7 Tips from Mitch Joel to Network Better

Mitch Joel, bestselling author of Six Pixels of Separation and CTRL ALT Delete will share his take on consumer behaviour at The Art of Sales Conference in Toronto on January 26, 2016. A regular keynote speaker billed as one of the top 100 digital marketers in the world, Joel will provide his expert answers to questions like ‘Why do consumers buy what they do’ and ‘How can I sell better?’

We’ve pulled a few concepts from his books and applied them to the art of networking, so you can have the best conference yet!

Remember the ‘5 Cs of Entrepreneurship’

Whether or not you’re an entrepreneur, you can apply many of the same principles to networking. In Six Pixels of Separation, Joel defines the Five Cs of Entrepreneurship 2.0 (or, entrepreneurship for the digital age):

  1. Connecting
    It’s necessary to be connected in business; without a social media presence or proper sales techniques, you may be missing out on big opportunities.
  2. Creating
    Anyone can create their own content these days. Why just sit back and consume when you can take initiative and make a real impact?
  3. Conversations
    Conversations lead to connections, which helps to build community. Make sure the dialogue goes two ways: speaking and listening.
  4. Community
    The online population is a community, just like the ones humans have known and created for thousands of years.
  5. Commerce
    Make yourself available, provide value, create trust, and your community will participate in business transactions without you feeling like you’re forcing sales.

“Human nature is about community,” writes Joel. Swim with the current, not against it.

Make real connections

Only a few pixels stand between a company and its customers. And only a few pixels–or square feet of convention centre carpeting–stand between you and the people you want to meet. Six degrees of separation no more!

Take advantage of a smaller digital world at your next conference by checking out conference hashtags in advance, researching speakers on LinkedIn, and live tweet if possible–you never know who’s watching.

Selling is about real people, so connect to the individual before connecting him or her to your business. Consider introducing someone in your network to a new acquaintance. Enabling connections can be just as powerful as creating them; they’ll remember you for it.

Earn others’ trust as quickly as possible.

Joel says we need to have faith in the Trust Economy. And the sooner we build trust, the sooner we’re able to build communities and businesses.

Business owners, salespeople and business development managers need to move quickly to initiate contact with potential customers and respond to inquiries before the competition does. Writers, community managers and designers need to create more content, more regularly. The more we engage and participate–and the better of a job we do–the more our audience will want to engage with us in return.

Apply this to your networking by asking meaningful questions, respond to emails and social outreach quickly, and yes–follow up on promises of coffee meetings.

Provide something useful to the other person.


In Joel’s second book, CTRL ALT Delete, he introduces Utility Marketing, which is providing something useful to your audience, often at no cost to them. And if you can meet the customer’s need right when they need it, you’re really on to something.

We’re all publishers now. Broadcasting blindly isn’t useful–even when you’re sharing updates on LinkedIn, Twitter, or other networking platforms. Provide something of value to people (like interesting links and useful tools), and you may become a great resource.

Put yourself in your audience’s shoes: if the content wouldn’t resonate with you, don’t put it out there!

Don’t be afraid to rebrand yourself.

While the permanence of the internet suggests that it’s near impossible to change your online reputation, if you aren’t happy with how you present yourself to the public, there’s still time to rebrand yourself. Joel calls it ‘rebooting’ in CTRL ALT Delete.

You’re probably always changing. Technology is always changing. There’s still time to evolve.

Network with a ‘squiggle’, not a straight line.

Most career paths are squiggly; they aren’t clear cut anymore. It’s okay to pivot, revisit previous paths, and take tangents. If you’ve met one person that you were hoping would introduce you to someone else but it didn’t work out, find other ways to connect. Don’t give up!

Create many small ripples, not one big splash.

There’s a hard-hitting analogy in Six Pixels of Separation that compares messaging to a stone landing in water. To be effective in marketing–and in networking–you need to commit for the long haul, and not put all of your effort into an initial impact that’s going to fade quickly.

When you’re building relationships and your personal brand, invest in long-term networking strategies. Create ripples that will radiate outward and touch a large surface area. It will last longer than one big splash with a small circumference that disappears quickly.

Deliver consistent results, keep meeting new people, attend more conferences like The Art of Sales, and you’ll find that you’ll make a greater impact in the long term.

“The only way to keep your momentum is to keep making splashes. Splashes are also expensive to start, execute, and then repeat. With less energy, you can toss a small pebble into a big lake and let the ripple effect take hold. True, it’s not as dramatic as a splash, but it sustains itself for a longer period, covering a much wider area.”

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