’t need a whole lot of lovin’ to get to work and I’m a loner by nature.

Learning about personality styles has been a game. changer. for me and I highly recommend that you invest some time to learn about them too.

I lead with a task focus but can also get people excited…. My challenge was always KEEPING them motivated.

After a powerful pep talk, my natural tendency is to leave them be and to let them get to work and then to swoop back in for results.

I want to finish whatever we’re working on before we get to the friendly stuff.

Turns out, that crashes and burns every time and I’ve even been called a dictator for it. Ouch.

My parents both have strong driver personalities too, so it never occurred to me that I was being too harsh… That’s just our personalities. Gentle isn’t exactly in our nature.
7 Ways My Epic Failure Made Me A Better Leader

My Epic Leadership Failure

At the risk of sounding like the worst person ever, I had a falling out with our entire leadership board for this very organization in June of 2015 because I wanted to switch directions to focus on self-development (which is what I created the group to be from the beginning) and they wanted to continue doing social events.

It was a NASTY blow out, to the point that some of them won’t talk to me and it almost made me quit running this group.

It was so bad that I actually cried myself to sleep that night (actually kinda embarrassed to share that).

I’ve never been in a leadership position for ego purposes or because I wanted power (even though, looking back, they probably thought I was)… My heart was always in the right place and I genuinely wanted to make a difference, just my approach was ALL. WRONG.

Looking back, I realize that I was definitely dictating instead of empowering and I wasn’t clear about the direction of the organization from the beginning and so everyone had their own ideas of where it should go…. HUGE mistake.

After that blow out, I was literally afraid to step into a leadership role again and started questioning every single thing about myself.

I even almost shut down this group (which at the time was just a Meetup group).

I realized that I couldn’t just give up and that I had to keep pushing forward because my vision was bigger than my fears and if that was a weakness, I had to make it a strength.

It’s something I’ve worked really, really, really, really, really, really hard at over the past two years.

When I say I’ve worked at it really hard, I mean like I’ve read dozens of books on leadership and emotional intelligence, attended workshops and trainings and done HOURS of meditation and self-reflection to get better at it.

 

Overcoming The Failure

If you were ask our members now if they’d call me a dictator, they’ll tell you otherwise. Here’s what one of our members actually said (I was collecting testimonials for an course I was putting together and this is what she said)…

“You put all of us before you because you’re so selfless — to you, our success is your success. Thank you for being a role model — You are a role model to everyone around you. You do more than chase dreams and achieve them like other people do — you create them and then help others achieve theirs. Thank you for being a leader. Thank you for being a friend and most importantly, thank you for being Alexa. I’m so honored to have met you and be part of your journey and thank you for being part of mine.

This testimonial is one of my proudest accomplishments ever because of how hard I’ve worked to get here.

How, you ask?

I did a TON of homework…

I read endless books on leadership, attended a ton of training and allowed myself to be vulnerable to those that I lead.

What was most effective though, was learning how to have powerful conversations with them that left them feeling empowered, rather than lectured like a child.

I didn’t have to change who I am, I just had to change my approach.

Instead of being a dictator, I needed to show my heart and focus on inspiring and empowering, rather than dictating.

I had to learn that being human and vulnerable was a strength, not a weakness. 

I’ve learned how to delegate without dictating, how to hold people accountable without making them feel bullied and how to be a more inspiring leader by putting them first.

Now don’t get me wrong… Our members will definitely still tell you that I’m a little crazy because of how detailed I am but the dictator side of me has been tamed.

It’s something I still work on now and am confident that I’ve definitely made progress.

 

So, here’s what I Have learned…

1. Your Number One Goal Is To Help Them Reach Their Individual Goals

So first things first, if people are going to put their trust in you as their leader, you have a responsibility to invest in them and their self-development

… and when you can help other people reach their goals, you’ll hit yours faster too.

That means that when you take someone under your wing, you need to spend time getting to know them and asking powerful questions to learn what drives them and what’s important to them.

When you lead, spend time getting know to what's important to your people. Click To Tweet

There’s a method of hiring people that starts with a conversation about goals.

Before you ever even talk about the position, get to know the person first. Learn about their past jobs, what their highs were, what their lows were, what they’ve learned.

When you invest time into them to make sure that you know them, they’ll invest more into you too and you’ll be able to lead them more effectively… Not to mention, you’ll be able to put them into opportunities that match their goals.

You’re not a great leader until you’ve created another leader who’s created another leader… so the more you can build them up to reach their goals, the more they’ll help you reach yours.

If you want to start having more powerful conversations, you can use the one on one conversations workbook that I’ve created and started using with those that I lead. It’s literally changed my life.

 

2. Having a One On One Relationship Will Fix Almost Anything

Your relationship with people is like an ATM.

If you’re constantly depositing into the bank (the relationship), if you make a withdrawal, it’s not a big deal… but if you don’t make those deposits and there’s no money in the bank, you’re going to be in big trouble.

If you're constantly depositing into your relationship bank, withdrawals aren't as big of a deal. Click To Tweet

The moral of the story here is that if you’re constantly pouring into people, if you say or do something that pisses them off or hurts them, they’re more likely to let you off the hook than if you hadn’t invested in your relationship with them.

So first things first, take the time to pour into your people. I don’t just mean by giving them compliments… but build them up.

Take the time to actually listen to them without getting distracted, show how much you appreciate them and make sure they know that you care… and every person needs to be cared for differently, which is why it’s so important to understand personality styles.

I learned about personality styles in college but I didn’t really study them until I started selling real estate. Because of my failures, I made it my personal mission to master the DISC personality profile so that I could better understand and relate to other people.

The more that I learn about the DISC, the more that I can accept people for who they are without getting frustrated with them and that has been incredibly helpful.

Last but DEFINITELY not least, make sure that you praise in public and critique in private.

If you’re leading a team, you need to be having one on one sessions with your team members. Even though it’s more efficient to only have group meetings, your one on one meetings will be infinitely more effective and you’ll be able to deepen your relationship with your team members which ultimately results in better performance… which leads me to #3.

 

3. You’re A Coach Above All Else.

First off, one of my biggest misconceptions about leadership is that I had to have all of the answers. Turns out, great leaders don’t have all the answers… They have all the great questions.

Your job as a leader is to empower your people to find the answers for themselves… Even if the training process takes longer than you’d like.

Think about it this way… If your team comes running to you for every little answer, they’re going to always run to you for an answer.

When you empower them to find the answer for themselves, you liberate them and they learn how to swim on their own without your help.

As I’m writing this post, I’m reading a book called The Coaching Habit which is part of the reason I decided to write this post in the first place… I’m only about halfway through it but I highly recommend it. It’s all about how to lead more effectively by asking better questions.

One of the biggest things I’ve learned in the book so far has been to stop asking loaded questions that are really an answer within the question. Rather than “have you thought about…?” or “have you tried…?”, here are some of my favorite questions that I’ve been asking more often are…

“What have you tried so far?”

“What are your options?”

“How do you feel about that?”

