Network to Success


Ask any career coach or successful business professional and they’ll tell you that to expand your business, you need to put yourself out there and meet new people. Despite the growth of online communication and social interaction tools, people still “buy people”, so by showing your face, people are more likely to remember you when looking for a service you provide.  So I have to ask, how often do you network?
While sometimes it’s daunting, remember that networking is an important tool for every business owner and communications professional because, not only are you showing your face to these people, but you also get to personally talk about what it is that you do. Would it be easier to hide at home and interact through your online communities? Maybe. But is it as effective? No way! After all, isn’t the goal of online communications to directly reach new potential customers, suppliers and business contacts?  Networking is the fastest way to make this happen as you are making direct physical contact with new people.eSAXOttawa has a number of terrific networking events that target different demographics, industries and interests. One of my new favourites here in Ottawa is eSAX . The brainchild of local musician and entrepreneur Jarrod Goldsmith, eSAX – The Entrepreneur Social Advantage Experience, is an “entrepreneurial social networking group dedicated to creating connections, gaining applicable knowledge from featured speakers and promoting collaboration among Regional Chambers of Commerce.”  With different events that range from straight up mix and mingles, to speed networking events, eSAX seems to have something for every comfort level.

Need a nudge to get started? Check out this great article on “How Business Networking Works” by Linda Brinson from my all time favourite site:

AND to make you feel better, here’s a funny networking oops! moment from’s Your most embarrassing networking stories.”


10 Tips to Successful Networking as a Millennial Entrepreneur

Are you a young, motivated, hard-working millennial entrepreneur who just can’t wait to go out on your own and build your empire? Are you seeking to improve your networking skills? If so, then you might have just stumbled across one of the best resources possible for taking your networking skills to another level.

Being a millennial entrepreneur can be difficult. On one hand, you have so much potential and time ahead of you in your career that many will praise you and be inspired by your early commitment to the game of business. On the other hand, many millennial entrepreneurs state they find it difficult or nerve-racking to attend network events with baby boomer entrepreneurs.

The truth is that whether you’re young or not, everybody struggles with these feelings of insecurity and low self confidence in the beginning. While you might think being young makes you seem less professional, I’ve found the exact opposite to be true.

I have learned some valuable networking skills over the last year that have allowed me to network very well with successful baby boomers. Networking has been extremely valuable for building my business, and building my personal growth. However, to learn these skills, I made a lot of mistakes in the beginning.

See, there are many mistakes to avoid in networking, and it came to my attention that a lot of millennial entrepreneurs could benefit from my past mistakes and the knowledge I have gained in a short time. So, here are 10 tips I wanted to share with you so you too can network effectively, meet new people, and grow your business as a millennial entrepreneur.

Have a great image.

Firstly, if you want to be taken seriously in business as a younger entrepreneur, then you’re going to have to come across as being professional. No, this doesn’t mean that you’ll need to become a lifeless, boring, dry individual – but it does mean that you should probably start dressing and looking like you’re capable of managing a business and close big deals.

Invest in professional clothing. Get a good headshot picture taken of yourself. Make sure that your social media looks professional as well. Remove any pictures of you partying or looking like you are irresponsible. Make yourself come across as an already successful individual. Look like an opportunity to everyone around you. You must understand that your online presence these days is everything. You can’t sell a $1000 service looking like you’re a $10 service provider!

Know your story and tell it well.

When you introduce yourself, know your story and tell it well. Don’t downplay your achievements, and don’t be all over the place when explaining what you do. The better, more confident, and simpler you can communicate your product or value you provide – the more attractive you will be to others who are more successful than you. Make people excited.

Demonstrate that you’re a hard worker.

You’re going to have to show that you are a hard worker and demonstrate your ambition to succeed. Millennials are often referred to as being entitled, and lazy. Prove otherwise to the people you meet. Talk about your hustle and what you have accomplished despite some of the struggles you may have faced. This will earn you respect and admiration from those who are older and more successful than you because it shows that you’re hungry and have goals in life. Often, mentors and investors will invest in people, rather than just the business.

Listen closely and ask questions.

When you’re speaking with someone, listen to them instead of just waiting for your turn to talk. Ask questions about what they’re talking about and what they do. This sounds very simple; however, many people miss amazing opportunities because they simply were not listening. The more you listen and ask questions, the more opportunity you will find. Remember, a person is only interesting when they are interested.

