A few weeks ago I attended a huge conference. I didn't really want to go there in the first place because it wasn't something I was really interested in. But I knew a few people that might have been interested in going there to give a talk or a workshop.
So I got in touch with the organizer and asked him whether or not he wanted to be introduced to so-and-so. They would be a great fit for the conference. I also asked so-and-so if they would be available and interested in giving a talk in case the organizer would be interested.
This is very important. Always make sure that both parties agree before you introduce them to each other. They call it double opt-in. Otherwise you might end up wasting people's time and destroying your network just because you were too lazy to ask upfront.
If you don't do this, there's always the possibility that one of them doesn't really want to get in touch with the other side. But because they know you, they feel the burden to get in touch with the other person. Or they don't. In either case, people might end up hating you for wasting their time.
After a few emails back and forth, the organizer had four more speakers and four other people I knew were able to present their ideas and themselves in front of a large audience. A total win-win situation for everybody involved.
What happened next was really interesting. The event organizer sent me a mail and asked me whether or not I wanted to come to the event. Not quite sure if the event was a good fit for me, I said, “hell yeah”.
It's not that I had anything important to contribute, but I just wanted to see what it was all about.
As a matter of fact, it was one of the best events I ever attended. They took very good care of the speakers and created a setup that allowed you to bond with great speakers from all over the world.
Funny enough, I ended up in a panel with a lot of people that were a lot smarter than I was.
But it doesn't matter. What matters is that I now know them personally and might be able to help them out in the future. And connect them with other people I know.
That's pretty much how I got invited to all sorts of events.
And that's how you ultimately build up your brand for free.
By helping others first..
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