Patrick Bet-David Knows How To Get A Meeting With Any CEO

male brown shoes

Meeting with important people can be challenging because we’re all so busy. This creative method will “get your foot in the door” at any company and with any CEO.


  1. Make a list of people to use the method on
  2. Get a box
  3. Put one shoe in the box
  4. Write a handwritten letter to the person (Watch the video for template)


  1. No stilettos.
  2. No smelly shoes
  3. No cologne

Watch the video above for more on how this method will work no matter who you’re trying to see.

8 Common Networking Faux Pas to Avoid


Networking gets a bad rap. But, as with so many things, it’s usually just the bad apples who spoil it for everyone else. As someone who has attended (and hosted) literally thousands of networking meetings and events — and is often referred to as a ‘master networker,’ for better or worse – I’m going to let you in on a few secrets of bad networking. You know, the kind that spoils it for the rest of us.

And remember, if you see yourself on my list of networking annoyances, it’s probably time to take a hard look at yourself and correct your networking wrongs before you’re labeled “THAT guy (or gal)” for good.

  1. You ask for a meeting, sale, call or email but don’t take the initiative. Let’s say you’re in sales and ask someone to introduce you to a business owner whom they know. Said contact makes an introduction and your response is, “Call me when you can.” (Sound the loud annoying buzzer…WRONG!) If you are in the position of wanting something, it is 100 percent your job to make the call, go to his/her office, follow up, etc. If you’re not willing to take the initiative and keep the momentum moving, do not ask for the introduction, call, email or sale. Period.
  2. You card blast. Ever attend a networking event and meet that person who hands you a card before you ask for one — and then races around the room doing the same thing to everyone else? If that’s you, throw away your cards on your own, because they are going to land in the trash anyway. If you’re looking to turn someone off before opening your mouth, that’s a surefire way to do it.
  3. You pretend we’ve met. Have you ever gotten an email or voicemail proclaiming “It was so nice to meet you!” and you’re racking your brain to figure out who this person is? That’s probably because you don’t know. The person likely got your information in a way that you didn’t permit, and then begins to try to sell you their agenda by pretending there’s a rapport between you. It is never wise to start any relationship with a lie, no matter whether it’s business or personal, big or small.
  4. You can’t stop talking. Want to know one of the best ways to get someone’s attention? Ask them questions, genuinely listen, and follow up with sincere responses. No other words need come from you. The more you talk about yourself without being asked, the less the person on the receiving end is likely to care.
  5. You ask a stranger for a referral. If I don’t know you, I can’t like or trust you and therefore, I will not refer you business. Hence, if you meet me in passing, don’t ask me to find business for you. It takes work to create that type of relationship, so don’t expect it within five minutes.
  6. Your eyes are all over the room. Ever been in a conversation with someone whose eyes are darting around the room? Did you feel like they really cared about what you were saying? Doubtful. Pay attention when you’re talking with someone. At that time, no one else matters. Don’t be the person who commits the sin of always looking for what’s “better.” Feel free to politely excuse yourself whenever the conversation is complete.
  7. You take before you give. Looking for a job? A friend? A date? A deal? Here’s a tip: Before you ask someone for anything, consider what you can offer to them first. Just asking the question, “Is there anything I can do to help you?” will go a long way. People like to be reciprocal, so don’t treat interactions like one-sided transactions. What goes around comes around.
  8. You’re a horse disguised as a unicorn. What looks like a horse, has wings, and a horn atop it’s a head? Did you guess a unicorn? If so, you’re correct! Don’t be a networking unicorn, because unicorns are not real. Be yourself; be real. Take off the wings and the horn and be a horse if that’s what you are. People can see through it.

If you feel called out, take a minute to identify which sins you’ve committed and work on them. Improvement is always better than stagnation. There are always new people to meet and relationships to deepen. Just like you’d tackle paying down your credit card debt, start with the habit that’s most offensive, and work your way down.

Darrah Brustein is the co-founder of Equitable Payments, a merchant services brokerage, and founder of Network Under 40, a monthly networking event for young professionals. Darrah recently authored Finance Whiz Kids, a series of kids book that teach the basics of financial education.

The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched StartupCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.

