Do you hate in-person meetings? Do you hate going to crowded places and shaking hands and handing out business cards and talking about yourself and trying to sell your business? I know you do because most creatives hate in-person meetings and especially you young creatives out there. You’ve grown up with the digital world and communication through text and messaging and every other way except in-person meetings and in-person talking to folks. And so I know it’s foreign to you and I know it is very scary for everybody and it’s awkward and you might be feeling the anxiety right now, um, thinking about going into a room full of crowded people and talking to them. But I’m here to tell you that in my 25 years of business, nothing has paid off more for me than in-person meetings, meeting people face-to-face, talking to them and having a few techniques for talking with them to control the nerves, but also to build a network of human beings around your business that are going to pay off for years and years and years to come.

There is nothing to replace it. And I don’t care about ai, I don’t care about digital marketing, I don’t care about social media. Nothing will ever replace the power of meeting people in person. I literally am still benefiting in my business right now from meetings I had and connections I made in person more than 10 years ago before we even had Weal films. Matter of fact, the guy who’s gonna edit this video, Dan Hines, Hey Dan, who is our, our social media video editor. I met Dan 10 years ago when I was working for a web development firm and Dan was working as a financial advisor and we were both on the docket to speak at a local chamber of commerce meeting. And that’s when I met Dan. And we’ve stayed in touch over the years. This stuff pays off forever and ever and ever.

So I want to give you three kinds of meetings that are very common. You can find them in your area no matter where you are, small town, big city, doesn’t matter. And then I’m gonna give you some tips for each of those kinds of meetings so you can do better. You can hide your nerves and you can actually make a, a, a beneficial connection with people that will pay off in your network for years and years. It will help you build your business, I promise. The first type of meeting, the easiest one to do is to have coffee with somebody. Uh, coffee or lunch, something like that. Very, very simple. Very low energy, very low key. Not a lot of pressure. Go to coffee with people. Now you might be asking yourself, okay, like, how do I even find the people that are important to me to go have coffee?

Well, that’s where social media can help. You’re already following people in your area. You know, you’re looking around and you know who the people are who work for big companies, who have good money, who are um, connected in your community. We all know these people. And if you don’t just start looking around on your social media, you’ll find those folks. Now, um, you might be asking yourself how, like, so how do we get this coffee date going on? You’re gonna message them. You’re gonna cold message them through Instagram, Facebook, young creatives. You need to be on Facebook because lots of people my age and older that have money and might hire you to do jobs are on Facebook, can’t say that enough. Message them just out of the blue and say, Hey, I’m blank. Fill in your name and I’m an artist, or I’m a creative, or I’m a whatever the name of your business is and I’ve been watching you and seeing your stuff and you have some great content and you seem, uh, like a nice person and I’m just trying to build my network.

And if you’re up for it, I’d love to meet in person sometime. That’s it. Hit send. I know it feels weird and it feels scary, but you’re gonna be shocked. You’re going to be shocked. The people that will reply to you and say, yeah, I sure I’d love to meet up sometime, we can grab coffee. There’s two reasons for that. One is, you’re not asking for a sale, you’re not asking for anything. You’re just asking to meet them at a very easy accessible public, um, sort of short-term meeting. It’s just coffee. We’re just gonna meet for a few minutes. I just wanna introduce, introduce myself in person and I’ve admired your work or, uh, I like the company you work for, or whatever it is. And go to coffee with them. Now the second reason that works is because business people especially, or successful people, people who are a little farther along in years remember what it was like when they were starting and they remember what it was like to be young and scared and trying to get something off the ground.

And so they, in my experience, they fall over themselves to have these meetings with you. They wanna meet people and they know the value of building a personal network. So just asking for coffee goes farther than you might think. You will, you will get more yeses than you will get nos, I promise you don’t have to explain your whole life story cuz what they’re gonna do is go to your social media and look you up and kind of see what you’re about. And I’ll bet you like 90% of the time they’re gonna say yes. Okay. So now they’re like, yeah, sure, okay, you schedule the coffee meeting, you’re gonna find some cool coffee place wherever your your favorite place is or even ask them where, where’s your favorite place? Where do you like to go to coffee and meet ’em up there. Um, pay for their coffee.

