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Forget Schmoozing, Here’s How To Get Influential People’s Attention

Forget Schmoozing, Here’s How To Get Influential People’s Attention

Small talk and cold emailing will only take you so far, but these five tactics can get you noticed—and remembered—for all the right reasons.

Forget Schmoozing, Here’s How To Get Influential People’s Attention

You probably know that powerful people receive dozens, if not hundreds, of unsolicited requests every day. And at networking events or speaking engagements, the most influential folks in the room usually have to fight back a scrum of people hoping to get a word in or hand off a business card. To get on their radar, you have to do more than cold email and hope for the best, or push your way to the front of the line at industry mixers.

The better way to connect with superstars isn’t to get in front of them and ask them for things. As Duke University professor and author Dorie Clark put it, “The world is competing for the attention of the most successful people,” she wrote for Harvard Business Review. “If you want to meet them–and break through and build a lasting connection–the best strategy is to make them come to you.” Here are a few ways to do that.


Entrepreneurs are usually extremely passionate about the products they’re creating, so one of the best ways to get on their radar is to praise their products or services–publicly. Of course, only do this when you’ve genuinely gotten value from them. After all, many people can smell when a compliment is fake. Whether it’s recommending their book on Facebook or explaining how their workshop or event changed your life or business in a blog post, you’ll be surprised at how often influencers notice these little things. It’s a great way to attract their attention and begin to build a relationship.

Related: The Networking Secret That Only Requires Writing Four Emails A Year 


Many of the high-profile experts you want to connect with offer programs or teach courses you can enroll in. Being a student is one of the biggest gifts you can give them. When you become successful with someone’s teachings, you become a case study–a living proof that their methodologies work. I met one of my mentors by signing up for several of his courses and worked hard to become a star student. Over time, we developed a strong relationship.


One magazine editor I know sent a mass email sharing that the magazine she was working for had closed down and that she was looking for new opportunities. I responded right away and offered to put her in touch with people in my network for leads. When you help people during challenging times, they’ll remember your generosity for years to come. Think about it: If you were in their position, you’d feel the same way.

Related: The Networking Hack You’ve Been Missing? Telling People To Text You


Just like the rest of us, powerful people share their updates, news, and challenges with their networks on social media and elsewhere. If you spot a way to help, do so. Maybe you can recommend a great local restaurant or attraction if they’ll be visiting your city, or a great article or book that addresses the issues they’re facing. Passing along this sort of help demonstrates your interest in building a mutually beneficial relationship, rather than just asking for favors.


People in your network are always looking to make other great connections. It doesn’t take long to write an email introducing two people to one another, but those few minutes can result in someone getting a new client, a new referral partner, or their next big opportunity. (Just make sure the connection is mutually beneficial, and that both people opt in before you make the introduction, or you’ll be in for some awkward conversations down the line.)

Related: Three Insanely Simple Templates For Networking With Strangers

I tried this approach myself when I found out an entrepreneur and podcaster I admired was coming to New York, where I live. I wanted to connect with him, but I knew he was a very busy guy. Instead of trying to set up a one-on-one meeting, I offered to host a dinner party with him, and a few experts in my circle who I thought might interest him. I got a reply. We went back and forth a couple times about the details and guest list, and the dinner party materialized. The next thing I knew, he invited me to be a guest on his podcast.

So if you’re worried that asking an influential person to make time for just you is a tall order, think about who else in your network they might find value in–and pool your resources. That’s what networking is all about, after all: It’s not who you know individually, but collectively that makes all the difference.

Create a Growth Culture, Not a Performance-Obsessed One

Here’s the dilemma: In a competitive, complex, and volatile business environment, companies need more from their employees than ever. But the same forces rocking businesses are also overwhelming employees, driving up their fear, and compromising their capacity.

It’s no wonder that so many C-Suite leaders are focused on how to build higher performance cultures.  The irony, we’ve found, is that building a culture focused on performance may not be the best, healthiest, or most sustainable way to fuel results. Instead, it may be more effective to focus on creating a culture of growth.

A culture is simply the collection of beliefs on which people build their behavior. Learning organizations – Peter Senge’s term — classically focus on intellectually oriented issues such as knowledge and expertise.  That’s plainly critical, but a true growth culture also focuses on deeper issues connected to how people feel, and how they behave as a result. In a growth culture, people build their capacity to see through blind spots; acknowledge insecurities and shortcomings rather than unconsciously acting them out; and spend less energy defending their personal value so they have more energy available to create external value. How people feel — and make other people feel — becomes as important as how much they know.

