10 Unconventional Networking Strategies That Get Results

by JOHN MUSCARELLO / Follow Me on Twitter Here

Networking Strategies A lot of people tell me that networking makes them uncomfortable and that it’s weird and awkward.

Networking can be that way sometimes, especially when you first get started, but I am going to help you overcome your fear by using myself as an example.

Below are 10 actions I almost didn’t take because I feared rejection or being labeled as weird and awkward. Most of the actions would have people saying, “Who the hell does that?”

One: I spent over 30 hours emailing 55 people

When I wrote “The Ultimate Networking Tips Guide: 87 Killer Resources” I spent days writing emails to the authors whose articles were featured. Each email was personal and explained how the author has helped me achieve success. Writing the emails took longer than finding all 87 links!

  • Results: Many authors who I idolize wrote back telling me they were honored to be featured. Many of them shared the article with their networks, which was awesome.
  • Lesson: Thank people who have helped you no matter how big or famous they might be. You would think they get emails like this all the time, but they don’t. They mostly get emails seeking help. Make their day!

Two: I ask random people on Twitter to grab drinks

Networking on Twitter SNT 3I tweeted two complete strangers (one a NYT best-selling author) and asked them if they wanted to get drinks. Who does that?

  • The results: Instead of meeting for drinks, it turned into a networking event and over 70 people attended. We even created a meetup group so we can do another four meetups this year.
  • Lesson: The answer is always “no” unless you ask!

Three: I reached out to 1,000 complete strangers on LinkedIn

When I graduated from college and started looking for a job, I joined my college alumni group on LinkedIn. I went through every member in the group to see if they were located in New York and if they worked in marketing/public relations. I wrote a LinkedIn message to each person who fit that criteria and asked them for help (now called the “Alumni Networking Solution”).

I had so much success that I joined about 20 marketing/public relations groups on LinkedIn and used the same strategy. I ended up emailing over 1,000 complete strangers.

  • Results: Everyone who responded gave me great advice, which helped me land my first job. One of those people is my mentor and we have been talking for the last six years.
  • Lesson: Ask for help! People are willing to help you if you are polite and you ask them in the right way.

Four: I respond to everyone who tweets my articles

See for yourself (@Jmmuscarello). I love connecting with people who share my articles and find them helpful. I always ask them, “What was your favorite part of the article?”

  • Results: I use the feedback people provide to help created better content for you.
  • Lesson: Feedback is the breakfast of champions and people really appreciate that you listen.

Five: I followed up with Gary Vaynerchuk for eight months to get a 10-minute interview

Gary Vaynerchuk is my idol and I always wanted to interview him. When I first reached out I was rejected. The second time I reached out, I was accepted. When the big day finally came there was no call from him.

I was bummed. I followed up and there was a scheduling conflict and we were able to set a new date.

  • Results: I was able to interview my idol, who I consider to be the ultimate networker.
  • Lesson: People are busy. They are not trying to hurt your feelings. Sometimes they just need a friendly reminder.

Six: I spent three vacation days at a conferencevacation days at a conference

I attended 99U’s Pop-Up School and paid for it with my own money. Here are the things I learned at the conference:

  • Results: It was one of the best vacations I ever took and I had the time of my life.
  • Lesson: Investing in your own personal development is essential to success.

Seven: I send thank you notes to people who help me

The thank you note is always hand-written and sometimes includes something a little special. I even developed the acronym G.R.E.A.T to help other people write great professional thank you notes.

  • Results: How to write a professional thank you note has become one of my most popular blog posts.
  • Lesson: Don’t underestimate the power of simplicity. It’s the little things that make people happy.

Eight: I send follow up emails after networking events

If I meet someone at a networking event that I want to get to know I always email them. I always make the follow up email about the other person. It’s never about how they can help me; it’s always about how I might be able to help them.

  • Results: I have helped and received advice from some of the smartest people in my industry.
  • Lesson: You have to take initiative and follow up with people. They are not going to reach out to you.