“What’s important to you about that”

“What’s the real issue here?”

“… and what else?”

Man oh man… My whole world changed almost instantly when I stopped talking so much and started asking more questions.

My whole world changed when I stopped talking so much and started asking more questions. Click To Tweet

At the end of the day, questions are infinitely more powerful than statements — I just had to learn that the hard way.

At the end of the day, questions are infinitely more powerful than statements. Click To Tweet

All of these questions (and more) are laid out in the leadership conversation guide to help you make sure that you’re really building your people up and helping them get clarity on their goals and challenges.

 

4. Vulnerability Is POWERFUL.

My mom was a single mom who did VERY well for herself.

She’s one of those crazy women that could do 25 things at once… Make dinner, run a conference call, get me to gymnastics and negotiate a multimillion dollar deal… All at the same time.

This is literally her:

She LOVES her children to the end of the universe and back.

However, when you grow up with supermom, you start to idolize strong, independent and overly capable. It toughens you up a little bit because you realize if she can take over the world in one day, whatever you’re upset over can’t be that big of a deal.

Between my mom and my Romanian gymnastics coaches who believed in pushing you beyond your limits, vulnerable and gentle just weren’t a thing in my world.

I started to realize that by trying to be superwoman, my demeanor seemed unapproachable, heartless and cold… Even though that’s not the case at all… So I stopped trying to be a robot and stopped trying to be superwoman. I allowed myself the freedom to make mistakes…

The more that I opened up to become vulnerable with those that I lead, the more they were willing to step up, share and contribute.

So my best advice here is… don’t try to be a super hero or robot. Have feelings and show them. Let them know when you’re struggling with something, let them know when you’re excited and show them that you’re human.

They’ll love you for it.

Don't be a robot. Have feelings and show your team that you're human. Click To Tweet

 

6. Show Your Gratitude Until It’s Acknowledged.

Let me ask you… How do you feel when you go out of your way for someone and all you get is a “cool, thanks”?

You probably feel like you’re never going to do anything for that person again.

… But what happens when you do someone a favor that’s not even that big of a deal and they go way out of their way to show you how much you’re appreciated for it?
7 Ways My Epic Failure Made Me A Better Leader

You’re like ‘man… I’m going to do favors for you more often.’

As a matter of fact, I just thought about a conversation I recently had with one of our members… When I was working on putting this site together, I needed help with a bunch of little stuff and she’s a web designer.

So I was being annoying and asking her for help to fix those issues… Her response?

“You make me feel so appreciated I love it! I will always help you just for the self esteem boost”

How cool is that? What if you had more relationships where people were excited to help you? All you have to do is show them how much you appreciate them and don’t stop thanking them until they actually acknowledge it.

 

7. Don’t Take Back The Job That They Owned.

When you’re working on projects, let your team be part of the brainstorming process and let them own the parts they want to take responsibility for.

When they own it, it’s their baby and they will be a million times more excited to do it than when the big, bad boss gives them homework.
7 Ways My Epic Failure Made Me A Better Leader

When they’ve owned the project or task, your job isn’t supposed to take it back if they’re falling behind, it’s to hold them accountable.

If you are constantly taking back their tasks and projects, you might think that you’re making it easier on them when you’re treating them like children in timeout. They’ll slack off until you take the project back which leaves you overwhelmed and frustrated, and it leaves them disengaged and annoyed.

I went to a workshop last year that talked about the six accountability questions and it has completely changed my relationships. Rather than “have you done __ yet? Why not?”, the accountability questions work magic.

Here you go:

“What was your goal?”

“How did you do?”

“How do you feel about that?”

“Based on how you did, what is your goal now?”

“Is there anything that might keep you from doing that?”

“If you needed training or support to do this, what might it be?”

When you ask these questions during your accountability sessions, it allows them to take ownership of their answers and of the task or project.

By focusing on the fact that it’s their goal, they’re a million times more likely to step up to the plate to get it done because they own it.

You are there as a resource, not a parent or kindergarten teacher.

In closing, my epic failure of leadership has made me a better person, brought me more balance and pushed me to grow more than I ever could’ve imagined.

What doesn’t kill you does make you stronger, but I still hope you never have to have the same experience that I did.

With that in mind, I put together a free workbook to help you identify the areas of leadership that you might need to spend more time developing to maximize your leadership potential.

 

Let me know…

Tell me about what you think makes a great leader in the comments below.
How awesome would it be to walk onto a stage where people are ecstatic to hear from you and you have a constant outpouring of people who are raving about the changes you've helped them make in their lives? Becoming an inspiring leader isn't some crazy, abstract concept. It's super actionable. Click through to learn how!
During 2015, I had a falling out with my ENTIRE leadership team. This article outlines the 6 things that my epic failure taught me about being a great leader. During 2015, I had a falling out with my ENTIRE leadership team. This article outlines the 6 things that my epic failure taught me about being a great leader. During 2015, I had a falling out with my ENTIRE leadership team. This article outlines the 6 things that my epic failure taught me about being a great leader. During 2015, I had a falling out with my ENTIRE leadership team. This article outlines the 6 things that my epic failure taught me about being a great leader. During 2015, I had a falling out with my ENTIRE leadership team. This article outlines the 6 things that my epic failure taught me about being a great leader. During 2015, I had a falling out with my ENTIRE leadership team. This article outlines the 6 things that my epic failure taught me about being a great leader.

Get More Of What You Want By Understanding Personality Styles

You know when you’re spending a lot of time with someone and the “spark” turns that flame into grey, dull ash?

The little things that you didn’t even notice before start to drive you absolutely insane.

Chances are, that’s probably because your personality styles just aren’t compatible.

… And it’s not your fault.

Personality styles take a HUGE part in our compatibility with our significant others, families, friends and coworkers.

Personality styles take a HUGE part in our compatibility with our significant others, families, friends and coworkers. Click To Tweet

 

The Purpose of Personality Styles

Personality styles give you a general feel for how that person deals with situations, processes their feelings, handles problems and how they view the world.

Personality styles give you a general feel for how that person deals with situations, processes their feelings, handles problems and how they view the world. Click To Tweet

It’s sort of like understanding their values and making sure they align with yours.

So now, whenever someone comes into my life as a potential significant other, employee, team member,coworker or otherwise, I have them take the DISC.

I always tell them that it’s just for fun but I really want to see how compatible we actually are and if there are going to be any points that we’re going to have issues so I know ahead of time.

Before you get overwhelmed with all of the styles, I created a cheat sheet that breaks down the must-know characteristics of each personality style, teaches you what motivates them and how to communicate with them.

You can download it fo’ free right here:

 

What You Need To Know

Before we get into the nitty gritty details of each personality styles, I just want to make sure that we’re on the same page about a few things…

Whenever I talk about personality styles, a lot of people get defensive and say something like, “but I’m all four!”

… and you are absolutely right!

We all have varying degrees of each of the four styles… We generally lead with one of the styles in our relaxed state and then revert to another under pressure.

