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24 2013

What happens in Vegas… aka networking Vegas-style.

Syndicated from: Networking for Results Blog

From the desk of Michael Hughes. Just back from a whirlwind trip to Sunny but cool Las Vegas and have to tell you, the rumors are all true. It’s like being on another planet: non-stop activity, a party-like atmosphere and a never-ending flow of entertainment opportunities and options. Even thought we were there for a well-deserved break, I couldn’t help but put my subject matter expert hat on as we experienced this unique environment. Here are 5 networking-related insights I absorbed during our stay. The Power of the Engagement. From the moment we arrived, we were continuously overwhelmed by the sensory experience: the beauty of the architecture, the impact of interior and exterior lighting effects, the use of music and sound to increase energy, and even aromatherapy as hotels used specific aromas (I distinctly remember smelling fruits, flowers or forests). From the moment we arrived we were immersed in a vibrant and wondrous environment. Networking question: how can you do the same in your networking? Think about the impact of your personal presentation, your tone of voice and the enthusiasm it contains and yes, even your breath can enhance a conversation. Engage the senses! Sales on Steroids. I must admit to being quite turned off by the aggressive tactics used by the street merchants. As soon as we ventured outside, we were continuously assaulted by a veritable army of sales vendors flogging any number of events and opportunities. I was quite put out, until I decided to change my perspective. I quickly realized these professionals were networking masters, skilled in that art of connecting and communicating. The more I watched and listened, the more I gained respect for their ability. I even discovered their most powerful strategy for getting people to stop, chat and even buy: the right questions. Here are the two questions that worked best (even on us) “Where you from?” and “when did you arrive?” Networking question: what questions can you ask that will instantly create a connection? P.S.: check the questions above. It has nothing to do with you. Marketing Mayhem.  There is no question that Sin City is about the money. Not only does it makes no apologies, it flaunts its marketing messages on every imaginable level and medium: from huge electronic signs and messaging promoting entertainment (both on billboards and on the side of buildings), to banner ads (that pitch how much a casino or event could benefit a visitor), to couponing options (handed out  at street level and in hotels). It was non-stop marketing. But rather than being a turn-off, we actually perceived it as part of the experience. The key to its positive perception is that it is congruent with the environment. It added to the energy and exotic flavor of the experience. Networking question:  are you leveraging networking interactions as a marketing option? You can do this with a well-crafted value statement, not an elevator pitch. Targeted Messaging. The most powerful messaging I experienced during out stay was one of the simplest, yet most effective. On our way to a show, we took a cab. As soon as we sat down, a video began to play, hosted by the owner of the Wynn Las Vegas hotel. The message was customized (with a welcome message about our cab ride), contained a very professional message about his hotel (and suggesting we click on the menu screen) and continued for our entire cab ride. We found ourselves lost in the moment and the message. We took a number of cab rides during our stay, with the same video playing every time. What an impactful marketing tool. Networking question: How can you customize and personalize a 30-second interaction to make it more meaningful and memorable? The answer is simple but not easy: make it all about the other person. Overwhelming Value.  One of the highlights of our trip was attending two live shows. We had invested a considerable amount of money (and time) to be part of the audience. In both cases we were blown away by the experience. The quality of entertainment, the level of skill and overall mastery of the professionals involved was quite amazing. This is what really made our Las Vegas experience such a profound and powerful experience. Our memories of the trip have been shaped by these two performances. Networking question: what can you do during a networking interaction that will have the same effect? The truth is you can’t. What you can do is give the other person a reason to want to meet with you again, when they can experience the real value you represent. Michael Hughes is known as Canada’s Networking Guru. Find out more about him at and download a complimentary copy of his 12-page ebook Managing the Networking Experience.

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