Our approach owes a debt to the groundbreaking work of Robert Kegan and Lisa Lahey around building “deliberately developmental cultures.” Building a growth culture, we’ve found, requires a blend of individual and organizational components:

  1. An environment that feels safe, fueled first by top by leaders willing to role model vulnerability and take personal responsibility for their shortcomings and missteps.
  2. A focus on continuous learning through inquiry, curiosity and transparency, in place of judgment, certainty and self-protection.
  3. Time-limited, manageable experiments with new behaviors in order to test our unconscious assumption that changing the status quo is dangerous and likely to have negative consequences.
  4. Continuous feedback – up, down and across the organization – grounded in a shared commitment to helping each other grow and get better.

By contrast, a performance-driven culture often exacerbates people’s fears by creating up a zero-sum game in which people are either succeeding or failing and “winners” quickly get weeded out from “losers.” Results also matter in growth cultures, but in addition to rewarding success, they also treat failures and shortcomings as critical opportunities for learning and improving, individually and collectively.

These are easy words to say, but they’re much harder to practice.  Instinctively, we’re each inclined to hide, rationalize, minimize, cover up, and deny our weaknesses and mistakes because they make us feel vulnerable, at risk, and unworthy. These fears narrow and limit our perspective rather than enlarging it — at a time when the complexity of the problems we face often exceeds the complexity of thinking necessary to solve them.

We began building a growth culture at my own company in the aftermath of a tumultuous period during which we brought in several new leaders, with different skill sets, to reinvent what we provided to clients and how we ran our business. Until then, we had always been a conflict-averse culture, preferring to see ourselves as a happy family for as long as our business prospered.  Resentments got pushed beneath the surface, but they became harder to contain as we struggled through this period of change and uncertainty. Tension grew between our old and new employees, and our old and new ways of running our business.  As CEO, I was seen as insufficiently respectful of who we’d been, and what values needed to be retained.

Once our new team was in place and I had greater clarity about the path forward, my first instinct was to surface the remaining tensions across the organization, and then work to be more transparent with one another. But realistically, we hadn’t built enough safety to make that possible. Instead, we began our work with our smaller team of senior leaders, inviting all employees to anonymously share their relative level of trust in each of us, in areas including our honesty, intentions, authenticity, skills, integrity, standards, and results.

The feedback we got was raw and tough. When we sat down together to discuss it, we agreed to try to view the feedback through a lens of personal responsibility, rather than defensively. One of my colleagues jumped in courageously, owning her inclination to be controlling and harsh at times, and reflecting on what in her past influenced that self-protective behavior. She made no excuses, and her vulnerability set the tone for the rest of us.  We followed by sharing the toughest feedback we’d each received, what felt most significant about it, and where we thought it came from, and what behaving differently would look like  It was intense and demanding work, but we all left feeling buoyed.

A week later, we shared specific experiments we had devised to try out new ways of behaving in response to the primary challenge each of us had defined. We also agreed to meet once a week to share progress and setbacks, and invite feedback from one another.  Eight weeks later, at an offsite, we shared with the rest of the company what we’d heard from them, what had resonated for us most deeply, and what we were doing about it.  We’d begun the journey of building our own growth culture.

Perhaps the most fundamental lesson we’ve learned – including in our subsequent work with clients – is that fueling growth requires a delicate balance between challenging and nurturing.  Think about a young child beginning to venture into the world. The infant crawls away from its mother to explore the environment, but frequently looks back and returns periodically in order to feel reassured and comforted.  We are not so different as adults. Too much challenge, too continuously – without sufficient reassurance — eventually overwhelms us and breaks us down. Too little challenge – too much time spent in our comfort zone – precludes our growth and eventually makes us weaker.

A performance culture asks, “How much energy can we mobilize?” and the answer is only a finite amount.  A growth culture asks, “How much energy can we liberate?” and the answer is infinite.

5 Reasons To use MicroLearning

5 Reasons to Use MicroLearning
5 Reasons to Use MicroLearning | painting and decorating |

MicroLearning is a form of learning that delivers key concepts in as short an amount of time as possible. It is a short, sharp, just-in-time snippet. I like to think of microLearning as ‘short enough to watch standing up on the job’. It’s when you need a quick tip, brush up on a specific skill or have a moment to learn about new product between customers.


What are the 5 advantages of microLearning?

1.   Timely Learning.The greatest advantage of microLearning is time. Imagine a manager racing through their day. They have a performance management meeting with an employee but have not had the time to read up on the correct procedure to follow. Or a railway engineer arriving at a broken down train and the broken axle is something he hasn’t unbolted for 12 months. Neither of them have the time to scroll through three layers on the company’s Intranet, find the LMS, log on and watch the 20-minute module.