We generally lead with one of the styles in our relaxed state and then revert to another under pressure. Click To Tweet

That’s not to say you can’t have traits of the other two, they just aren’t your dominant style.

My natural state is a driver personality and under pressure I become an expressive… That means that by nature, I’m task driven and focused on results. Under pressure, I get more social, friendly and spontaneous.

There are four types of personality styles and we all fall into them differently.

There’s no such thing as a right or wrong, we’re all just a little different.

By the way, I am not saying that you can’t deal someone with a personality style that’s not naturally compatible with yours… You’re just going to have to work a little bit harder at understanding each other and being able to look past those incompatibilities.

It’s also rare to find two people with the same personality styles in a relationship or being able to work together… Generally, you’ll find that happy couples are the ones who’s personalities balance each other’s rather than being identical.

Lastly, we’re more than just our personality style.

We’re also driven by our basic needs and our core values, which you can check out right here:

But you’ve gotta start somewhere, and personality styles will give you a great foundation for understanding human behavior.

Let’s get started…

 

Personality Style Breakdown

D (Driver) Personality

Plain and simple, the driver personality is driven by results.

Plain and simple, the driver personality is driven by results. Click To Tweet

They’re competitive, like to win and they are usually direct and to the point. Emotions aren’t usually going to be a high on their list of things when they’re making decisions and they’ll generally have a strong and aggressive tone.

Some of the other personality styles assume that drivers don’t have feelings because of their intense nature, which totally isn’t true… Drivers just aren’t driven by their emotions.

Their deepest fear is to have their time wasted or to be taken advantage of and while this isn’t always cut and dry, you can generally spot a driver by the way they carry themselves.

The driver personality will talk fast and loud, be direct, forceful and will likely be dressed in solid colors (or small patterns) and sharp lines.

Relationship With Another Driver: Given the fact that drivers like to win, there will be a lot of competition in this relationship. Some of it will be fun and in good humor, while other situations will be straight up competition when they should be working together. Neither of them are driven by emotion and they likely won’t waste each other’s time. Both are decisive and like to win, so compromising may be a challenge in this relationship.

Relationship With An Expressive: It’s very common to see someone be an expressive by nature and a driver under pressure or vice versa so they will see a lot of similarities with each other. Both are dominant personalities. Where they differ is that the driver personality is the doer and the expressive is the dreamer. The driver may get frustrated with the expressive when they’re focused on a task at hand and the expressive wants to be spontaneous or when the expressive keeps dreaming but doesn’t take action. On the other hand, the expressive may get frustrated with the driver because they aren’t driven by emotion and don’t care to articulate how they feel.

Relationship With An Amiable: The Driver is tell-based and task-based, and the amiable is ask-based and people-based. These two communicate differently, look at life differently and will have a hard time being in rapport with each other. Generally, the driver gets impatient with the amiable and the amiable feels pressured and stressed in the presence of a driver.

Relationship With An Analytical: Both of these personality styles are task based so they’ll be able to understand each other. The driver is the doer and the analytical is the analyzer. The point of contention here will be how quickly things can get done. The driver will have to work on their patience with the analytical who needs to gather all of the information to make the best decision and won’t act under pressure.
The purpose of learning about the personality styles is so that you can be more versatile in dealing with them.

The purpose of learning about the personality styles is so that you can be more versatile in dealing with them. Click To Tweet

There’s a ton of info to remember here, so get the one-page cheat sheet right here:

 

I (Expressive) Personality

Expressives LOVE people and they’re the type you’d consider to be natural born salespeople and the life of the party.

Expressives LOVE people and they're the type you'd consider to be natural born salespeople and the life of the party. Click To Tweet

They’re fun, energetic, can get people together and get them motivated.

Yup, they can be impulsive, love the spotlight and are big dreamers…. And yes, they don’t always think their decisions all the way through so if you’re the person who needs to deal in facts, expressives are going to drive you up a wall.

They’re super passionate in their expression of their emotions so that means they’re going to love passionately… But you better watch out because they’ll also get upset passionately and feel anger deeply.

Their deepest fear is not being liked or being rejected.

You’ll know an expressive when you see one because the room will light up a little when they walk in.

You'll know an expressive when you see one because the room will light up a little when they walk in. Click To Tweet

Expressives are known to be loud and energetic, talk a lot and tend to dress a little more flashy.

Before you jump to conclusions and assume that anyone who talks a lot is an expressive, listen to what they’re talking about… If they’re talking about ideas, people, experiences or dreams, you’re right. However, if they’re talking about tasks and details, you’re probably talking to an analytical.

Relationship With A Driver: It’s very common to see someone be an expressive by nature and a driver under pressure or vice versa so they will see a lot of similarities with each other. Both are dominant personalities. Where they differ is that the driver personality is the doer and the expressive is the dreamer. The driver may get frustrated with the expressive when they’re focused on a task at hand and the expressive wants to be spontaneous or when the expressive keeps dreaming but doesn’t take action. On the other hand, the expressive may get frustrated with the driver because they aren’t driven by emotion and don’t care to articulate how they feel.

Relationship With Another Expressive: Both of the people in this relationship like to be in the spotlight. They both enjoy being the center of attention and will likely have tons of energy and passion together. The challenge that two expressives will have together is that they are both impulsive and tend to be dreamers so they have have issues based on the decisions that are made by their partner. When making decisions, they may do so on impulse without having considered all of the consequences of their decisions.

Relationship With An Amiable: It’s very common to see an amiable and an expressive together. The expressive brings the energy, the passion and the fire while the amiable brings the cool, calm and level-headed attitude. Together, they really do balance each other out. They are both people based and will likely maintain great relationships with their friends and families.

Relationship With An Analytical: Analyticals and expressive go together as well as…. peanut butter and tomato sauce. I hope your face cringed a little bit — that was the most incompatible relationship I could think of. Similarly to the driver/amiable relationship, these two are just SO different. The expressive is impulsive, energetic and social while the analytical is driven by cold, hard facts. Expressives will get frustrated with the fact that analyticals don’t allow them to dream and will question their abilities while analyticals will stress over the fact that their expressive partner is so unpredictable.

Get the cheat sheet right here:

 

S (Amiable) Personality

While the expressive loves everyone, everyone loves amiables.

They don’t care for the spotlight and instead prefer to have one on one relationships.

They don’t like confrontation and are service-oriented to avoid rocking the boat. Think peace and harmony… They’re level-headed and even tempered.

The amiable can also be indecisive because they don’t want to rock the boat with anyone because their deepest fear is not being liked.

Amiables will open up once they get to know you and trust is a HUGE thing for them… They’re a little harder to spot because they prefer to be the listeners and the thinkers than the talkers.

As for attire, they tend to dress in deeper colors and softer fabrics.

Oh, and just a heads up… They’re usually last to order at a restaurant!

If they’re hard to read, they’re probably an amiable.

If they're hard to read, they're probably an amiable. Click To Tweet

Relationship With A Driver: The Driver is tell-based and task-based, and the amiable is ask-based and people-based. These two communicate differently, look at life differently and will have a hard time being in rapport with each other. Generally, the driver gets impatient with the amiable and the amiable feels pressured and stressed in the presence of a driver.