Give value, don’t just take it.

There’s nothing more annoying than those people who go around only looking to take. You know what I mean. Those people approaching others looking for handouts, investments, free coaching, or mentorship without adding any real value to the other person. Don’t be this kind of person. Especially as a younger entrepreneur. Their time is very precious and chances are they’re bothered with these questions all the time. If you want to meet with an influencer, think about how you can give and not just take!

You don’t need to have only money to benefit others. Consider how you can use your current available resources (skills, network, time, hard work) to benefit them in some way so that there is a mutual benefit in the relationship.

Don’t think you know it all.

As stated before, millennials are often seen as being entitled. Whatever you do, don’t come across as being a know-it-all. You haven’t had anywhere near as much experience as most of the people you will be networking with, and despite what you might think about their concepts being dated – there is still much to learn. Swallow your pride, and become a humble student to seasoned entrepreneurs. Be willing to learn from your past generations. There is much knowledge here that will be critical for your future success.

Talk like a billionaire.

So, like…You should probably like …. Talk like um . . . A little less um …like an um…millennial…Or whatever…um.

Everyone knows what I’m talking about here. I am guilty of this one coming from being a young biker dude growing up. However, if you want to be taken more seriously as a millennial entrepreneur, force yourself to ditch the language of one.

I’ve found that by reading books and listening to audio programs from very successful entrepreneurs and sales people has dramatically increased my oral communication skills. Also (and this might sound dumb to some) turn on your camera and practice speaking to yourself about various concepts. This will help you see exactly how you present yourself to those around you. Don’t get discouraged, get motivated to practice this skill and excel at it. It’s something you won’t regret doing.

Keep your promises and be punctual.

If you meet someone and tell them that you are going to do something for them, do it. If you are supposed to meet someone for coffee to discuss a potential opportunity at a specific time, be there early. This is something that not a lot of millennials, nor baby boomers honour these days.

Become a man/woman of your word. Keep all the promises you make, and always deliver on them. This will gain you a lot of respect from others, and will make you stand out tremendously – because no one else is doing it!

Follow up and keep in touch.

Follow up with people who you met with. If you don’t have any business cards, get some! When you meet people who you believe could be valuable to have in your network, ask for their business card and request to add them as a connection on LinkedIn after meeting with them.

If you really hit it off with someone, I would highly suggest sending them an email hours after the event thanking them for the opportunity to connect with them. Tell them what you learned from them. Show them that your discussion with them was a meaningful one and demonstrate your interest in your relationship with them. This will open many doors for you and people will remember you.

Confidence is everything.

I know it’s easier said than done, but confidence is everything when it comes to networking. You want to come across as confident; not desperate. Look them in the eye when you are speaking to them and show that you know your worth. Any big influencer will tell you that by carrying yourself as being confident, people will be attracted and influenced by you.

Confidence comes from competence. Educate yourself as much as you can about your expertise and you will naturally come across as being more confident. This is because you know what you are talking about, and confidence will come as a by product from your competence of the subject matter.


Written by Matt Thibeau

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Certified Digital Marketing Consultant

Creating Effective Networking Events

By Jarrod Goldsmith

Every entrepreneur is told they need to start attending networking events in order for their startup to grow. It doesn’t matter in which industry the small business is in, people need to know about it so that it will grow. As an event planner, this is definitely a large market!

With so many networking events to choose from, how can event planners create unique events that will have traction, longevity and active community engagement?

First of all, an event planning business faces many of the same challenges that any other small business faces. Exposure and credibility are key ingredients to a successful brand. Start by personally attending networking events in your area. Get to know the major ‘players’ of some of the most active networkers, as well as the organizer of other events. If you don’t have a solid grasp on the market, how can you expect your new event to be successful?

Venue selection is a huge component of creating a successful networking event. The number of people you expect, the overall look and feel of the event and purpose of what you are trying to accomplish all play-into what would be an appropriate place to host. Some venues might charge a lot of money to rent rooms, with a commitment to purchase food and/or beverages. It’s always wise idea to discuss with the venue the option of them waiving any potential charge, especially if you can guarantee them a certain number of attendees, particularly on a slow weekday. Perhaps they may even be willing to provide some complimentary appetizers? (Providing food for attendees is always wise)!