What they want is to go to their phone, open an App, and BAM! There is the 3-minute microLearning video. It’s all about timely learning.

2.   Speed to Market.One of our clients is a global Japanese car manufacturer. They require an eLearning module for every new model released. They don’t have months to plan for product training. They need learning NOW! What companies require is microLearning with rapid development that matches their timeline for product delivery.

3.   Expiry DateLearning’s expiry date is faster than ever. It used to be that a learning program would last a few years before it needs refreshing but with changing products, people and systems, learning is being discarded faster and needs to be produced cheaply, yet with quality. MicroLearning is a cost effective and fast way to develop training content, making it a win/win for the companies and the learners.

4.   Pictures are powerfulAround 70% of millennials visit YouTube monthly. It is a large part of their life so it seems obvious that we should adapt learning to what they are familiar with. When millennials need to learn something, they watch a 2 minute YouTube video.

Research teaches us that if you hear something, after 3 days, you would have only retained 10% of what you learnt. If you then add a picture to that, retention increases to 65% – that’s 6 times better! Using video in MicroLearning makes it stick. Our brain links what we hear to a picture and retention is greater.

5.   MobileOne of our Pharma clients is investing in Asia. The people they are training in Asia have limited access to computers, but they all have smartphones. How do they train them? MicroLearning. They make it engaging, enjoyable, entertaining and most of all mobile compatible. The training is mobile, so that they can watch it standing up on the job, or sitting on the bus or train.


MicroLearning is certainly leading the way in creating new and exciting learning content, whilst making the process easier for both the companies and their employees. Send me a message if you’d like to find out more on our microLearning offering and what we can offer.


Chris Gaborit is managing director of The Learning Factor, an eLearning company who loves technology linked to learning. Follow him here on Linkedin, on Twitter @droneservicesAU and Instagram @idronefoto

Via The Learning Factor

Lessons From Social Psychology To Apply In The Workplace

Lessons From Social Psychology To Apply In The Workplace | painting and decorating |

Running a successful organization requires lots of moving pieces running smoothly in tandem. At the heart of every organization are people just like you and me, whose performance can be influenced in a positive direction. Recently, companies like Google and Facebook have been redefining the standards of workplace culture, and in turn seeing improvements in employee satisfaction and company performance. Now, your company might not be large enough to have a dedicated HR (or “People Ops”) department, but there are some exciting takeaways from social psychology that you can apply to benefit your business.

Reciprocity Principle

Reciprocity is one of the famous “Six Principles of Persuasion” defined in Robert B. Cialdini, Ph.D.’s book, Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion. The idea is that we feel pressure to repay others for what they have given us or done for us. We often even give back more than we were initially given to minimize any guilt associated with the initial favor.


Founders and CEOs can use this to their advantage. Internally, this can help improve or repair work relationships, win over co-workers and build consensus. As Dr. Cialdini writes, reciprocity is so powerful that it can overcome feelings of suspicion or dislike toward the person who gives the gift or favor. As a small business owner, how about giving gifts or bonuses on holidays or birthdays? You could also offer to bring back coffee for the office or surprise your colleagues with breakfast or lunch. A kind gesture can go a long way.


Outside the office, the reciprocity principle can help you succeed in negotiations, build valuable business partnerships and win over investors — or even customers! When we launched our product and were at our first trade show full of retail managers and buyers, we realized that people only stopped at our booth if we handed them a free sample. So we handed samples to everyone who walked by! In turn, they stopped, listened to our pitch, and 99% of the time they placed an order for their store. In those first few hours, we sold over 100 cases into 100 new stores.

6 Morning Habits (That Aren’t Meditation) That Help You Focus All Day

6 Morning Habits (That Aren’t Meditation) That Help You Focus All Day | Business Brainpower with the Human Touch |

You’ve probably experienced the frustration of being distracted at work. Perhaps you were pulled into a never-ending Slack discussion, and when it finally ended you struggled to focus on the task you were working on. Or a coworker criticized you, and now you can’t stop replaying his comments in your head.


It’s totally normal to lose focus after a period of time (which is why you should be taking regular breaks). But if you find yourself easily distracted throughout the day, you might want to consider tweaking some of your morning habits. They probably won’t eliminate all distractions, but you’ll at least start your workday strong building a good foundation for the rest of the day.

The Learning Factor’s insight:

These habits can’t eliminate all of life’s distractions, but they will help you start off your day strong and in a better place to focus.