Pay for their coffee. Um, and just talk to them. Now here’s the thing about a coffee meeting. It’s super important. Really all these meetings is you’re not trying to make a sale right now. You’re not trying to get anybody to hire you. You’re just making a connection, a human in-person connection. That’s it. The entire goal of that meeting is for them to remember name. That’s it. And to make a friend, hi, I just wanted to meet you. You have coffee, you talk about now if you don’t know what to talk about yourself, great. Cuz you don’t have to talk about yourself. You ask about them. Tell me about your business and tell me about like how long have you been doing this? And just ask them questions and they will talk about themselves. Now here’s the little, the key, um, for when you’re talking to people in person is if they’re, the more they’re talking about themselves, the more credit they will give you for being a good person.

<laugh>, it works like that. If they are talking about themselves, they will walk outta that meeting and they go, man, that person, man, they were just such a nice person because we love to talk about ourselves. Okay? So that’s coffee. That’s the first kind of meeting. Just sit there maybe at 30 minutes. That’s all you really want. And you want to make a connection. You want to introduce yourself, you want them to remember your name. That’s it. You walk away. Thanks a lot, appreciate it. And I’ll, I’ll, I may bump into you later on. That’s all. Okay. I can’t tell you how Val, how much that will pay off down the road. So that’s coffee. Now the next level up from that are your local Chamber of commerce meetings. If you don’t know what a chamber of commerce is, you can Google it. It’s e every community in America has a ch at least one Chamber of commerce.

Chambers of Commerce are great because the entire point of a chamber of commerce is to bring business people together so they can network with each other and then to help promote those businesses in their local area. That’s what a chamber of commerce is made to do. Um, communities have them, states have them. The United States has a chamber of commerce, but you just need to find your local ones. I live in a small town, pretty small town in Panama City, Florida. We have two chambers of commerce. We have the Panama City Beach and we have the Bay County Chamber of Commerce. So if we have two of them, I promise your community has one. There are two main meetings, two in-person meetings that all chambers of commerce do some version of these meetings. They will do what they call after hours meetings, which are just that they’ll be after the workday usually start about five or six o’clock.

They’ll pick a local restaurant or some event space or whatever and you just get together with people. That’s it. That’s literally it. There’s no presentations, there’s no nothing. You show up and people just meet. Okay? That’s, that’s an after hours meeting. The other one they’ll do is a more, uh, sort of formal meeting in my area, they call them first Fridays and the first Friday of every month, they get everybody together at our local university in this big hall. And they have like a, they have a guest speaker. They’ll do some kind of presentation, okay, fine, go. It doesn’t matter what the presentation is, it matters that you’re there and that you’re in the room. And there you can meet. Think about this. They’re getting all the business people, all the people with money, all the people with connections in your area. They’re bringing them all into one room just for you to go meet them.

Now you’re crazy if you don’t go take advantage of that, okay? I know it’s scary though. It’s scary for me. True confession, it’s still nerve-wracking for me after all these years to go into a chamber meeting like this and to a big group of people. I don’t know where to start. It seems like most of the people in the room already know each other and I may not know them and I understand all that. Totally get all that. But here’s the good thing about a chamber meeting is that because the entire purpose is for people to come and meet each other and talk about business, you can talk about business. They will come up to you and be like, Hey, so and so you’ll have a name tag on. They’ll give you like a little paper name tag. You put your name real big and I’ll say, what do you do?

Tell me about yourself. Like, what’s your business? What do you do? Now? That’s amazing, right? That’s what you want people to do is ask you about your business and then you can tell them about your business. And that’s gonna be a different video, uh, to tell you exactly what to say. But for the most part, you just talk about yourself, what you love, what your art form is, what your creative outlet is, and they understand what to do with that conversation. Cuz there’s chamber people have been chamber people forever and ever and ever. Okay? So just go there, be scared. They’re scared too. You go into the meeting and you just sort of wander around and eventually you’ll, you’ll kind of make eye contact with somebody. They’ll, they’ll come up to you and you’ll just, okay, you’ll start that conversation. The thing with a chamber meeting like this, like a first Friday meeting is you have to go more than once.

That’s true for all these, you have to go to multiple ones of these because here’s what’ll happen is you’ll, you’ll bump into somebody the first time and then you’ll go back later and you might see them again. Well, now you have a friend, right? So you’re not the only one who knows nobody there. You know them and they’ll see you and like, Hey, remember like it was me last time. Remember? Yeah, you’ll make that, you’ll reconnect. More often than not, they will connect you with somebody else. Okay? Hey, you know what I was thinking about you. Come here. I want you to meet this person over here. And they’ll go over and they’ll meet you. They’ll introduce you to somebody else who has a network and connections. That’s how the network goes. The other thing is when you go multiple times is that you will meet different people each time you go.

