Meet people with Twoom, slippers at networking events
Plus: Sisters who kicked down the door of the US medical establishment
:::Issue #26. Why are you receiving this? You’re friends with Cam Houser or you just joined the Minimum Viable Video waitlist. This is where I share uncommon stories of video, entrepreneurship, and psychology:::
🎟 Welcome Nicola, Monica, C, Abby, Cathy, Yoelvis, Nies, Byron, Holly, Thomas, J, Gwen, Luciana, S, B, Sunil, James, Glen, Scott, BP 🎟
Greetings, rulebreakers and actiontakers-
In the U.S., yesterday was the day we celebrate Martin Luther King, who was one hell of a rulebreaker.
What I’ve been up to:
💼 Naseem Malik, a hiring/recruiting entrepreneur (a Learn From Rulebreakers reader) and I hosted a Linkedin Live session for job seekers needing help with video. Video, whether by way of Zoom interviews or job applications asking for pre-recorded videos, is becoming a larger and larger part of the job hunt. The “Getting Hired with Video” session + Naseem’s profile is here.
🌵 Infusing tequila, part 13: Apples. We’ll know how this experiment turns out in a couple of days.
How to meet people and grow your network during WFH: Andrew Yu’s “Twoom” Strategy
You've been working from home for months. Inviting new contacts for coffee or running into industry influencers at conferences feels like a thing of a distant past.
In this new reality, you still have to expand your network and make new connections. And you can—even from your couch!
Andrew Yu, former product manager at LinkedIn, developed the right approach. It's called the Twoom Strategy: You take a conversation that you're having on Twitter or any other social network and take it to Zoom.
The underlying belief is that an informal interaction that happens online can lead to a real, meaningful relationship.
What sparked the idea for this strategy was an article Andrew read online, written by a product leader he admired. Instead of only consuming the content and moving on, he took the next step and sent the author a direct message on Twitter. He emphasized what specifically resonated with him in the article and asked for a chat. The product leader that "yes," and they took the conversation to Zoom. Andrew got a 30-min 1:1 conversation with an expert, others only dream about speaking with. The insider insights he received made for a huge ROI.
And it all started with a simple Twitter DM.
However, that's the exact thing that trips up most people. Cold messaging someone you don't know is stressful. Most people never pass that hurdle.
How do you write that first message? How do you start the conversation?
Andrew has two tips:
1. Speak to them as if you already know them. There's no need for an intro or some awkward pickup line. That's what actually causes friction. Pretend this is already the third time you're talking to them.
2. Always provide value. This can be as simple as telling the other person what resonated with you in their work. Give them feedback on a recent piece of content. You can even make a small suggestion or add an idea. Now it's time to try it out! Pick one person you'd love to speak with and ask them for a Zoom call. You'll be surprised how many people are happy to chat with you.
SO to Andrew for letting me share his strategy :)
If you want to see a video version of this, check it:
"My networking tip: WEAR SLIPPERS"
In response to last week’s prompt, reader Chris shared a unique pre-pandemic take on networking attire. Below, he shares the tip and the upsides of his approach.
My networking tip: WEAR SLIPPERS
When I networked in the film/tv industry, I always wore comfy slippers to the events (Hef slippers, not surfer dude). The slippers worked in multiple ways:
1. Instant icebreaker - instead of leading with awkward greetings, you can approach people with the slippers at the forefront "Hey, nice shoes!" (then they look at yours). Conversely, it works for the other person because they have something to ask you about "What's the story with the slippers?"
2. Instantly recognizable - anyone who wanted to talk to me just needed to look for the slippers. "Hey, have you seen the guy wearing slippers?" works better than, "Have you seen the guy wearing the navy blazer?" And in fact, people at these events would seek me out after hearing the story from someone they talked to just so they could get the story straight from the horse's mouth.
3. First-impression control - my footwear choice signaled to people that I had a sense of style and class (they weren't those cheap hotel slippers, these were plush), and that I wasn't beholden to societal conventions. Super effective when you're trying to demonstrate how 'offbeat' and 'out-of-the-box' you can be.
4. Instant recall - the slippers gave people an anchor to remember me by, making it easier for them to recall who I was after the event. Whether they remembered my name or face didn't really matter, I became the "slippers guy" and they remembered our conversation. "Navy Brooks Brothers blazer guy" just doesn't quite have the same ring to it.
I know, I know. Lucky for me, the film/tv community is pretty lax about dress code (unless you're at an award show). I'll admit, the slippers won't work in every setting.
But the point is, have a gimmick.
When networking in a business environment, you'd probably prefer to keep things professional and show that you're serious and legit. Slippers don't send that message, but you can don an item of clothing with visual appeal that is unique to you, something that others in the crowd likely won't be putting on display. Maybe an audaciously colored (aka salmon) suit? Perhaps a button on your lapel? Or, depending on the event, a baseball cap with a funny, but appropriate, message?
Whatever it is, make sure it's different enough to satisfy the 4 points mentioned above and I guarantee you'll be the belle of the ball at your next networking event ;)
Just don't go overboard or you'll end up as comedic relief rather than their next go-to contact.
It takes some confidence pull this off, but working up the courage to attempt a move like this is what gives you the confidence in the first place.
If you chafe at the term “gimmick”, reframe it as experimenting with some unique approaches until you find your “signature move”.
Thanks for sharing, Chris!
Rulebreakers: Physicians Elizabeth and Emily Blackwell
A key element of approaching the world like a rulebreaker is to convert obstacles into strengths. In the 1850s, two sisters wanted to be physicians at a time when culture and society were at odds with women holding the role.
The oldest sister, after lots of roadblocks and dead ends, was eventually admitted to medical school as a prank. Her admittance was literally a joke.
Did she retreat, embarrassed and scared?
Nope. She brushed it off, claimed her spot in the class, and eventually graduated at the top of her cohort.
Salute to Elizabeth Blackwell and her sister Emily, two of the first women physicians in the United States.
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Just for fun: our cat Pinky swaying to the beat…