Relationship With An Expressive: It’s very common to see an amiable and an expressive together. The expressive brings the energy, the passion and the fire while the amiable brings the cool, calm and level-headed attitude. Together, they really do balance each other out. They are both people based and will likely maintain great relationships with their friends and families.

Relationship With Another Amiable: Because of their relaxed, non-confrontational and people pleasing manner, two amiable together will feel comfortable because they’re able to be themselves without any pressure. That, however, is a blessing and a curse. When it comes time to make decisions, both are slow to decide and like to know what the other one is thinking… So things will move a bit slower in this relationship.

Relationship With An Analytical: It’s very common to see someone be an amiable in their relaxed state and an analytical under pressure. These two together will find a lot of commonalities between each other. The challenge that these two will face together is that they are slow to act and may find themselves missing opportunities because of it.

 

C (Analytical) Personality

The analytical personality is just that — analytical.

They take their time making decisions and like to know all of the information before they do anything because they’re driven by a fear of being wrong, which is why they need to analyze so much information and take so long to make decisions.

Analyticals tend to talk a lot but will focus on details, facts and specifics rather than people or ideas like the expressive.

Analyticals tend to talk a lot but will focus on details, facts and specifics rather than people or ideas like the expressive. Click To Tweet

When it comes to attire, they’ll be formal in their demeanor and will be perfectly dressed for the occasion (because they googled “what do I wear to [type of event]?”)

I also jokingly say that the analytical will never have bad credit because they’re so risk adverse.

Relationship With A Driver: Both of these personality styles are task based so they’ll be able to understand each other. The driver is the doer and the analytical is the analyzer. The point of contention here will be how quickly things can get done. The driver will have to work on their patience with the analytical who needs to gather all of the information to make the best decision and won’t act under pressure.

Relationship With An Expressive: Analyticals and expressive go together as well as…. peanut butter and tomato sauce. I hope your face cringed a little bit — that was the most incompatible relationship I could think of. Similarly to the driver/amiable relationship, these two are just SO different. The expressive is impulsive, energetic and social while the analytical is driven by cold, hard facts. Expressives will get frustrated with the fact that analyticals don’t allow them to dream and will question their abilities while analyticals will stress over the fact that their expressive partner is so unpredictable.

Relationship With An Amiable: It’s very common to see someone be an amiable in their relaxed state and an analytical under pressure. These two together will find a lot of commonalities between each other. The challenge that these two will face together is that they are slow to act and may find themselves missing opportunities because of it.

Relationship With An Analytical: Because of their detail-oriented nature, they’ll be comfortable knowing that their level of risk is lower than any of the other personality styles. In a relationship, they’ll be able to think everything through on their own time. The challenge here is that ‘paralysis by analysis’ is a real thing. With two analyticals, neither one of them will be the one to pull the trigger so opportunities will come and go before they’ve made a decision on it.
It’s a lot of information, I know… That’s why I’ve created this cheat sheet for you to help you keep track of each of the personality styles.

Go ahead and download it free right here:

4 Steps to Starting a Powerful Mastermind Group

As I think back on the last year, I am most grateful for the community of people around me…. Specifically, the mastermind group that I’ve been part of.

At any given time, I can pick up the phone and call at least a few dozen people and ask for their opinion or help — and I know that their opinions will come from a genuine, caring place.

There was a time that I was terrified of sharing my goals with anyone for fear of being judged. Through lots of self-development reading and events, I started to understand how important it was to share my ideas with and learn from other people.

When we really got focused on self-development with Millennial Empire Builders, it was amazing to see how many people felt the same way — they had goals that they were too afraid to share because they didn’t want to be judged for them. Through our regular meetings, we all started to open up and think bigger.

I’m not talking about surrounding yourself with a bunch of ‘yes men’.

You know what I’m talking about… The people who just agree with everything you say because they’re afraid of conflict and never give you any real insight.

While the yes men in your life might feed your ego and make your feel all warm and fuzzy, they’ll never push you to grow.

So today, I wanted to share a few tips for organizing your own mastermind group.

If you’re unfamiliar with the the idea of mastermind groups, simply put, they’re basically groups of people who get together to share ideas, push and inspire each other, and hold each other accountable.

 

1. Structure Your Mastermind Group

The first and most important part of a mastermind group is to determine a structure. Forget about the people right now — you need to decide how you want this mastermind group to run.

Once you have the foundation set, it’ll be a million times easier to get everyone else on board.

The more that you can make concrete for the group, the more people can envision what it will be like and why they need to be part of it. Don’t make them think too hard… Get the basics organized and if the group decides to change it later, that’s fine too.

In my experience, if you commit to running the mastermind group for a quarter, it’ll be easier to get other people to commit to it too and you’ll only need to come up with seven topics.

Each person in the group should be expected to lead one of the topics. It’s important to have an actual structure to your meetings — a designated start and end time and an agenda.

  • What type of mastermind will this be – Exchanging referrals, personal growth, accountability or all three?
  • How will you meet? – phone calls? Video chat? In person?
  • How often will you meet? – weekly, biweekly, monthly, quarterly?

 

2. Organize Your Topics

Decide on some topics that you want to discuss. Since you’re the one who’s putting this together, you get to be the visionary here.

If you select your topics before you select the people, you’ll get more value out of the mastermind group because you’ll know that you have the right people in place.
Earlier, we talked about how I always do 3-6 months for my mastermind groups.

Within each session, I like to have a theme. Our themes go along with our success series and monthly workshops.

We’re in our IMPACT series right now which is all about making a difference in the community, so all of the calls are about vision, leadership and time management in the context of being involved in the community.

Make sure that your topics have a logical order to them so that they build on top of each other. You don’t have to get all fancy because the participants will be the ones to take ownership of these, you just want to lay the foundation.

 

3. Find Your People

Next up, is finding the right people. Once you have a structure and topics, it’ll be easier to sell the idea to other people and they’ll see that you’re serious. I like to keep the masterminds around 6-8 people including me (I like even numbers because you can have accountability partners, which we’ll talk about in just a little bit).

Before you have your first meeting, you need to be really clear on what’s expected of them and how their lack of attendance affects the group.

You should also put an attendance policy in place at the beginning.

Don’t wait until someone has missed five sessions to try to kick them out… You’ll ruin the integrity of the group and the person will likely get defensive.

One of the best lessons I’ve ever learned is “if you tell them before it’s an explanation… If you tell them after, it’s an excuse.”

Make sure the standards are clear up front and hold everyone accountable to them — including you.

If you let one person off the hook, it becomes the new standard and everyone slacks off here and there.

I hate to be the bearer of bad news but your friends may not be the best people for you to invite to the group.

Just because you like them doesn’t mean they’re the right people.

Up to this point, we’ve spent some time thinking of topics and structure so if you know that your friend is wishy-washy, isn’t coachable, can’t contribute value on the topics you’ll be talking about or is at a lower level than everyone else in the group, it’s not going to work.

