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Sid Vaidya

Elizabeth: Hi, this is Elizabeth Gearhart. I’m here with Sid Vaidya of Network With Sid. There is a very effective way to network, and then there are not such effective ways to network. So if you want to know the most effective way to network listen to Sid. Hey Sid,

Sid: Hey, thank you so much for having me. Hello everyone. I’m so pleased to be on Fireside Directory. This has been amazing and, Elizabeth, you’re creating something that’s so genuinely unique and hopefully it’s going to get so far.

Elizabeth: Thank you. Yeah. So you do have, I don’t know how many LinkedIn connections.

Sid: It’s reaching about 12,000 just on LinkedIn, but if you look at my total connections on virtual, I have more than about 40,000.

Elizabeth: Wow. You also have a best-selling book.

Sid: Yeah, yeah, yeah. So Network With Sid was a book that I basically took my 10 years of experience in networking and I look at everything. So, you know, somebody may think, well why does a handshake matter? Well a handshake does matter. What is the difference between a 15-second or 60-second pitch? All of these small things matter and so all of this data is in a very brief guide that’s called Network With Sid. That’s my book and it was actually a number one new release in the business development category of Amazon. So I’m pretty excited and thrilled to be a best-selling author.

Elizabeth: I bought it, but I haven’t gotten it yet. I bought the hard copy. It could have got it on my Kindle, but books like that I like the hard copy because I like to dog ear the pages and stuff. So I’m anxiously awaiting it.

Sid: No, this has been good. I am a regular speaker at various colleges and universities and associations. And to be honest, you know, I’ve been giving out my book in a different format for such a long time. So having the book now I can provide it. You know what I tell people right now that have been buying the book and have it, is just take it along with you when you’re ready to network or just have it ready for you to network as well. Because what it’s going to be is, you might see something in there and that’ll help you create that conversation.

Elizabeth: Networking can be difficult. Some people are very good at it and they’re natural extroverts.

Sid: Agree.

Elizabeth: I don’t find it that difficult myself, it depends on the situation though. For people who are not natural extroverts and talking a lot and all this stuff like me, it’s really hard.

Sid: Yeah. So one thing I, you know, and it’s very interesting you bring that up because actually I did a keynote speech last year and I brought a bookmark with me and they were the four guides, pretty much, the tips, just four tips that lead somebody to coming into an event, they don’t know anyone, to walking out with potentially follow-ups.

And the first one really is just have your pitch ready. You got to have some type of a pitch ready. You can’t just walk in and say, hi, my name is Sid. The person will say, so why are you here? The second one is that find people that they’re just standing alone or on a virtual Side. You know, I use a virtual event all the time. And I’m not talking about the ones that are on Zoom and so forth. There are other services out there, but you can see people that are a little bit more shy, approach them and say hey, my name is Sid, I’m a networking expert and a bestselling author. What is your name? Talk to them.

The third thing I tell people is that when you come into any type of event, have some data ready about the event, about the industry, do not talk about weather, please. No one cares. And please stay out of politics and sports because people actually bring up sports quite often. Frankly speaking this has been a research study that I’ve actually reviewed, sports is actually one of the deterrence in a conversation because people, similar to politics have their opinions on sports and teams and things like that.

So I tell people, bring up conversations tied to the industry that you’re going to the event for. Talk about, hey, you know what? This is what’s going on in this type of space, or this is what’s happening here. Then the fourth tip I tell somebody is that, as you’re walking out of this kind of conversation, ask them about the follow-up and ask them, hey, are you available on LinkedIn message? Or are you more comfortable with WhatsApp? You got to ask them because how else are you going to be able to make them feel good that you should be communicating with them for future?

So I talk about things like this and, you know, a lot of organizations, companies, schools, and so forth, hire me and bring me on to talk about networking because the truth is, it’s such an easy word that at the end of the day, Elizabeth, what you and me are doing is networking. But the truth of the matter is, is that there’s a right way to network and a wrong way to network, as you described earlier.