Costs for creating an event need not be extravagant. If a venue is not charging for the space, and there are no other major commitments, perhaps your only out-of-pocket expense may be parking. But remember that if it’s the first time you’re hosting an event, you want to make it memorable, so it’s a good idea to do what you can so that people will talk about it. This could mean paying for extra food or a round of drinks for everyone. As with any business, sometimes even event planners need to initially pay in order for exposure so that they will bring more traffic next time. Think about the future and how your event will contribute to a lasting legacy.

Normally freebie events have higher turn-outs than events that charge. This is true particularly for the startup business community who are notorious for not having much money. Keep in mind that if you don’t charge a fee, you may find attendance may be overshadowed by an abundance of people in certain industries such multi-level marketers, real estate / mortgage agents, financial etc.

It’s frequently said that paid events ‘weed-out’ many of these kinds of people and lead to a higher-level of attendees. For example, it’s likely that people who are members of Chambers of Commerce will not attend freebie events since those are often not the kind of people they are looking to connect with. Again, it goes back to who the target market of your clients are looking to meet. This should make you aware of your target market.

The more established your events become, the easier it is to start charging. At the end of the day, we all need to make ends-meet, but if you start an event with the intention to make money, people often have the tendency to notice, and it might not lead to a very good first impression.

Finding sponsors is always a wise idea. Once you create a niche, know your market, have a few events under your belt and have a steady number of people attending, you could be ready to start looking for sponsorship. As we all know, if an organization has funding or is willing to provide goods or services in exchange for sponsorship, it means they want access to your audience. By creating various sponsorship packages, they can pick and choose the kind of exposure they can expect to receive. A great resource to help you start looking for sponsorships is an Ottawa-based company called Sponsearch. Sponsearch matches organizations looking for sponsorships, with those organizations looking to offer sponsorships. In essence, it has been equated to a sponsorship ‘dating’ website.

All entrepreneurs are busy, so choosing a time of day to host your event is essential. Once you complete your due-diligence, you will find that there are many breakfast networking events happening almost every day of the week. Perhaps you may wish to try something different and host events towards the end of the day or evenings. Figure out for yourself the best time for your target market to attend. Ask people you meet at other events for their preference. Perhaps you may find that parking of traffic is an issue for some. By holding events in the late afternoon/evening there is a better chance that on-street parking might be free, which would be an added-value to attendees.

Social media is the key to any successful business. Being actively engaged on many different platforms such as Facebook and Twitter will help expose and promote your brand. It’s one thing to attend networking events yourself in person, but you should also use social media to help spread the word to entrepreneurs about your evenst.

Hopefully these few tips will help you to start realizing what it takes to create and host success entrepreneur networking events!

Happy networking!

Jarrod Goldsmith

About: Jarrod Goldsmith is one of Ottawa’s best-known entrepreneurial networkers and is the embodiment of the small business spirit. His passion for music, public relations and networking skills made for a perfect combination in creating two unique businesses.

eSAX (The Entrepreneur Social Advantage Experience); is an entrepreneur networking community and tradeshow for small business to create connections, gain knowledge and promote collaboration among Chambers of Commerce and community/business leaders. Sax Appeal (Canada’s Premier Saxophone Ensemble); is an all-saxophone ensemble whose specialty is to provide live music to enhance the ambiance of functions that require the finest of touches and is transforming the musical landscape in Canada with their distinctive sound, look and feel.

As an additional way to help encourage, promote and offer greater assistance to aspiring entrepreneurs, Jarrod also hosts a weekly YouTube video series titled Ask the Fedora about a wide-range of networking/business tips to help make your networking endeavors not only less stressful, but successful!

Biggest Misconceptions about Networking

eSAX-Ottawa-Networking-Event (14)Networking is a highly beneficial activity that helps those wanting to grow their businesses. It’s great for those with new businesses, and those with established businesses. However, there are still those out there that aren’t sold on it. These people are missing out on a great opportunity for growth. To make sure you aren’t one of those people, let’s look at five of the biggest misconceptions about networking:

#1: It’s a waste of time

Time is our most valuable resource, and we must be careful about where we spend it. That being said, networking is not one of those activities that we should be stingy about our time. Yes, it’s important to make sure you are attending the right events, but the act of developing business connections is an important one and well worth our time.

#2: Personalities at networking events are fake

People think that those they meet at networking events are putting on their fake “sales” face, akin to the stereotype of the slimy used car salesman of days past. Why would we want to spend our time getting to know people like that?