So this is a double whammy. You’re gonna make friends long-term connections, you’ll see them over and over again. Every time you go, you’ll see more and more people you’ve already met. Therefore, you’ll be more comfortable, you’ll have more connections and they will start introducing you to the people you don’t know. Okay? That’s the tip for that. Now, here’s one other tip for chamber meetings. All chamber of commerce meetings, period, every time 1000% is you must have business cards in your pocket. Physical business cards. I taught college for almost 10 years, and I know what you’re thinking out there. If you’re 19 or 20 years old, you’re think, don’t, isn’t, isn’t a business card something my grandfather did answer? Yes it is, but it still works. Here’s why. At a chamber meeting, you walk into a chamber meeting and you meet somebody and they’re interested in you and they’re interested in your art and they wanna know more about you, which is awesome.

What are you gonna do? You’re gonna pull out your iPhone and go, Hey, let’s, let’s share, let’s share contact info. Now, you might do that if they say it to you, but isn’t that like a step too far at this point? You just met this person. They don’t need phone number. You don’t need their phone number. So how are you gonna get them to remember you? Because they’re gonna have met like 50 people that day, and then they’re gonna go back, they’re gonna go back to work and they’re gonna forget all about you. But here’s what you do is you hand them a business card. They’ll even ask you, do you have a card? Give them a card. They’ll put it in their pocket, they’ll put it in their folder, they’ll throw it in the backseat of their car, whatever. And then at some point, they’re gonna go back into that pocket, they’re gonna clean out the backseat of their car, whatever, and they’re gonna see your card.

And when they see your card, they’re gonna remember that conversation they had with you and now you’ve had two touchpoints with them. Always have paper, like physical business cards with you when you go to a chamber meeting. Okay? So the coffee, the next one is chamber meetings. The first Fridays are very informal. You have a drink, you talk you, but still have your cards <laugh>. And then the other one is the more formal meetings like the first Fridays. Okay? That brings me to my next level. So the once you’ve done those two and you’re ready to move up to the next level is speaking events where you are a speaker. Now, you might have just had a heart attack and you might be freaking out right now, as I Kevin, I I’m never gonna be able to speak in front of people. You can speak in front of people, I promise I’m gonna do a whole series of videos.

As a matter of fact, on public speaking, I used to be a te a public speaking teacher. So I’m gonna give you a lot on that one that I don’t have time to do right now. But you can do this. Speaking events, your Chamber of Commerce and other organizations in your area have, have all kinds of opportunities for people to speak to groups of people. It may be small groups of people, it might be a big group of of people. But here’s the thing, if you can get some basic public speaking skills and you can show up and you can, you can speak to a group even for 10 minutes that does massive credit to your name and to your business because most human beings are deathly afraid to speak in public. So if they see you speaking in public, then they think you’re smart.

They think you’re competent. They credit you with all of this intelligence and all of this confidence because they’re afraid to do that. One of the, uh, when I was first starting out in about 36, 37 years old, I was looking for a big career change. And I was having to, I was, I was coming out of my, my business, my property maintenance business, and I was moving into a whole other field. I knew nobody. And so I started showing up at these kinds of meetings and they had a meeting called Idea Camp where you just come, it’s once a month and they have three speakers and each of those speakers speak for 15 minutes on some interesting topic. They let you choose the topic. Super, super flexible. And I signed up for every one of these things. I signed up for every one of ’em, and I would always go and I’d find something, some book I had been reading, some YouTube video I saw that I thought would be helpful to the group.

And I would show up and I would talk for 15 minutes. Now, I can tell you with certainty that those meetings that I had, I have made connections in Weah films and those have led to business. They have led to money, they have led to projects. Those, those speaking engagements I did almost 10 years ago. I have one coming up in a month. I’m, or no, this month I’m doing one, I’m doing one this month I still do these things. Okay? So they’re always looking for speakers, which means you can always get on the docket. They’re never gonna say no because they need speakers and everybody’s, uh, scared to speak. So find speaking events that you can go to. Start with small ones and then move up. I’ve done them everywhere from 10 people in a room to 400 plus people in a room, and it always pays off.

