03 Jun I MAKE FRIENDS FOR A LIVING.
Recently someone said to me, not long ago. I was at a luxury marketing summit in Southern California held for about 300 executives from fashion, travel, food and wine brands. Great networking!
On the hotel lawn with drink in hand at a session that paired Umami Burgers with cocktails, I found myself chatting with a stylish guy named David. After mutual introductions, the conversation arrived at the million-dollar question: So what do you do?
“I am the head of business development for an event agency which produces national culinary festivals and creates partnership programs for luxury brands,” I said. This was the verbal summary of my LinkedIn profile that I’ve recited many times before. My log line, if you will.
I then turned to David to ask “And you?” Without missing a beat, he replied, “I make friends for a living.”
While the other people around us were VP’s of Marketing, CEOs or Chief Revenue Officers for their firm, this was his career profile. Brilliant! I thought, I’m going to steal this one. David is actually the Co-Founder of an established event marketing company and we have since become industry friends.
Making business friends is embedded in the DNA of a great and often passionate networker. It’s a great bonus when you can put a business deal together with people you trust, and like.
I’ve always been very social. As the guy in high school tasked with tour managing the social plans for my friends on most weekends, my nickname became Julie McCoy. That was okay by me. I accepted that role, and secretly loved it. (Better than that goofball Gopher, I thought.)
We all wade in various social pools that surround us:
- Neighborhood friends
- High school friends
- College friends
- Camp friends
Like a Venn diagram visualizing all relationships between a finite collection of (social) sets, my social network stems from different origins, and many overlap. I have friends from the suburban town in NJ where I live, parents of my daughter’s soccer team, entertainment industry friends – both new and old – clients and vendors. I’m an avid networker because nothing is more gratifying that a business or social connection that bears fruit from one of my introductions.
My social connecting resulted in three marriages, two adoptions and many professional hires over the years.
The trio of background singers I fell in love with at my best friend’s wedding? I was Barry White’s tour manager at the time and we were in the midst of hiring a new band for our upcoming European Tour. At my urging, I got the singers an audition for Barry White and his Musical Director. The trio was hired as a package and became Barry White’s new background singers.
I’ll save that story for another post. Or perhaps I’ll let one of my friends tell you about it.