Elizabeth: Right, and I do think that if you go to an event and it’s sponsored by a company or somebody, you really need to do a little research first to find out a little bit about that company. I mean, I went into one totally blind once. I didn’t know I was going, and I had no idea who was who or what they did and it’s awkward.

Sid: Yes, yeah. And what happens is it’s a credibility thing as well. So you’re coming to an event and let’s just say some big technology company is sponsoring it and you’re there and they’re like, so did you hear about XYZ? And you’re like, oh, I don’t really know much about them. It’s a credibility issue. Then why are you there, you know? So these are just some of the things that before, you know, of course somebody who is a serial networker or somebody like myself and yourself who are very good at networking, they’ve learned these practices. But when I go and talk to a college graduate, I speak for a lot of alumni bases and people that are just graduating college, getting into the workforce and stuff, they have no idea. They don’t know what they’re doing. They just show up because that’s what they were told, just show up. The truth is that showing up can only take you so far, but then how to make introductions, how to strategically position yourself, all these small little things matter.

Elizabeth: They do. I’ll tell you, one thing that I never do at networking events, is I never drink alcohol at networking events. I know there are a lot of events that do have alcohol and a lot of people do drink, but to me, it’s work, I’m at work.

Sid: 150%, my good fortune is that I stopped drinking. So I don’t drink alcohol period. So it’s a whole different story, but you know what? Ever since I stopped drinking, the difference has been significant actually. The one unique thing is that when I go to an event now and I see somebody drinking versus somebody not drinking, I just know, you know, and I build a connection much quicker. Because you know if somebody’s holding a glass of ginger ale or seltzer water, or a glass of water compared to whatever else, you know.

Elizabeth: Right. Well, you know that they’re there as a serious business person versus not. Yeah. I mean and some places do have like wine down Wednesdays, like the chamber has it, but I still don’t drink at those.

Sid: No, no, no. Hey look it’s…people tend to come for different purposes to an event. And so some people come to have a good time, to feel comfortable, and things like that, and other people are laser focused. In my opinion, if you’re coming to an event and you’ve already paid some type of fee to it, then you got to put in all your best in there. The other thing that I talk about in networking, and this is more for people that are much more mature in networking, is that next phase of, hey, has your network actually brought you value? Because the funny thing is that a lot of networkers or networking experts that you listen to, they always say, oh, give them value, give them value, give them value. But the fact is there’s another piece to it, has that person given you value. Because it’s not always just give, give, give. There’s a point of take, take, take. It’s just a matter of figuring out when that happy balance happens.

Elizabeth: So do you think based on your experience that it’s best to find a group that you fit into, that you understand what they’re doing and just be a part of that group and go to as many events as you can for that one group and maybe have two or three groups like that? Or do you think it’s best to go to like 20 different groups?

Sid: So I’ve had both. So there’s a terminology in networking called ‘glad hander’ and it’s basically the best person that shakes hands. I’ve been coined that by many, many people, because I would go to every event and be the guy shaking people’s hands. I felt like a politician type, you know. But the truth is that the best networking occurs usually amongst a 2-3 type of smaller group window, because now you can narrow down exactly the type of people.

There’s a famous quote that my mentor, Brad, passed onto to me and now I share it with a lot of people is, show me your friends and I’ll show you your future. And it’s very straight to the point, which means that you build the right type of connections and your future is going to get secured. The truth is when you go to so many different events, you will meet a lot of people but a lot of it is just throwing stuff at the wall. And why throw stuff at the wall if you know the type of wall that you’re looking at and the thing that you’re throwing makes sense.

So I tell people, it’s like, you know, start. If you’ve been doing a lot of this networking to various different places and things like that, that’s fine. If you enjoy it, go for it, but you will find on a longer scale that it’s just easier to be much more narrow focused, and much more focused in within that group. There’s a time commitment, there’s a reciprocation commitment. If that group, after three months hasn’t paid back, then you’ve got to tell them, Hey, I’m just not the right person for you people. So I actually, years ago, I was basically churning groups because I just wasn’t the right fit for that group. I’ve realized what was the right group for me.