Leaders From Linkedin, Amazon, and Tesla Say These Are the 5 Trends Shaping Talent Development

Leaders From LinkedIn, Amazon, and Tesla Say These Are the 5 Trends Shaping Talent Development

Leaders From LinkedIn, Amazon, and Tesla Say These Are the 5 Trends Shaping Talent Development | painting and decorating |

While it’s relatively easy for competitors to implement technology similar to yours, duplicate your strategy, and even mimic your culture, they can’t clone your people. That’s why most organizations agree talent is a top priority. At the end of the day, people are your truest form of sustainable competitive advantage.


To expand the capabilities of their best asset, most organizations invest in some form of continued development. Research from the Brandon Hall Group revealed the average training budget for large organizations hovers around $13 million. Also, out of all the delivery mediums available (i.e., mobile apps, simulations, and e-learning), classroom settings are still chosen 22 percent more often than any other modality.


This research came as a bit of a surprise, given all the advancements in technology. Although the study also indicated classroom settings were effective, I couldn’t help but think that many companies are behind the times.


As a part of the research, Rallyware, a training platform that delivers adaptive learning solutions, interviewed learning and development thought leaders to get their perspective on how technology will shape the future of corporate training.

Through these interviews, five e-learning trends emerged:

1. Employees will learn on the go.I’m not the only one who says yes to projects that I’m not 100 percent certain I can do, right? My motto is say yes and figure it out later. It’s risky, but it’s also a lot of fun. I can’t tell you how many times a YouTube video or an on-demand course from has saved me.


Kevin Delaney, VP of learning and development at LinkedIn, realizes that future corporate training must adopt to these types of situations. Two-day workshops aren’t efficient enough. We need access to just-in-time solutions that help us troubleshoot issues within minutes. In his interview, Delaney offered valuable insight that foreshadows future learning tools: When employees are stuck, they want the answer quickly.

It doesn’t help them to sign up for a class that will happen three weeks from now and sit through a four-hour session to get the answer they need this minute. They are more inclined to engage in learning if they can watch a short video that they have access to 24/7 on any device.

2. The learning experience will be highly customized.Different learning styles and varying role responsibilities are making big-box, off-the-shelf learning solutions less and less effective. Now, customized and concentrated learning experiences are critical. Employees need access to content that’s relevant, easily digestible, and engaging.


Delaney offered some opinions on how personalized training should be delivered:


First, don’t bore people. Bored people don’t learn. Second, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to learning. Companies need to offer a variety of solutions and focus on creating a one-size-fits-one experience.

3. Learning and development professionals won’t create but curate.The amount of content on the web is unbelievable. Udemy, an e-learning provider, has more than 65,000 courses on its site alone. With employees’ increased access to content, learning is now a dual responsibility. Learning and development professionals can pinpoint key learning areas and vehicles and employees can be proactive about owning their development.

The days of creating a huge list of internal content are changing, says Beth Loeb Davies, director of learning and development at Tesla:


At this point, I believe that we don’t need to produce our own content in organizations as often as we did before but rather find the right material and deliver it to those who need it when they need it … People are already learning through alternative media. Our role is becoming to curate resources in the context of the company culture and people’s needs.

4. Employees’ job responsibilities will be mixed.Many organizations are shifting to flatter and more efficient org charts. However, the same amount of work still needs to get done. It’s not uncommon to see employees operating outside their job descriptions. If organizations expect to do more with less, then they’ll need to broaden the scope of skills development, says Tom Brown, VP of HR Americas and APAC at eBay:


Companies will need to ensure that there are opportunities for their employees to build a quorum of different skill sets which won’t necessarily be linked to their job titles. It means that there will be a decreasing emphasis on the career ladder, as we know it.

5. The data-driven approach to talent development will be a matter of course.Data is a powerful validator, especially for cost-center functions like learning and development. Now, through advances in technology, initiatives that were traditionally seen as nice-to-haves can produce quantitative results proving their value. HR (the department in which learning and development professionals sit) will have to adjust, says Kvon Tucker, an Amazon global leadership development partner.


HR will need to become more data driven … Learning experience data will be most valuable to companies, to help them track and correlate the most important experiences to the development outcomes needed for the organization.


This is a lot to take in. If leaders want to address all these trends, then they’ll have to consider new technology including artificial intelligence, data, and machine learning. These tools are giving leaders the ability to analyze individual behavior and then deliver the right content to the right people at the right time on the preferred device. If you haven’t already, take a look at microlearning, big data, and gamification to see if they’re the right solution for your organization.

The Mobile Revolution is Here

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