How to Engineer Some Serendipity at SXSW



SXSW is one of the only times a year you get some of the smartest, wealthiest and most powerful people in the world all in one place in a relaxed environment. You didn’t really spend thousands of $$ to come to Austin to get drunk with a bunch of people you already know, did you? Engineering your own serendipity at SXSW isn’t that hard. All it takes is a little work, a little hustle and a little “luck” but it can get you the whole ROI of your trip in one night. I put “luck” in quotes because you create this by being prepared and placing yourself in the right positions.

rsz_incontentad2Right Place, Right Time

Take my Saturday afternoon and evening for example. At about 5pm I was “air traffic controlled” by one of my mentors, Larry Chiang, to a private mixer being hosted by Goodwin Procter taking place at Parkside on 6th. I arrived a little early to beat the line (always smart) and grabbed a spot at the bar to wait for the festivities to begin. While waiting none other than my good friend Suraj Kumar Rajwani, Founding Partner of Double Rock VC, sat down next to me with his friend Lou Kerner, Founding Manager of the Social Internet Fund.

Suraj gave me a glowing introduction then the three of us hit it off. It turns out that I was the first person Lou had ever spoken with that had previously heard about his semi-stealth startup. This is where you could call it luck that I happen to meet Lou and happen to know about his startup, but really it’s because I put a lot of work into knowing my space very well. In this case it gave me a little more credibility from Lou.

One thing to keep in mind is how you carry yourself when with people out of your league. Being kind and respectful is a given, but what is less known is the best thing to do is shut up and listen. This doesn’t mean be silent, but don’t try to dominate the conversation or talk a lot about your accomplishments. No one cares. Instead listen, learn and interject with intelligent answers and snippets when the time is right. Trust me this can go along way.

Go With The Flow

Anyways so after Suraj, Lou and I spoke for a little while, we began to mingle at the party. They made plenty of great introductions for me (thanks guys!) including one that led to a partner at Goodwin Proctor agreeing to speak about law for startups at our next conference. Score, closing deals at the party! At this point the mixer was winding down and I figured it was time to head our separate ways.

(Alpha males at events signal cues during networking parties. Asking if you are overstaying your welcome is great etiquette.)

Boy, I couldn’t have been more wrong. The night was just beginning.

Suraj invited me to come with him down the street to the KPCB Startup Salon taking place at the Iron Cactus. This is where you throw all previous plans out the window and go with the flow. After we arrived to the Iron Cactus, I decided to take off from Suraj for a while because you never want a VIP to feel like you’re clinging to them. It was off to work the room on my own. I ended up meeting so many awesome founders, angels, and VCs. All the while, I never stopped hustling or trying to close deals.

Surely I had gotten the complete ROI of my SXSW in this night alone so far, but Suraj had one more trick up his sleeve. He said that Sean Parker was holding a private Spotify Party at ACL. I was very grateful to Suraj for telling me about the party but didn’t want him to feel burdened with another +1. This is where a little ingenuity comes into play.

Know the Back Doors

I had two options. One) try to BS and say I was meeting someone on the list or Two) sneak in. Ninety nine percent of the time I go with option one but this party was too VIP so I had to go with option two. I knew there was a back elevator that went from outside the W Hotel up to ACL. All I did to get in was take this elevator to the party and walk out like I was supposed to be there. It’s amazing what walking with confidence will do.

This party ended up being the pinnacle of my whole week. Hell, maybe my life so far. Once inside I ended up rubbing shoulders with the likes of Mark Cuban, Ashton Kutcher, Coolio and of course Sean Parker. It was amazing. Now at a party like this, my previous advice about shutting up and listening comes even more into play. I gained a number of great nuggets of wisdom, heard some stories you just won’t anywhere else and found out Coolio was cooking dinner for everyone back in his room at 3 am. No, I did not try to attend, but if you caught any of Coolio on season one of Food Network’s Celebrity Cook-Off, you can bet those in attendance we’re in for a treat.

All in all, that night taught me you can never plan for what’s going to happen next at SXSW, but you can be prepared. Things surely would have been much different if I didn’t have someone like Larry helping me out, previous relationships from using similar tactics at other events, or didn’t know how to interact with VIPs. Engineer yourself some serendipity at SXSW next year by putting the work in beforehand and always having the right attitude.

3 Ways To Build A Credible Network

Lazy networking

Entrepreneurship gets easier over time if you have a strong network. As you become more successful you also become more credible, and other successful and credible people will want to associate themselves with you. But business owners lead busy lives, and sometimes they need to push themselves to effectively foster these relationships. Here are three steps you can take to build your own network.


My network has grown extensively as I meet other entrepreneurs and publicize my projects. The snowball effect has started to kick in: the more people I meet, the faster my extended network grows. I divide my efforts into two areas: business and after-work engagements.

In 2013, I set up a board of advisers. We’ve held two meetings so far. One board member is a competitor of my manufacturing company RoyalPak, another hired me for my first job, and yet another was the broker on an acquisition I considered. My board has already recommended three potential acquisitions in various industries.