The truth is, you may run into a few people like that, but the vast majority of people are honest and authentic. They are out there trying to meet new people and create a quality network. You simply have to make sure to say hi to enough people to find the good ones!

#3: Owners of successful business does not need networking

This misconception is dual-sided. People think that they won’t run into anyone worth meeting (those with successful businesses) because those types of people don’t need to attend networking events. It’s not true. Many sucessful business owners attend networking events to meet the up-and-comers, as well as to ensure that the newbies know about their business. For those successful business people who DO feel they do not need to network, they are putting themselves at a disadvantage. Their pool for referrals will get smaller and smaller over the years, and they won’t have new people referring them.

#4: Networking and follow-up is too much effort

For those not familiar with networking, it seems like a large amount of effort. Not only do you need to attend the event, but you also need to follow-up with emails, telephone calls, engagement on social media, coffee visits, and more! While we won’t deny that effort is involved, we will say that the more you do it the easier and more automated it becomes. When you schedule time in for the day after an event to do your follow-ups then it will not drag on, and you will get better and better at it each time you do it.

#5: There is no ROI from networking

Some entrepreneurs want to associate a direct dollar value to everything, and networking does translate into a clear ROI (return on investment). When you take into account the cost of the ticket and your time spent on the event, how much money would you have to make to make it worth it? If you consider that someone you met at one event might give you a referral a year later, it’s hard to track that directly. 

That’s why it is important for you to set certain goals for a networking event. The more you can associate a goal (such as, 10 additional people to your newsletter list) to your ROI, the better you can translate your event attendance to it.

Be sure to get your tickets to the next eSAX Ottawa networking event!

Networking Is Building Friendships

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When you are just start out with a new business, you’ll find yourself eager to talk about your products or services all the time. It can be easy to overlook the fact that a successful business needs a solid foundation, made up of strong businesses and people who support you. The more people know you, and know about your business, the better the prospects for your business will be, but it is a two-way street. You must show interest in other people and their businesses, and you must be ready to support them as well. Networking is beneficial for both the parties and thus it is nothing but friendship!

Friendships take time to bloom

You COULD choose to meet someone at a networking event, and not engage with them again until the next one, but that would not lead to successful relationships. Think back to when you were in school. You didn’t consider yourself to be “friends” with the person you only saw in your 3rd period class. Your friends were the ones that you ate lunch with, and participated in extracurriculars, and went to the mall after school, and planned your next year’s schedule. If you want a strong relationship to come out of networking, you have to do the extra time. Have follow-up coffee chats, or check-in to see if the other person is planning on going to another upcoming event. 

When you meet any unknown person you do not become friends immediately. You take your time, meet with them for several times, find out what qualities is there in them that attracts you towards them and then you start relying on them. This is true in networking too. In networking once you meet any person you keep their contact, and then start to follow up with them. Of course, here you do that for prospering your business, but in the process, you make friends who stay with you for the long run.

Use events for making friends and grow your network

Anyone who considers themselves a friend to another knows that friendship is just not waste of time. You create something with people who, in the long run, help you in different ways to make your life happier and more fulfilled. Similarly, by meeting people for networking in events like eSAX you get a chance to create a long-term business relationship. However, no one will rely on you if you are only ever asking for something. Instead, you need to give something. Gradually you will find that people will develop faith in you and follow what you are saying, just like in a friendship!

Thus, networking is nothing but an activity that builds friendships, where you make friends who become helpful for spreading the word about your business. However, you have to maintain the relationship or else you will not get results!

 Be sure to get your tickets to the next eSAX Ottawa networking event!

Networking and Job Interviewing: A Comparison

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The idea of “networking” is by no means a new one, but the term has gained popularity recently. The process of building relationships through many interactions has been a part of our human history. It is important for people to feel they know you and can trust you before they commit to a deal, and this is part of why we network.

Many new entrepreneurs may come from the traditional workforce, and while they may not be familiar with the concept of networking, they may be familiar with job interviews.  This process of asking position candidates about their skills and experience helps an employer choose the best person from a pool of people.

Short conversations

At both networking events and job interviews, time is of the essence. You must be aware of how much you are talking, and take care not to talk too much. At a networking event, the goal is to listen, and to spend time with more than one person. At a job interview, you must be concise so the interviewer can move on to the next question. In both cases, if you talk too much you may end up losing a great opportunity because the other party had to move on.