You should build an ‘avatar’ or make a list of qualities that you’re looking for in participants and invite people who fit that criteria.

If your list isn’t big enough, that’s perfectly ok. Start smaller and ask the people who do fit your criteria who else would be a good fit.

That will help you build your community and you’ll be maintaining a high standard for the group.

Never sacrifice your standards…. It never ends well.

When you work backwards, everyone in the group will have a better experience.

4. Lead the Group

When I run my mastermind groups, they’re usually 45 minutes and we make it a mission to start and end on time.

If you start slacking off and starting or ending whenever you feel like it, you’ll find that people start to get frustrated and the usually-on-time start to show up late too.

I recommend that you have your group do some sort of pre-call (or meeting) questions prior to the session so that everyone is already in the mindset of whatever you’re talking about.

During the first 5 minutes, each person shares one of their successes since the last call (and the successes should be related to your commitments from the last call).

Next, we’ll talk about the challenges we’ve faced since while pursuing our commitments from the last call.

Because these groups should be about 4-6 people, it’s easy for everyone to share theirs in less than 5 minutes.

Next, the presenter will facilitate the conversation since everyone in the mastermind group leads at least one of the calls.

The best way to learn is to teach, so make sure that everyone facilitates at least one. They are not making a presentation per say, they’re just directing the conversation by asking good questions and starting the conversation
At the end, we always close the calls with ‘what are you committed to doing in the next two weeks as a result of this meeting/call?’ Everyone shares and that’s what our successes and challenges will be related to during the next call.

I highly recommend that you assign (or let the participants pick) accountability partners. It’s easy to forget what you talked about on the call so having an accountability partner to remind you, keep you on track and keep your head in the right place will add a ton of value to the group.

Related: Accountability Will Keep You On Track For Your Goals

Lastly, leadership can feel like teaching a pre-school class sometimes. You’ll need to give constant reminders to your members so that you can run an effective group. It’s annoying but it’s necessary. People get busy and they forget.

Since we run our groups on a biweekly basis, our groups have a group chat via text so that they can keep up with each other.

The group’s leader (you) are responsible for sending out a reminder about 5 days before the call to the person who’s responsible for leading the call and to send out a reminder to the members the evening before or the morning of so that you don’t have to worry about people forgetting and then having to facilitate the call for them.

I learned a lot of this the hard way so don’t cut corners. It’s not worth it.

I hope you take this advice and run with it.

Mastermind groups are some of the best ways to build a strong mindset and build better relationships with other like-minded people.

While they’re a lot of work to put together, they’re incredibly valuable.

To help you put it all together and get it out of your head, I’ve put together a workbook that will help you organize it all. It’s free and you can download it below!

Happy masterminding 🙂

The Epic Guide To Planning A Networking Event

Just a heads up, this post is a 6000 word monster to walk you through each and every step of planning a powerful networking event, but don’t worry…

Before you get overwhelmed, I have a totally free 7-page workbook for you that will help you take all of this and put it into action.

You can download it right here to follow along while you’re going through this post:

Now let’s get down to business.

 

The Back Story

To give you some background…

In early 2014, I started looking to meet new people but I didn’t want to be in a “happy hour” group.

I wanted to be part of an organization with substance… But as it turns out, there aren’t a whole lot of young professionals groups that are focused on professional development more than they are on partying.

So, I started my own group.

We started on Meetup as South Florida Young Professionals and eventually outgrew the platform.

We eventually moved to our own site (where you are now), used our Facebook page, group and email list to communicate and sold tickets through EventBrite.

We’ve since evolved to include the blog that you’re reading now and an online Empire Builder Academy.

Our primary goal is very simple: to develop young professionals and to put them in the right place, both mentally and physically, to create a better community.

Our long-term goal is to become the largest and most influential young professionals organization in the country (as it stands, there are tons of career specific young professionals groups, but there isn’t an organization that’s focused on bringing young professionals together across industries to build them up).

We started out by hosting mostly social events because they’re the easiest to get people to attend.

As we evolved, we grew a heavy focus on self-development and service, but always make sure to have our fun.

With that said, if I had to guess, I would say I’ve hosted at least fifty happy hour/social events and can easily draw 50-100 people to an event.

Because I’ve hosted so many networking events, I have it down to a science.

The purpose of this whole back story wasn’t to brag but just to make sure that you know this isn’t just fluff.

I’m giving you all of the strategies that I use that have helped me consistently host successful events.

In the interest of length, this post is specifically written about hosting networking mixers.

I could get into the details of hosting a dozen different types of events, but mixers are by far the simplest to host and the easiest to put together and starting a mastermind group is a close second.

Let’s get started.

 

Planning A Networking Event

Purpose

Besides wanting to get people together, the first thing that you have to decide is the purpose of your event.

… Is it to build professional relationships?

… Maybe raise money for an organization?

… Make a new announcement?

… Raise awareness for a cause?

… Recruit members?

Be specific.

While you’re planning your networking event, you should know what your “one thing” is.

Don’t skip this part… You need to know what your purpose is so that the rest of the decisions in the planning process are infinitely easier to make.

We run our events as series.

Each of our workshop series has 4 workshops, a service project and 2 social events over four months.

Of the social events, the first is a free, new member mixer for people to come and hangout with us where the goal is to recruit new members.

At the end of the series, we have our Diamond Event which is more formal than our new member mixer and we award our members who have completed our Diamond Experience during he series.

Your purpose and structure doesn’t have to be as formal as ours, but you need to have a specific purpose in mind.

You’ll have dozens of decisions to make in planning your networking event and when it comes time to promote it, you’ll need to be able to communicate it’s purpose in a clear and concise way.

Without a purpose, it’s just another random event that people might go to if they feel like.

A powerful purpose will compel them to want to join you for the event.

Start working on that now.

 

Demographics

Next, you need to know your target audience.

Everyone talks about having a niche, I know.

If you’re like I was, you probably want to just skip past the unsexy part and get to the planning.

Don’t do it!

It’s the most important part of having a successful event.

Your demographics don’t have to be by age like ours is… Your focus can be on gender, interest, religion, political affiliation, whatever you want it to be.

The goal of a networking event is to put like-minded people together, so focus on getting specific about the type of people at the event rather than quantity.

People will have a better time if there’s only 10 people who attend and they have great conversations than if there’s 100 people that they can’t connect with.

For us, we target young professionals ages 21-40 who want to make an impact on the community. Our average member is 25-35 and is a few years into their career already.

Knowing this makes planning and marketing the rest of the networking event easier because you know how to target them and you exactly what the attendees are looking for and what they expect. 

We are strict on the 40 year old age limit because there’s tons of events for professionals where the audience is in their 40’s and 50’s and there aren’t enough for young professionals.

I’ve actually asked people who were over 40 to leave our events because our members come back because they know what to expect and if we start straying away from that, their loyalty will waver (and every time we lose focus on our purpose, we HAVE lost them).

 

Target Number of Attendees

Personally, I don’t like when events get bigger than 50 people.