Four major lenders have approached me to help out, financially or otherwise, on future projects. They found me mostly through word of mouth.

My closest friends are also entrepreneurs. On our off hours, we act as a support system for each other, we talk a lot of shop, and we make introductions when appropriate.


I hear and read a lot about the value of contacts, and how they can be leveraged. Most entrepreneurs would argue that a huge network has its advantages, but it’s not easy to capitalize on. Much like owning a business, it takes a lot of time and a lot of hard work. That’s why I use the term ‘investing’ when I talk about building a network.

As the owner of an events business, I’ve been thinking for quite some time about how to appeal to small business owners who, like me, are looking to invest in networking but need a more targeted approach. Events are a crucial part of the entrepreneurial experience. They’re places to learn about other entrepreneurs and make connections that can help make or break your company, and I recommend you invest time and energy into attending them. But certain types of events eventually outlive their usefulness.

If you’re a growth-oriented entrepreneur, you know what I’m talking about. We’ve all sat through keynotes and panels, some of which contained tidbits of useful information or showcased highly successful business owners, but ultimately leave you wanting to bust out into the lobby. And we’ve been thrilled or disappointed, depending on whom we were able to connect with after the event.


We’re all busy with operations, and we occasionally need to step out and converse with other entrepreneurs from different industries to talk about common successes and challenges, with the potential to agree on synergistic business opportunities.

To find (or create) events that are worth your time, try reaching out to your personal network as a research play. Most small, focused, invite-only events are tough to search, which is what usually makes them valuable. Who might be aware of them, so they can refer you to them? (Having an “in” never hurts either, of course.)

For my part, I created The Entrepreneurship Society to stage quarterly invite-only events in Toronto that bring together established, growth-oriented business owners for evenings of high-level networking. Five featured entrepreneurs will speak for a few short minutes about the ups and downs of their business lives, but the events are ultimately about talking shop.

A big part of entrepreneurship is developing a network and figuring out how to use it to help expand your business. Finding more like-minded, growth-oriented owners is a worthwhile investment.

Bill Hennessey owns two distinct, Toronto businesses: RoyalPak and Oxford Beach. RoyalPak manufactures and packages a range of cleaning products at a 17,000-square-foot facility. By day, Oxford Beach runs experiential marketing campaigns to help clients reach their target audiences. By night, it creates, promotes and executes events for young professionals. He was a finalist in the 2012 FuEL Awards celebrating Canada’s best young entrepreneurs.

The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched StartupCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.

5 Ways To Have Better Business Conversations

what are you talking about?

Being able to communicate with confidence is a game changer. It’s the difference between getting people to believe in you, or causing people to forget about you. If your customers believe you, they’ll buy your product. If venture capitalists are inspired by your passion, they’ll invest in your company. If your staff trusts your vision, you don’t just have a team — you’ve sparked a movement.

As an executive coach and business correspondent, I’ve worked with and interviewed scores of top entrepreneurs. Though they excel at building businesses, one thing many struggle with is basic interpersonal communication skills. In fact, many can be painfully awkward in public.

Is this you? Do you have a minor case of social anxiety? Are you more comfortable online rather than off?

If so, take a deep breath. No, really, take a deep breath: I have good news.

Being less awkward is easier than you might think. When you build your confidence, you can become a better leader and form deeper relationships, both of which can generate success for your company. Here are five surefire steps you can take to improve your communication swag and become less awkward.


People are always going to ask you some version of: “What do you do?

Have a clean answer ready to go – with one caveat: exhale only once.

By the time you run out of breath, you should have completed your answer. If not, you’re blabbing. If you’re clear and concise, your reward will be hearing, “Tell me more about that.” That’s your cue, and permission, to go deeper.


Be like a politician and, come hell or high water, stay on message. Have you ever noticed that regardless of what politicians are asked by reporters, their answer is often unrelated to the question? This is because they have an agenda. So do you.

I’m not asking you to be inauthentic. Just know what’s most important to you and what you want your listener to remember.

Politicians typically have three to five talking points and they don’t stray far from these. You can use this same approach whether you’re speaking with investors, customers or employees.


The easiest way to build immediate rapport with someone is by being interested in them. So take some pressure off yourself when you meet a stranger by being a good listener.

Here’s the deal: people love to talk about themselves. Take advantage of this. If you want to be the most interesting person in the room, play the role of journalist and be a great listener.