Selling yourself

In both situations, you are selling yourself. Your appearance matters, so you must dress cleanly and appropriately. Your word choice, eye contact, and body language also matter. The impression you make in your appearance and your conversation is all you have to make or break a deal. Of course, networking events allow you the chance for a do-over, if worst comes to worst.

Trust matters

In this short amount of time (in both cases) you must give off the impression that you are a trustworthy person. You must be honest, authentic and sincere and establish the ground that you will build a relationship on over a long period of time. Even if you think that a little white lie might go unnoticed, it’s not worth the risk of them knowing the truth and judging you as untrustworthy.

Mutual contract

Networking is a mutual contract wherein two professional shares their experience for mutual benefit, it’s just not a business deal. Job interviewing too is a mutual contract but it is made between the two parties wherein one shares their skills and experiences and other pay for the skills shared. You should be just as respectful in one situation as in the other. 

While some may never erase their nerves in a job interview, the best way to erase them at networking events is to practice! Be sure to get your tickets to the next eSAX Ottawa networking event!

How to Learn Names When Networking

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Networking is all about dealing with people, and if you can remember people by name, half your work is done. Remembering names makes others feel as though you value them, which is exactly how you want to treat your relationship with them.

Remembering names can be an especially big challenge at events such as eSAX: the Entrepreneur Social Advantage Experience, where more than 300 people show up. It’s hard to remember that many names! Luckily, everyone gets a name tag, but if you want to go that extra mile and remember names on your own, we have some tips for you!

Get it at the first chance

Sometimes we get so enchanted by someone’s business, that we forget their name as soon as they’ve said it. Make a point to re-ask their name, and then repeat the name and use it a few times in the conversation you are having. This will give you a better chance of remembering it later on, since you are associating that name with their face.

Make a note

After your conversation, make a note on their business card of any characteristics that will help you to connect the name with the face for next time. “Purple glasses” perhaps, or any other noteworthy aspect of their appearance. If they don’t have a business card, it’s even more important for you to write down their information (remember to always have note paper with you!) That way you can spell out their name, and listing to this spelling sends a virtual image to your brain to help you remember it.


It may sound silly, but sometimes a great way to remember a name is to associate it with something else that is familiar. For example, if you meet someone named Lucy and she has red hair, it would be easy to associate her with the “I Love Lucy” TV show. When you see her next time you’ll think “Red hair… I Love Lucy… her name is Lucy!”

Use social networking

The best way to remember names is to add them to your networks online. If you add them on LinkedIn, you are almost sure to see their photo in their profile and then remember what they look like. The more active you are on social media, and the more you engage with them, the more likely you will be to remember their name next time you meet, in-person, again.

Choose to care

Finally, to remember names you must be eager to remember them. If you are not interested in remembering the name, nothing in this world will help you do so. Care about the person and their name name and you will find it on your tongue next time when you meet the person.

Practice calling people by their name at each event, and make sure to get your tickets to the next eSAX Ottawa networking event!

Break the Ice at Networking Events

eSAX-Ottawa-Networking-Event (1)When you attend eSAX or any other Ottawa entrepreneur networking event, your goal shouldn’t be to just collect business cards.

These events are the place that you are building rapport that will establish long-term relationships that lead to future opportunities for both involved parties. It takes a good deal of time and effort to cultivate, but it all starts with the initial ice breaking at the first meeting!

How can you set yourself up for the perfect icebreakers?

Change your mindset

No matter how fantastic your opening line might be, it will fall flat if your heart isn’t in it. Be positive and be on the lookout for the diamond in the rough. This means, don’t walk in and decide there is no one good to talk to. Have your mind set on meeting anyone unknown and starting as meaningful a conversation as you would with someone you knew could set you up with a million dollar deal. Treating people this way will make people feel pleased to speak with you.

Mind your appearance

Your appearance, which includes your apparel and your body language, tells others a lot about you. Be business-appropriate in what you wear, and always make sure to have a smile on your face. Don’t forget to use eye contact when talking with others, and avoid crossing your arms.

Ask a mutual acquaintance for help

To start a conversation with an unknown person, you can ask any mutual friend or acquaintance to introduce you. This works perfect if you see someone you already know speaking to someone you don’t already know. Walk up and say hello to your friend and ask them to introduce you.