Nine: I sent an amazing girl pajamas and slippers for her birthday

I got the idea after we were talking on the phone one night and she mentioned that the new state she just moved was very cold. It turned out to be a pretty memorable gift.

  • Results: She later told me on the phone, “Every night when I put on my slippers I think of you.”
  • Lesson: A memorable gift doesn’t always require something complicated or fancy.

Ten: I email people just to say “hello”

A typical email could be as simple as this. What makes this weird is that I don’t need anything from them. I am sending them an article or a new tool I read about that will help them in their career or business.

  • Results: People I email return the favor and share the same types of articles with me.
  • Lesson: Be helpful without having an agenda. This is how true friendships and relationships are built.

Unconventional Networking Strategies Chloe

Embrace being different and use it to your advantage. Be who you are and stop trying to be someone your not. When you are like everyone else you are no longer memorable. (click to Tweet)

I know that you are reading this post because you are different. You want to:

  • Learn how to build a network with strong relationships.
  • Have access to 80 percent of jobs that are not posted publically.
  • Have the opportunity to have accessing to some of the smartest people because you know how reach out to them.

That’s really why I created Endless Job Offers. It is to help you achieve the above goals and advance your career.

Now it’s your turn.

Which strategy was your favorite? Leave a comment below.

{ 10 comments… add one }

  • Sam

    Thanks Danielle! Your last part of a no really touched. I always wonder with the laws of decency, maturity and karma how could people who are sincerely pleasant with giving their time to the other person (current colleague, someone met at an event or trade meeting, former colleague), but the other person hurtfully, passively and unclearly doesn’t respond back to follow-ups and seen responding to others?

  • Sam

    How nice if we could always determine before a networking/career event or in volunteering or work who is worth investing in that will always respond back and is always sincere as we are when we reach out and even in our own nuclear/extended family lol.

    I sure do not get how come certain people known working for social cause together while usually getting along well and they keep in touch afterwards, but suddenly stop responding you to personally when nothing has been done and you clearly doing good and reaching out. How nice if this was always emphasized to people and ones who don’t have the decency to simply respond back to the other’s goodwill after meeting or when there have been good, mutual exchanges at the least. Where is the law of karma and how come some truly good, sincere people must suffer such undeservingly?

    Many times, it is how networking can be uncomfortable for people due to the loss of trust in trying to go about everything authentically and unfortunately becoming hurt by not being followed upon, being ingnored for no reason after reaching out or not being considered for jobs after lending a hand to the person or organization with volunteering.

    Lastly, is it considered burning a bridge unprofessionally with bad karma if one person no matter how senior in a profession or with different lifestyle just stopping replies to the other person reaching out sincerely and leaving the person hanging wondering? It is commonsense decency to at least inform the other person with honesty and courtesy of what the current status is in a professional, mature manner.

  • Danielle

    I really enjoyed your article, and plan to check out several others as well. My favourite part was about reaching out to people whom you idolized or felt excelled in their fields. As a new graduate I am still building my confidence as a professional, and my position requires a TON of networking, sometimes in industries which I am unfamiliar with. I have absolutely learned that if you are pleasant and put yourself out there, you almost always receive a positive response and people are willing to help you. And like you said, worst case scenario it’s a no, but it’s always a no if you don’t try.

  • Mutua

    Amazing. About to leave college , glad to know this site. You followed up for 8 months to get a 10 minute interview?!

  • Corine Sandifer

    John I am really glad I found you. You rock. I am schedule to speak at a luncheon about networking and found this on google. Thought you might want to know that info. Thank you so much. I will be following you.

    • John Muscarello

      I’m so happy you found the article helpful. Please let me know how your luncheon goes. I would love to hear what you spoke about.

  • Paul Munda

    Great article John. I think my favorite quote is it is always no until you ask as well as the fact that you responded to every Twitter posting.

  • George

    Whatever you said above, come to think of it is so very true. You put in so much perspective one needs to put into action and see the results. “The answer is always “no” unless you ask!”… I have proof of this.

    • John Muscarello

      Thanks, George. I am so happy that you agree with the strategies. There are no results without action.


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