When there’s more than that, people resort to treating their business cards like frisbees and throwing them at anyone and everyone because FOMO (the fear of missing out) kicks in.

Our attendees get overwhelmed with too many people and lose depth in their conversations.

I love mixers of 30-50 people because you can talk to a decent number of them in 2 hours, it’s intimate enough where you can build great relationships, people will remember you, the people who are a little shy don’t get overwhelmed and you will have conversations that will lead to a welcomed follow-up. 

It’s also easier to remember names and give introductions when there’s only 30-50 people at the event.

 

Will you charge?

At first, I was really resistant to charging for our events because I didn’t want attendance to drop.

However, once we finally started charging, our attendance actually grew because people put a value on things they have to pay for.

I’m not saying you have to charge, just don’t have to be afraid of it.

HOWEVER…

If you’re going to charge, just make sure you’re offering something in return (drink tickets will suffice – more on that in the venue section).

Originally, we would charge sporadically for events to cover our costs and it worked fine, but our organization really blew up when we implemented our subscription model.

The membership gets you into all of our events.

The stakes are absolutely higher from a leadership standpoint when you charge on a subscription basis, but it makes it easier to host events because you don’t have to work as hard at promotion.

If someone doesn’t want to join, they can still come to our events for $25/event, but as you can see, joining is the better deal.

If you’re already getting overwhelmed, I recommend you download your workbook that accompanies this post. This post teaches you how to plan a networking event and the workbook will help you put it into action.

Leveraging People

When I’m working on a project, I’m a little (ok, I’m lying) I’m very meticulous.

Our members will tell you that they call me crazy because of how detailed I am about our events.

You could probably argue that I’m borderline OCD…. That’s because if my name is on it, I expect it to be extraordinary.

While that might sound great and all, it’s terrible for delegation purposes and my stress levels.

That puts 100x more work on me.

I’m still working on leveraging because you can’t plan a great networking event if you do it all by yourself.

I’ve learned that people will absolutely contribute (and be excited to do so) but you have to make them feel like their contribution is valued and welcome.

Saying thank you isn’t enough – make them feel like you need their help.

Go ahead, let that ego down.

You do need them and you’ll put on a better event with the help of others.

 

Make Your List

Next, you want to have at least 5-10 people who are influencers in your target demographic.

I’ll start by saying I didn’t do this at the beginning, but I wish I had.

Find a few people who are really passionate about whatever your purpose is and get them onboard and do yourself a favor… Get them onboard when you first start planning the event.

More than anything, you’ll need help with your invite list, promoting the event and venue suggestions or introductions.

If you know anything about millennials, we want to do things that have a purpose.

If you’re asking an acquaintance for an introduction, they’re not going to get excited.

If you ask them to help you put together an event so that you can raise money for a cause, I’m willing to bet that their attitude will change.

By having these influencers, you’ll establish credibility around your event instantly which will make all of the above easier.

Remember, promotion is going to be your toughest battle (especially if this is your first event).

People are bombarded with hundreds of invites and bits of information every second so you’re going to have to deal with the people who just don’t take action because they’re already overwhelmed by information.

Your influencers will make it easier to create buzz around your event.

 

Finding the Venue

When you’re finding a venue, my suggestion is to always go with a newer restaurant or bar.

Established places usually charge for the use of their rooms because they can.

Newer places need to get people in the door and your attendees will appreciate it because it’s somewhere they haven’t been before.

This is where knowing if you’re going to charge or not comes in handy. I can’t speak for everywhere, but here in South Florida, most places will offer drink tickets for their happy hour price… Most places will charge me $5 per drink ticket and we pay at the end.

I’ve also had places charge me just for the bartender in the private room and they offered a free drink ticket and appetizers.

It really depends on what they’re willing to do but you won’t know until you start the conversation.

 

Approaching the Venue

Instead of reaching out via email or by phone, I recommend you go to the venue that you’d like to host at and ask for the manager.

Yes, you absolutely read that right.

Trust me, it’s easier that way. Tell them that you want to bring 30-50 people to buy drinks from them and wanted to know if you could use their private area.

By being there, you’ll get all of the kinks worked out, know exactly where you’ll be and how the event will flow.

A few things to look for:

  • Whatever you do, make sure that the networking event is in it’s own private area. There’s nothing more annoying than trying to figure out who belongs to the group because there’s people walking back and forth through the group to go to the other side of the restaurant or to go to the bathroom.
  • Make sure the venue is small enough that it forces people to be close to each other – they’ll talk to each other that way. Think of it like a middle school dance – you have to get everyone interacting because they’re all scared of each other. Having a small venue makes that way easier.
  • This is a small detail that most people will overlook but it makes a difference. Make sure that the venue isn’t long and narrow. Your attendees will move around less and talk to less people because they don’t want to draw the attention of everyone by walking through the crowd to get from one end to the other. Networking doesn’t come naturally to most people so make sure that you do everything you can to make them comfortable.
  • Don’t give them too many places to sit. You want people on their feet so they’ll move around and talk to each other. As soon as they plant their butts in a chair, they instantly close off and stop talking to people.

If you decide not to charge, you’ll still want to let the venue know that you’re bringing a group.

They may still offer to give you drink tickets and light appetizers on the house (that’s a nice extra but don’t count on it).

Make sure that you’ve worked out how attendees will find you once they get there.

After meeting with the venue, confirm with the venue representative in an email everything that you’ve talked about, ensure that you’ve worked out payment (if there is any) and that you’re on the same page with expectations.

If anything changes, keep the venue in the loop. There’s nothing they hate more than having to accommodate major last minute changes.

By now, you’ve planned the major parts of your event.

You have your influencers, know how to convince someone to come to your event with your clear and concise messaging, and you’ve secured your venue.

I know this is a lot, so I created a whole workbook on planning a powerful networking event for you.

Next up, it’s time to start promoting the event.

The Grind: Promotional Frenzy

Designing the Marketing Materials

Now comes the fun (and stressful) part…

The marketing. 

*Cue Law & Order style duh-duh*.

If you’ve never heard of Canva, you better become besties with the platform.

It’s the best way to design pretty much anything and it’s free to use (they charge $1 for some of their templates or their images, but you can import your own images for free).

You can design your flyer quickly and painlessly using their beautiful templates.

You can let everyone think that you spent lots of money on your marketing, but we’ll keep the Canva secret between us!

 

Create the Event Online

If you’re putting this together as a recurring event, you’ll need to figure out what platform you want to use.

Meetup is awesome for bringing a constant flow of new people to your events but I absolutely abhor their limited capabilities to communicate with members – so if you use Meetup, don’t let that be your main source of communication.

You’ll want to direct them to a different signup form so you can get an email address and phone number.

Whether you’re doing this to start a group or just a one-time event, create a Facebook event for it and then direct everyone to RSVP on EventBrite.

I freaking LOVE EventBrite. 

EventBrite is so user-friendly, beautiful and full of amazing stats… and to top it off, they have an app called “Organizer” which makes it beautiful and simple to check people in at the networking event too.