People will come up to you afterwards and they’ll say, they’ll introduce themselves to you and you’re gonna have your business card, right? And they’re gonna say, wow, that was really great. Tell me more about your business or Hey, or, or, come over here and talk to me about this project I have. I’ve been looking for somebody. I can’t tell you how many times it’s happened to me. I walk in, I speak and they walk up and go, Hey, I got a project for you and I think, uh, I think you might be a good fit. And you go, great. Here’s my card. Want to do coffee? Right? And now you go back to the first kind of meeting and now you’re building a network. Now you’re building a network. Okay? So that’s speaking engagements, the last one and probably the highest level and, and the one that costs you some money and usually costs you some money.

But once you become a good speaker or you get known for speaking at things, you can start going to conferences, conferences, conferences as we know are these big gatherings of people around a particular topic. So it might be tourism, it might be, um, technology, it might be, uh, it might be like in my field, videography. Okay? You’ll go to a conference that’s just about videography. All the video camera companies come there, all the software com. This is great because you find the conferences that are in your genre are in your art form in your industry, and you, you can start just going to them. Now, it does cost money, okay? You gotta go, you, it costs money. And this is why it’s the highest level. Save up the money and go to these meetings. Sit in on the workshops, sit in on the trainings, hang around.

They always have like these after hours and cocktail parties. They have all these intentional networking events you can go to. You go to these things and you meet people. Now what you’re doing is conferences bring people from all over the country, certainly all over your state. Now you’re not just talking to local connections, you’re making connections outside your little small network. It’s awesome. And you do exactly the same thing. You have your card, you talk to them, you okay? That is awesome. Now, the, the gold standard is to be invited to speak at a conference. That’s why you need to practice your speaking skills, uh, at a low level, uh, small groups where it’s not as scary. And then you move up. So I’ve spoken at big conferences like the Visit Florida Travel tourism conference, the state level conference. I’ve spoken at conferences all over the country.

It now, by, by the way, that didn’t start, I’ve been doing this for 20 plus years speaking in public. So I, after you get good at it, you will start. Now, the good thing about that is if you speak at a conference, I guarantee if you do a good job, you will be invited to another conference happens every time I go, I, I speak because everybody needs speakers. Everybody, because so many people are afraid to speak in public. When you can do it even marginally better than everybody else, you become a hot commodity. They want you to come. Now, the, those are the big speaking events and the the big in-person meeting type things, you can do coffee, just basic coffee. Or once you get to know somebody, go to lunch every once in a while if you, uh, really get to know them, go out and have a drink after work or whatever.

But those little meetings like that and you don’t talk about business, you just go and you hang out and you make a good solid human connection. So that’s that one. Chamber meetings, then speaking events and conferences, these things are like magic. Now, once you do all that and you start to make a name for yourself, here’s what you do After you have finished a meeting, any meeting, every meeting every time, if you make a connection, you’re gonna send that person an email, okay? Because you’re gonna get their business card. Don’t wait for them to send you on. You send them an email, you send them that email and I want you to say this, hi blank, whatever their name is, I really appreciate meeting you the other day. It was great talking with you. And here’s the key, okay? Then you’re gonna say PS and you want to mention something about them personally that they said in your conversation.

It looks like this. Say I go to a meeting and I meet somebody and I go and their name is Sally and they told me about a vacation there that’s coming up. They’re going to Cabo and they’re gonna do some deep sea fishing that they love, they love deep sea fishing. And if I’m listening carefully, I’ll remember that about them. I will send this email and say, Hey Sally, I love meeting you the other day. It was great talking with you at the chamber, uh, the chamber event. And I hope we can, we can talk more later. Thanks a lot Kevin. Right? So no sales, no sales, nothing, no elevator pitches, making a connection. And then I go, PS I hope you enjoy that deep sea fishing trip in Cabo. I hear it’s great you do that. I guarantee you will get a response nearly 100% of the time. And now you’ve made a real connection because that little Ps at the end where you say something personal about them, it shows you we’re listening to them, it shows you we’re paying attention. It shows you cared, it shows you wanted to actually make a human connection, not just a sales connection. That’s the key. You do those connections and you start doing that over time. And I will promise you, it will make you money and it will build your business. You can do this. I love you.