Try paraphrasing someone’s answers back to them for clarity. Provide guiding cues like, “tell me more about that.” Listen closely enough to create value. Don’t be afraid to make an offer like making an introduction or suggesting a book or app they may like.


Nothing is worse that being perceived as indifferent, unless you’re a hipster living in Williamsburg. So elevate your communication skills without even opening your mouth.

Use your hands to make points (but be careful not to knock anything over) and make firm eye contact with others when they’re speaking. If you’re interested, nod your head to show you’re in agreement or smile. A little goes a long way.


Whether you’re meeting someone for coffee, attending a dinner party or having drinks, learn all you can about him or her in advance via LinkedIn, their website, or articles that mention that person’s name.

If you’re attending a conference, find out who else is attending and make sure to follow the conference’s hashtag. Get in the loop.

This creates an opportunity to form context and an alleyway to success. There’s more connective tissue out there than you can imagine. So find the connections and use them to feel familiar. 

Antonio Neves is an executive coach, speaker and award-winning business journalist. He’s the founder of the consultancy THINQACTION and the co-founder of international accelerator, The Ignition Lab.

The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, the YEC recently launched #StartupLab, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses via live video chats, an expert content library and email lessons. 

Do You Make These Networking Mistakes?




“We live in an era that affords many new entrepreneurs the opportunity to redefine work-life balance. But even though your life might be the most outlandish saga since Deep Space 9, talking about your personal life for a moment too long can morph “Hmmm…interesting guy,” into “This person is full of themselves.” Don’t over-emphasize personal stories when business is what brought you together.” – Kent Healy | Founder and CEO, The Uncommon Life


“When you meet someone in a networking environment, it is important to follow up by email within 24 hours or connect through Twitter or Facebook. We live in a fast-paced world, so if you meet someone for the first time and send an email four days later to say thanks and follow up, the timing of your note communicates, “The time I spent with you really wasn’t that important.’ Be quicker.”


“If I send an email or direct message on Twitter and get back a verification link, I’m immediately turned off. Setting up barriers in networking doesn’t make sense when the point is to enable easier communication! Be personal, don’t act like a robot. Those who don’t have enough time should be outsourcing non-personal tasks more to make the time to connect without all the hoop-jumping.”


“Sometimes we get so passionate when talking about our products, it seems as if no one else is in the room. That passion is great and people like to hear others who love their jobs. However, it is important not to dominate the entire conversation and allow the other person to share what is important to them. The more you listen, the higher likelihood of discovering a business problem you can solve.”

– Lawrence Watkins | Founder & CEO, Great Black Speakers

“You know who they are! The ones who are at these events looking for people to help them get started with their business, they’re still unclear about what exactly they do, or they don’t want to tell you their business idea because they haven’t started and they don’t want you stealing their millions. They’re immediately closed off to any type of relationship unless you can help them.”

– Angela Pan | Owner/Photographer, Angela B Pan Photography

“A big no-no at any networking event is walking up to an individual or group and chucking your card to everyone within seconds. It feels like you are desperately fishing for leads in the hopes that if your card touches enough hands, you might make a sale. It would be just as effective for these people to walk into the middle of the room, launch their cards into the air, and yell, “52 pickup!””

– Seth Kravitz | CEO, Technori

“As Woody Allen said, “80 percent of success is showing up.” Many business owners (including myself) can at times feel too busy to attend events, but that’s a mistake. It’s critical to get out of the office, bounce ideas off of other people, get fresh perspectives, and meet potential clients, vendors, and employees. None of that can happen if you don’t show up.”

– Phil Frost | Co-Founder and Managing Partner, Main Street ROI

“A serious networking error is focusing too much on what you can get out of an interaction. If you meet somebody by asking for something from them, it’s a huge turn-off. However, if you offer up your services to help them achieve their goals without asking for anything in return, chances are they’ll offer to do the same, and they’ll enjoy working with you. Don’t bargain or trade, focus on giving.”

– Travis Steffen | Founder, WorkoutBOX

“Networking isn’t just about you – you should be thinking about how you can help the other person too. Why would this stranger want to help you if you’re only in the relationship for yourself? Think about how your skills and expertise might be useful to your networking contacts and give, give, give before asking for something in return.”

– Heather Huhman | Founder & President, Come Recommended

“Many events share attendee lists through Eventbrite or other sites. The biggest mistake one can make is not being thoughtful about who you target, and then not being prepared to speak with those folks. The more that you can make the conversation personal and thoughtful, the more likely you are to succeed when meeting new people. Take advantage of great resources like LinkedIn and prepare wisely!”