However you decide to promote the event or start growing your group, I recommend using EventBrite as the place where you have people RSVP or buy tickets.

Facebook & LinkedIn

Now that you the event setup and the flyers put together, it’s time to go to work on promoting the crap out if it (the crap is definitely necessary because if you don’t overdo it, you’re not going to have the success you’re looking for).

Firstly, you’re going to have to introduce the event to your network. I recommend starting about 2 weeks in advance.

Invite everyone to the event on Facebook. Most people leave it at sending an invite but a lot of people ignore invites, so this is just a warmup.

A few things about promoting…

  • If your Facebook page (not you, the individual) hosts the event, you can boost the event (as in pay to have it seen by more people). There are tons of articles and videos about boosting posts. In my experience, if you spend $10-$20 for the 3 days before the event, you’ll get a few more attendees than you would have had otherwise and you’ll stay top of mind for the people who were “maybes”.
  • Make sure you promote the event in groups too. For us, there’s a bunch of young professionals groups on both Facebook and LinkedIn, so I always post them there too. The key to getting people’s attention in groups is that you have to make the event stand out. There are dozens of event invites going through those groups, so be different.

So once you’ve done all of that, start promoting the crap out of it on your personal page and get your influencers to do the same. Please…I repeat…PLEASE…DO NOT USE LANGUAGE LIKE:

“RSVP today!”

“It would really mean a lot to me if…”

“Come support!”

Wording like “RSVP today!” has ‘I’m going to sell you something’ written all over it.

For the rest of the god awful wording above, no one cares about you.

I’m not being mean but people are not going to go out of their way to support you, no matter how much you have a winning personality.

Regardless of what they tell you, they’re going to go because it will benefit them.

They might even donate money, but it’s not to support you — it’s because it makes them feel good to donate.

They might come, but it’s because they wanted to, not because you wanted them to.

All of your marketing needs to be centered around how it benefits them.
The wording above says ‘I’m special so you need to care about me’ rather than ‘you’re special so I want you at the event.’

If you have an issue with this new approach, that’s probably because you’re putting your ego above the success of your event.

I know this because I’ve been there before.

Being that I target millennials, my marketing approach might be a little more playful than if you were targeting a little bit of an older or different demographic.

I have a ton of fun with my marketing (it’s my favorite part of both selling real estate and running my organization).

I can’t tell you how many compliments I get on how much people love my Facebook and Snapchat presence – not because I do anything special, but because I keep it super positive, fun and informational.

A lot of what they love is how I promote my events.

When I first started, I was 100% certain that I was going to lose a bunch of friends because I was so annoying about the events.

Now, I’m always going for a laugh when I’m promoting our events and they love it. I can’t speak for promoting on LinkedIn yet because I’ve just started becoming really active here, so I’m still finding my voice.

Every post can’t be about the event.

Social media’s algorithms will only show some of your posts, so make sure your posts aren’t spammy.

Focus on the 411 rule.

The rule says you should post four posts that are not related to business, 1 post that’s informative and 1 post can be salesy. I follow this rule normally, with the exception of the 3 days before an event… Which leads me to ‘the blitz’.

The Blitz

Three days before the event, I go on an absolutely ridiculous promotional blitz.

Pretty much every single thing I post is about the event during the three days before the event.

The key is that you can’t add a link to every post.

Mix it up!
You can post information about the cause, mention other people who are attending the event, talk about planning the event and go for a few laughs.

We will also post pictures from past events, talk about the groups, share jokes and I always go #hashtagcrazy.

The hashtags have sort of become my signature — I don’t expect anyone to actually use them to search for other posts with the same hashtag, but I do them because they make me laugh and because I’m a millennial (I know, such a well thought out excuse).

Most of our members are super active on Facebook and Snapchat and less so on LinkedIn, so if I were to do this on LinkedIn, it would be a little more formal and a little less playful.

My goal in doing this is to wear people down to the point where they can no longer come up with excuses not to come.

They finally break and decide they have to be there or they’ll be missing out on something. I absolutely go into ‘overkill, overtime’ mode.

If your advertising is boring, it’s not going to get their attention. I have a lot of fun with this and I’m VERY annoying about the event but it works.

It gets people to the events.

I’ve never had someone complain that I was doing too much —I’ve only gotten compliments for how committed I am to this so my best advice is don’t be afraid to be annoying.

If you’re not passionate about it, you won’t get anyone else to be either.

Most of your tickets/RSVPs will come in the 48 hours before the event so don’t freak out if you’re not getting responses.

Most people don’t want to commit until they know they can actually come which is exactly why I always start my blitz 3 days before.

Those last three days are not procrastination, that’s strategic.

We always get a few people to RSVP early on but everyone else waits til right before.

During the 3 day blitz, I post every 3-4 hours about the event and I am not afraid to show how serious I am about getting people there.

Because I’m so ridiculous about it, we now have members who are also going crazy promoting the events for us too.

Being passive about your promotions will not get people to your event.
This chart is just to show you proof of how much people wait til the last minute… This was for our last mid-series mixer.

We sold 55 tickets and the event was on November 2nd. On Halloween, we sold 10 tickets, on November 1st, we sold 15.

The day of, we sold an additional 19… This is why I do the blitz for the 3 days before the event.

If you want to get RSVPs or ticket sales sooner, there are a few things you can do… If you put a cap on your RSVPs, you’ll get RSVPs/ticket sales faster too because you’re appeasing their urgency.

Again, I don’t like to go over 50 attendees, so I’ll usually cap the tickets at 55 or 60 for our mid-series mixer. As soon as we hit about 40-45 tickets, I start posting the link to EventBrite with however many hours and tickets are left.

Every time I do this, tickets go immediately.

You can also do tiered pricing.

For example, the first 10 tickets are free, the next 10 are $5, the next 10 are $10 and so on.

Another variation of this is to put deadlines on ticket prices — tickets are $X until this date, and then they go up to the next amount until that deadline and so on. You can do all of this in EventBrite.

Personal Invitations

Lastly and ABSOLUTELY most importantly, do not neglect personal invitations.

We all have a bajillion (yes, a bajillion — not just a million) things going on in our lives so it’s easy to brush off or forget the people and events that are not right in our faces.

When you’re doing your personal invitations, do yourself a favor and don’t sound like a club promoter.

Make them personal.

Have a conversation like you’re inviting a friend out for a drink.

Ask them if they already have plans for that day and share your messaging about the event.

Tell them why you want them to be there and if there’s anyone you want to introduce them to.

Focus on how their attendance would benefit them, not you.
They will only go if and when you can show them how attending will benefit them.

Start the personal invites early (2 weeks or so before the event) and keep a list of yes’s, no’s and maybe’s.

I like to do this in Trello because you can rearrange the cards easily and it’s visually appealing.

I have six lists in one Trello board:

  • Hit List: These are influencers and people I’m working on getting to an event but have never been yet.
  • To Invite: These are people who have been to events before but haven’t been yet.
  • Yes: No description necessary.
  • No: I always include why they can’t come.
  • Maybe: These are people who said maybe. Don’t let non-committal people ruin your event. Keep following up with them until they give you a yes or no.
  • Don’t Bother/Invite: These are people that I don’t want to come back to events or I’ve just given up on inviting because they’re wishy-washy.