Elizabeth: Right. I mean, I go to your networking things because you also hold events and you hold virtual networking things, which I do really enjoy. You have amazing speakers that come on that and on your podcast as well.

Sid: Thank you.

Elizabeth: You’re doing a lot. I like the people. That’s why I go to your groups. I kind of feel like I’m hanging out with friends. But I have gotten value from them. I hope that I’ve given them some value and it’s a comfort level for me to kind of see the same people. I know that they’ll refer people to me and I’ll refer people to them, but there are groups where you have to refer people to the other people in the group. Like two referrals a month, or what have you. What do you think of those kind of groups?

Sid: So those are actually, structured properly they’re very good groups. The thing is what I just said, structured properly. I was a part of those types of groups where it was very local, you know. A person in the group was a lawnmower service. Another person was a local IT company. I at the time, was a large corporate banking individual. So my clients that are in the hundred million dollar scales were just not the right type of clients for the guy that was in the lawnmower service and vice-versa. So I’d say very, very, very respectfully to those types of organizations, that if they’re structured properly, they work like amazing. But the ones that generally speaking, they just end up putting a lot of people together. Then it’s just like, well, why is Tony in here and that guy does international stuff. Why is Susie in here and she does like, you know, she won’t even get outside of her neighborhood. Like what’s going on here, you know?

And so that’s just what I could tell you from what I’ve seen. For me, even now, there are some groups that are very, very local, but then there are other groups that I service that are gigantic and they’re across countries but I keep the data separate. So I won’t bring my business strategies from this group into this group and vice versa.

Elizabeth: Okay. Well, it gets kind of complicated. It seems like it should be an easy thing, but it’s really not. It’s kind of like marketing where they talk about the funnel, where the top of the funnel is everybody and everything, the middle is more people that might do business with you, and the bottom is the people you really want to do business with.

Sid: Yeah. It’s verified. It’s the verified people. So networking, again, it’s a whole mixture of things, you know. For the people that are listening and watching this it’s not complicated if you really picture the big picture of networking. But if you want to do it with some level of confidence and actually get something back, then taking some of these things I talk about between the conversation we’re having Elizabeth, my book. Network with Sid is on a YouTube channel. I have over a couple of thousand subscribers and then all the other social media. It’s just, you know, start understanding it. Then this way you can become better at it.

Elizabeth: Absolutely. So let’s talk about your podcast a little bit.

Sid: Yeah.

Elizabeth: You’ve had Olympic contestants on your podcast.

Sid: Yeah. We have had Olympians, celebrities NASA astronauts, I mean all sorts of people and actually more fun people are coming up, we’re trying to expand. So ultimately the concept is straight forward, the podcast is C3 Chat Show, that’s it. It’s available on every podcasting platform. Now we’re actually starting to put it up on YouTube as well. So you type in C3 Chat Show, you’re going to find it somewhere. But it became an iTunes Top 50 Newcomer Podcasts earlier, well actually not earlier, end of 2019. Which automatically gave us the ‘award winning’ title, not to brag, but that’s just the category it fell in. And since then the podcast has really launched and we bring in unique ideas and stories. Elizabeth, you were on our podcast, you were talking about your son and his kind of journey, as well as you as a parent and your journey along with your son, and also the unique ideas, right.

The NASA astronaut, you know, for a lot of people they might think, oh, he’s probably going to be talking about space. Yeah. But did you know that NASA astronaut is a practicing doctor? Oh, and he’s done seven spacewalks. Oh and he’s also climbed Mount Everest. So there’s so many unique things that people bring, you know, and that’s why I tell them that they need to utilize whatever that thing is, that podcast episode, and then understand the data because there’s something that comes out of that. My book was actually an openly and honest for the audience I wrote book in 24 hours because a gentleman was on our podcast and said, look, if you want to do something, you’re going to do it extremely quickly if you’re really committed. But it requires a support system. So I actually built a support system in two days and me and my friend, he wrote a book and I wrote a book and now that book is a bestseller. Who would’ve ever thought that a 24-hour book becomes a bestseller, over an idea that a guy said on my podcast.

