Top 5 Networking Tips

The ability to connect with others is a large part of personal and professional success. If you don’t have this skill, get working on it! Even if you are not a people person, it doesn’t matter. It can all be learned. I have used these skills to get:

  1. my dream job
  2. FREE place to stay in Hawaii
  3. Free hotel room stays
  4. Free ski lift tickets
  5. Free Lakers basketball tickets

The list goes on and on. Have you noticed that 4 out of the 5 items in the list above start with the word ‘free?’ 🙂

You don’t need to own a private plane; you only need to know people who do!

Some of the dream jobs I have landed by networking, or even just doing in-person ‘cold-calling’:

ABC News weather producer

Time Out Magazine Beijing Food Writer

Guest Judge on Food Network show “Cupcake Wars”

Pastry Chef for the Four Seasons AND Ritz-Carlton hotels

‘Stagiare’ (intern) for chez Hédiard and Lenôtre in Paris (AMAZING ‘haute gastronomie’ institutions in France).

Use what your mama gave you, and then augment with skills you learn, and leverage it.

This is an uncommon example, but a friend of mine, who describes herself as wholesome with above average looks, says that her physical endowments have gotten her free food, free gas and many other things; since the age of 15. She is not dumb at all – she’s a pediatrician. But the morale of this story is not to bank on your looks – but to ASK.

“If you don’t ask, you don’t get.” – a really smart person


:::TOP 5 NETWORKING TIPS:::

  1. Face Time – get in front of the person. Do whatever you can to literally be face to face with them. I have joined countless conferences, driven hours, hopped on planes; whatever I needed to do to GET in front.
  2. Sell Yourself. Don’t be shy about letting the other person know about you and your key selling points. After all, you have to maximize those few precious moments of face time you have with them!
  3. Be Memorable. Luckily for me, I am Asian and 6 feet tall. But that is not the only way to stand out. Think about what makes YOU unique and tell people about it.
  4. Smile. Whenever you ask for something with a smile, you double your chances of getting a yes. Flaunt those pearly whites.
  5. Be Authentic. Most important of all, don’t rush into new networking relationships. The key here is to nurture a personal connection that will serve you for many years. Be humble; and don’t ask for money (or a job), but ask for advice.

:: 1. FACE TIME ::

My most memorable ‘face-time’ moments…

I remember when I met Leslie Brenner, the LA Times food editor. She was doing a MediaBistro panel on food writing. I ended up having a fully paid dinner with her and some other attendees at the Hungry Cat in downtown LA – that was AWESOME.

I also met author Amy Tan, another idol of mine, who is the author of “The Joy Luck Club.” She was doing a talk in Pasadena, California. Then exactly one week later, I was in Paris on holiday, sitting in the famous Ladurée macaron and tea shop. I looked up at my reflection in the mirror, and right behind me – there she was! I gathered up the courage to approach her (face time!) and she thought I was a famous actress.

And then I ended up getting to interview her a second time because she was in this band called the Rock Bottom Remainders, and they were performing at the LA Times Book Festival. Her famous bandmates were Stephen King, Dave Barry, Scott Turow, and a plethora of other literary giants. I might even have her home number saved somewhere (she lived in San Francisco at the time). I have a sudden urge to re-read her famous novel again, maybe even watch the movie of the same name. By the way, I also got to meet Russell Wong, one of the really sexy main characters in that movie.

As a second generation Chinese American myself, the mother-daughter relationships Tan describes in her novel are so accurate – and a lot of her material was based on real-life accounts of her own mother!

In the progression of my career toward the culinary world, I also met celebrity chefs Martin Yan, Emeril Lagasse, (that was amazing, I cooked with him! He fed me shrimp!), Ming Tsai, the late Anthony Bourdain, (he was speaking in Santa Barbara, I have a picture with him somewhere I need to dig up), and also French TV chef and personality Julie Andrieu. She was at the Festival des Livres Culinaires (Cookbook Festival) in Paris. That was insane.

You will be scared to go up to them, and that is natural. DO IT ANYWAYS. There will never be a perfect moment.

Next week, join me for detailed strategies on Step #2 – SELL YOURSELF. Until then, stay safe, stay home, and work on your face time using the actual Face Time application during confinement.

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