About 2-3 days before, confirm with all of the yes’s to make sure they’re still coming and try to get a solid answer out of the maybe’s.

The morning of the event, text them all to remind them, let them know how to find you and what to expect with parking.

If you consistantly do this, you’ll get far less maybe’s and more committed yes or no’s.

You need to make sure that they know that they are wanted at the event.

When people feel wanted, they will show up.

If you act like you don’t care if they come or not, they won’t bother to show.

Let that pride down and let them know they’re wanted. It’s for the good of your event.

Pro Tip: After the event, anyone who said maybe or yes and didn’t show, reach out and let them know they were missed.

Tell them how awesome the event was and how much better it would have been if they were there.

I promise they’ll be at the next event.

Don’t just read this post and forget everything.

Put it into action with the workbook that I’ve created for you.

Hosting 101

Je Ne Sais Quoi (The Little Something)

You’re going to have three types of people at your events.

  • The Networking Pro: They know how to work a room, they’re masters of small talk and they attend events regularly. They might even run into some people they’ve met before at your event. They know why they’re there and they know how to get what they want.
  • The Once-In-A-Bluer’s: These are people who aren’t necessarily opposed to networking, but they don’t make a habit out of it. They will usually hang in the background and observe. These are generally the people who ask themselves why they come to these events anyways because they don’t go with a defined purpose.
  • The Newbie: These are your attendees who’ve never been to a networking event before and they don’t know what to expect.

Everyone will fall into one of these categories to varying degrees and you want to make sure you can give every single one of them a five-star experience.

You want the networking pro to talk about your event after and come back next time.

You want the OIAB’s to take action after the event and you want the newbies to have a good time.

That’s why this section is called the je ne sais quoi (the little something).

It’s the little touch that makes people continue to talk about your events and continue to come back.

It doesn’t take a whole lot.

It just has to be something that comes as a pleasant surprise.

We do a few things to give them that experience…

  • Hugs: I’m all about authenticity and getting people to be comfortable. I don’t believe in the old rules of networking, hence why I wrote this post about exactly that — so whenever someone reaches for a handshake, I always grab them and say “we give hugs, not handshakes.” That will usually get their guard down. That physical touch automatically gets them more relaxed.
  • Name Tags: At our social events, we always have name tags, but we don’t just do names. Under their name, we always have them put the answer to our random question for the event. We’ve done favorite ice cream, favorite Disney movie, liquor, what animal you’d be and dozens more. I usually leave it up to the first two or three people to come up with the question for the night. Name tags don’t tell you anything about a person if there’s just a name but the random question gives them something to start a conversation about. It works every single time.
  • Introductions/Clique-iness: when someone gets to the event, we always have them grab a drink and a name tag. I walk around and introduce them to other people. Once they look comfortable where they are, I move on to the next group of people. This immediately gets them talking to people so they don’t feel awkward at the beginning and makes sure that they don’t walk in the room standing around looking for someone to connect with. This also serves to make sure that people don’t get cliquey. That’s the biggest complaint about networking groups —there’s a few people who are like an elite little circle that no one else is allowed to be part of. Making sure that everyone is introduced to other people forces them to start talking to other people. People love this because they don’t have to awkwardly start conversations by themselves.

 

Be Humble & Graceful

This sounds like it would be obvious, but make sure you go above and beyond to be humble.

Since you’re hosting the event, people will try to put the spotlight on you and shine attention towards you.

It’s very easy to just eat it up and relish in it, but don’t — remember, they’re there for them, not for you.

Keep the focus on them.

You can gloat after the event (and trust me, after a great event, you definitely will!).

  • After you’ve introduced everyone, stand back and observe. If you ever pay attention to me at an event I’m hosting, I do a lot of this. It’s the most amazing feeling to see that all your hard work has paid off when you see a bunch of smiling faces and people who are talking to each other. Make sure that everyone’s talking to someone and if there’s anyone awkwardly by themselves or looks uncomfortable in a conversation, strike up a conversation with them.
  • I do a lot of check ups. You’ll find people tend to gravitate towards groups so I’ll just walk up, put my hand on whoever’s back and just ask if everyone’s ok and if they need anything. Sometimes they’ll have a question for me about the group, they might just include me in the conversation or they might just say they’re fine. I know they’re fine because they’re laughing together, but that check up is just to show them that I care.
  • Make sure you show them how grateful you are that they came and really listen when people speak to you. Don’t get distracted by everyone else. If you’re talking to one person, finish with them and include other people in the conversation, but don’t break your focus for every little distraction or you make them feel like they’re not important enough for your attention.
  • Make eye contact! It’s easier than ever to have your eyes somewhere else when it’s your event and you’re keeping an eye on everything but be aware of that. It’s just basic manners.
  • Seriously, stay humble. Make an effort to go out of your way to do so. I don’t mean humble brag, I mean stay completely humble. Let the attendees do the bragging for you.

 

To Speech or Not To Speech

This is completely up to you.

Some events will warrant it, some won’t.

I make a speech at our Diamond event but I don’t at our mid-series mixer.

Either way, you need to have a call to action and figure out how to deliver it so that everyone receives it.

If you’re raising money for an organization, you should absolutely make a speech —even if it’s just a few minutes.

If you’re not going to make a speech, make sure you go out of your way to talk to everyone and share what the purpose of the event is.

It is completely up to you.

I don’t think every event needs one so this is where you go back to your purpose for the event.

If you make a speech, make sure you thank everyone for coming, keep it concise and try to stay away from ‘I’.

Again, this isn’t about you.

The Follow-Up

Now that the event is over, you probably won’t sleep because you’ll be high off of the energy from the event.

Follow-up the day after — no exceptions.

This is where you go back to your purpose again.

You should reinforce your call-to-action in a way that adds value and is not salesy.

I usually do this with an email, thanking people for coming and I usually end it with “since we didn’t really get a chance to connect, I’m interested in learning more about what you’re doing.

Would you be open to grab lunch or coffee some time this week?”

Keep your follow-ups relevant to the purpose of the event.

For example, if you did the event as a fundraiser for a charity, don’t go trying to sell them something for your business and don’t you dare just add them to your business email list.

You haven’t earned that right yet.

They gave you their information for the event or organization that they attended, they did not give you their information for you to add them to your spam list.

If you’re strugglintrying to figure out how to turn those new contacts into actual opportunities without being salelsy, you can get my 8-week follow up plan that I use for new contacts right here.

I find that the lunch/coffee is a great way to transition the conversation to learn more about them and what else I can do to help them — and in my case, if they have any real estate needs.

I hope that you’ve gotten a ton of value out of this and feel a little more confident to go out there and host your own networking event. It’s a lot of work but also a lot of fun… I wish you the best of luck.

Feel free to reach out if you have any questions or want to see more about hosting networking events!