this guy may have 500 million friends, but he is not Phil.

I have a friend called “Phil”. He is a quiet, unassuming guy but he’s known and remembered by a wide cross-section of people. He is a go-to-guy. He is also the best networker I have ever met. A couple of years ago he let me in on his secret which I now call extreme networking. It is amazing to watch in action.

It goes like this. Whenever Phil gets invited to any business event (or for that matter any event) he always asks the host who else is attending. Whenever possible, he asks for the guest list. He is expert at obtaining it. For small events (for example a round table lunch session for 10 people) he insists on getting, at least, the names and email addresses of every participant in advance.

He then researches who will be attending the function. He wants to know as much about each person as he possibly can before he arrives at the event. He checks them out online and, when he can, asks around his contacts about them. He has a naturally personable approach and people are happy to help him out. He returns the favour, whenever possible. He is very discrete.

What sets Phil apart is his preparation. He has a great 30 second personal elevator pitch that is compelling, humorous and low-key. It took him over 12 months to perfect it. It is authentic and people immediately connect with him as a result. Because he prepares in advance, people are delighted that he knows something about them and their business. He asks intelligent, insightful questions and this makes him memorable. He makes it look natural but he has done his homework. While most other people are at the starting line bumbling around explaining what they do to the person next to them, Phil is creating bonds. He’s made a deeper connection and people feel special and valued as a result. He’s a very genuine guy and this is obvious when you meet him.

He doesn’t talk about himself and doesn’t try to sell anything. He’s easy to trust because his focus is 100% on the other person. He’s also expert at working the room, rarely getting caught in boring, unproductive conversations. He’s there to work and he takes his job seriously.  His approach works and I’ve lost track of how many people have told me what a great guy Phil is!!

When an event is over Phil always sends everybody he met a personalised email telling them how much they enjoyed their company and congratulating them on their business achievements. He keeps in touch too and makes an effort to put together people in his network who in his words “should meet each other”. He gets a kick out of doing this. Consequently, his network of “adoring fans” is huge. I’m one of them.

Phil is a successful guy. Modestly, he once told me that he’s been successful not because he’s one of the smartest guy around (in his words, he’s not) but because he’s one of the hardest workers. His mantra is “if I can’t out-think them then I’ll out-work them.” He applies this ethos of discipline, preparation and diligence to his networking efforts.

I once told him that I thought he was a phenomenal networker – he laughed and told me that he just loves meeting new people and helping them out whenever he can. He doesn’t consider it networking. He’s right – it’s extreme networking – and Phil is the best at it that I’ve ever seen.

image via daily news