Elizabeth: Amazing what happens. So you’re a quick learner there Sid.

Sid: Yeah. Yeah. And also crazy at times too I think, you know.

Elizabeth: Yeah, so we’ve covered the events. You’re doing virtual events and people come and they network, but they also listen to incredible speakers. You’re doing your podcast. You have your networking business? Is there anything we’ve missed?

Sid: No. Look ultimately I am available for anyone to just have a conversation. I speak with I run a small mastermind with college graduates and young professionals that teaches them you know, about all sorts of different things. Excuse me, I have a child in the background that might be making some noise for any of the audience members. Hopefully you being in a COVID situation, you also understand the story, but ultimately, you know, I’m available for anyone, just let’s have a conversation. Check on my calendar and we will put that on hopefully the show notes, my Calendly. And book some time to just talk with me, let’s have a 15 minute chat.

Elizabeth: Okay. So it’s Network With Sid, and the book is Network with Sid. And if you type in Network With Sid book, it’ll take you straight to Amazon where you can buy the book and it’s not expensive.

Sid: No, no, no. This is not supposed to…see this is a guide and I wanted this guide available for somebody that might be in South America that just wants to learn how to network. To somebody that might be sitting in New York City that’s says, networking just hasn’t worked for me. I need to figure out something better. This is a guide. It’s only 30 pages. So this is not supposed to be a gigantic book like this thick, like, Oh my God, is this a book or an encyclopedia.

Elizabeth: Well, that makes it a lot more attractive if it’s only 30 pages. But seriously, that’s what people want these days. They want cut to the chase and don’t put in a lot. I mean, I love these books you buy where people spend the first half of the book telling you why you bought it.

Sid: No, no. That’s why, I will tell you, I have a chapter on virtual events and that chapter is one and a half pages because it goes straight to the point. I have a chapter on smile handshakes, like what? But again, I wanted it to cover everything.

Elizabeth: So just out of curiosity, real quick, what do you say about handshakes?

Sid: It’s funny you bring that up. There are three different types of handshakes. There’s the normal handshake. There’s the one that you’re holding like this (one arm on wrist). Then there’s the one where it’s on the elbow. And so there’s three different types of handshakes and it goes by the relationship factor, right? Generally we just go away like this and do the normal handshake. But depending on your comfortability and your relationship, you know what, I actually studied a lot of this with presidents and prime ministers. If you watch them and watch how they give handshakes with each other, it actually teaches you quite a bit. So I started understanding that, oh, wow, this is a type of handshake. So now if I’m looking to build a relationship, a little bit more stronger relationship, I’ll go for the elbow.

Elizabeth: Or you did before COVID right.

Sid: Yeah, that’s it. So, again, these are tips for lifelong. And so same with the smile. There’s various different formats of a smile. It doesn’t think like that. But there is. So again, for a 30 page book, you’re going to be like, God, like how did this person figure this out, all of these small little things. But this is not supposed to be a book that’s an encyclopedia. I’ll get to that later one day. But this is supposed to be a book to get you or anyone that’s watching this out there on the road or virtually to say, you know what, I’m ready. Let’s get this moving.

Elizabeth: Great. So it’s Network With Sid, and honestly, anybody that’s gotten this far listening to this Sid’s virtual events are very valuable and powerful and he can guide you through how to get into the event if tech is a little daunting for you because the first time is a little…

Sid: 100% everyone should check it out, you know, through my events, whatever it is, the main site. If you just go on the top, it has all the links. So you don’t even have to scroll down on the page. It’s all on top. So if you want to come to an event, you click event. If you want to get the book. It says book. If you want to subscribe to my newsletter, click subscribe now. So I’m trying to make things as easy as possible in a world that we’re in right now.

Elizabeth: Excellent. Is there anything else we need to say?

Sid: No. Elizabeth, thank you so much for having me. This is such an amazing opportunity to be on Fireside Directory. Hopefully you keep this growing and any way I can help, please let me know.

Elizabeth: Thank you.


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