– Aaron Schwartz | Founder and CEO, Modify Watches

“Too many business owners view networking as an opportunity to sell themselves or their company. Networking is about making connections that can lead to sales down the road. The biggest turnoff is when someone starts talking pricing and “What can we do for you?” at an event. Network, meet people and use the follow up as a way to set up a sales meeting. If you network properly, the sales will come.”

– Aron Schoenfeld | Founder & CEO, Do It In Person LLC

The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, the YEC recently launched #StartupLab, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses via live video chats, an expert content library and email lessons. 

3 Steps To Building A Strong Network

As any entrepreneur will tell you, there are few things in the world of business that are more valuable than a great network. After all, you’re only as strong as your weakest link. And when it comes time to start a new enterprise, expand a company, raise funds or even find a co-founder, you’ll be relying on the value of your network to help you accomplish these milestones. Here are three steps to make sure you have the strongest network possible:


No, I do not mean wear a wool sweater in Phoenix in August. I mean put yourself out there. Unless you are one of those rare people who can meet a random stranger on the street, strike up a conversation and get a stranger’s life story within 30 seconds of meeting them, approaching someone you have never met before can be nerve-racking.

But if you want to build a great network, you have to do it — a lot. The more you do it, the better you will get. Make it your goal to get people talking about themselves, while genuinely listening to what they are saying. If you fake it, they will know and you will have burned a potential valuable connection. Dale Carnegie’s classic “How To Win Friends and Influence People” is an incredible resource built largely on this idea. If you haven’t read it already, I highly suggest you do. Twice.

Next time you meet someone new, smile, introduce yourself and ask a simple question; i.e. “Where are you from?” Proceed with small follow-up questions. You will find that they talk at length and naturally warm up to you. It’s basic, but it works.


Far too often, aspiring entrepreneurs get to a point in their business when they need advice but have no clue who to go to for direction. I call this the I-wouldn’t-even-know-where-to-start dilemma. It is the result of one simple fact: they do not have a network.

You have to put in the necessary time to build genuine relationships with the right people. Successful people are always connected to other successful people. Join local business networking groups or venture associations (i.e. Los Angeles Venture Association, LAVA) and immerse yourself in rooms full of them. You want to be a millionaire? Surround yourself with millionaires. You want to be a drug addict? Surround yourself with drug addicts. This might sound ridiculous, but it’s absolutely true.

On a related but important note, do not go to someone you have recently met and start asking for favors. It will appear that you’re trying to take advantage of them and they will pick up on it. Invest the time to build real relationships, and thus, your network.


You know the person who says they are going to do something, then doesn’t? You do not want to be that person. In fact, you want to be the opposite of that person.

When you meet someone, even if you do not think they can help you directly, ask if you can keep in touch. Send a simple follow-up email the next day saying that it was nice to meet them and that you look forward to staying in touch. Finally, stay in touch.

Just because you don’t think they might fit your idea of an important connection does not mean they don’t know 10 other people who are perfect for what you may try to accomplish in the next month or year.

This last point is what a great network is all about. Networking is not just about the people with whom you are directly connected; it is about getting those people to tap into their networks on your behalf when you need it most.

Adam Callinan is the Co-Founder/Co-CEO of BottleKeeper, the simple yet practical solution to the warm beer and broken bottle epidemics that have plagued the world for centuries. Adam is also the Founder/CEO of PiCK Ventures, Inc., the parent company of PiCK, a mobile wine technology company. Adam and his wife Katie now live in Manhattan Beach, California. Tweet @Adam_Callinan

The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, the YEC recently launched #StartupLab, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses via live video chats, an expert content library and email lessons. 

DC Area Company: Cadre Looking To Change The Face Of The Network Mixer

I’ve been attending networking mixers for all of my adult life. In a previous life as a radio personality and then programmer I attended many conventions that had their own networking mixers as shoulder events. When I started founding my own businesses as “SMBs” before “Startups” were chic, I attended every chamber of commerce business after hours, every small business mixer, power breakfast and the like.

All of these events, and even the ones I regularly attend today for both of our sites, it amounts to a room full of people that get all clicked up into their circle of friends and the theme of the mixer is lost almost instantly as you walk through the door. Sometimes when you go to these things and try to be outgoing and meet new people, people look at you like you’re nuts.

I’ve recently started using discovery apps like Sonar, Glancee and Highlight to see if they would help in the networking mixer problem. In some ways they have but not by much. I’d find people I wanted to meet and they were already in deep conversations with the other people I wanted to meet about baseball, football or their latest deal.

More after the break
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