Directly introduce yourself

If you want to meet someone and you don’t have a mutual friend to do the introduction, you will have to just gather your nerves, focus your confidence, and go right over and say hello. It’s always best to start with your name, and asking them their name and what they do. Remember to hold off on shoving your business card in their face. People want to talk first, exchange cards later. The same goes for your elevator pitch. You want to do introductions first and not just spit out the pitch at them.

Wondering what to talk about if you can’t just talk about what you are selling? Try these:

  • How did you hear about this event?
  • Did you travel far to get here?
  • Have you been to this event before?
  • What TV shows are you into?
  • Do you know many people here? Who?
  • What is the most exciting project you are working on right now?
  • Bonus: “How did you meet Jarrod” (at an eSAX event) OR “Do you know Jarrod?” (at any event around town, as he will undoubtedly be in attendance!)

Ask open-ended questions that show you are interested in the person you are talking with. This is the key to starting a good business relationship.

Breaking the ice becomes easier with practice. Don’t forget to get your tickets to the next eSAX Ottawa networking event so you can make sure to keep practicing your networking skills and building up relationships!

Self-image at Ottawa Networking Events


Often the focus of networking is our business. We spend so much time fussing over business cards or website content that sometimes we forget how important it is to work on ourselves. As entrepreneurs, we are selling ourselves to others and we can’t do that successfully unless we have a good self-image.

Self-image is not just what you look and act like. While it is about your brand, the energy you are projecting, and about the people you work with or network with, that isn’t all. Your self-image is the ideas you have inside of yourself, those that no one but you may know. These are the ideas you have about your abilities, appearance and personality and when pertaining to business they are the ideas you have about your business. There are two problems we could face when it comes to self-image:

  1. We have a negative self-image, and aren’t presenting ourselves in the best light.
  2. We have an overly optimistic self-image, and think we are perfect when we, in-fact, are not.

From a physical perspective, self-image includes your dress and tidiness, and it also includes your facial expressions and body language. The only way for you to reflect on your own ideas of your physical perspective is for you to ask others what they think of you, and to observe others and compare yourself to them. You could do research and conduct your own personal analysis, but we are generally not an objective party when judging ourselves. Think of it this way: watch someone you respect and admire and take note of everything from what they are wearing to what they do with their hands and how they position their feet. Then ask yourself what you are doing with yours. You may have not realized that you had room for improvement until you conduct an inventory in this way (or as an impartial and trusted friend or connection).

The psychological aspect of self-image takes into account our internal perceptions of ourselves – our self-worth and self-esteem. No matter how hard we try to force ourselves out there and act like we are confident and happy, it will not translate to others. Whatever you need to work on, whether it is confidence in yourself, or confidence in your business, you need to work through it before you interact with others. If you have secret negative thoughts they will leak out in your tone or intonation when speaking to people, or perhaps an offhanded sarcastic comment, and the intuition of others will alert them that you aren’t being authentic. So work on full self-acceptance and love of what you are doing so none of those negative thoughts are floating around!

The same idea goes for over-confidence. If you think you are the best thing since sliced bread, you may want to tone it down a bit and find some humility, before others pick up how full of yourself you are. Again, look at someone you respect and admire and see how they broadcast themselves.

Remember that working on your self-image is an ongoing project. You’ll work on it before a networking event, but you’ll also work on it during the event.

One way that your self-image will improve is by setting realistic and achievable goals for yourself. When you meet these goals, you will get an instant gratification that will help you to feel more confident. Set steps for yourself, such as:

  •         Check-into the event
  •         Talk to at least 3 new people
  •         Reintroduce myself to at least 3 people from past events

It is important to have these experience of achieving goals, so you can build on the success each time. Over the year there are 4 eSAX events (and countless other Ottawa networking events), and if you meet 3 new people and revive 3 relationships each time you will quickly build up a large and strong network.

Don’t forget to purchase your tickets to the next eSAX event, and keep coming back so you can experience your self-image improvement throughout the year!


Start Networking Like A Pro

By Jarrod Goldsmith

“I hate networking events”.

How many times have you heard this or said it yourself?

For most people, the concept of networking conjures up images of a scary, slimy and fake experience with everyone in the room trying to hawk their products and services.

We’ve likely all met someone who barely says hello before launching into their ‘sales-pitch’ with something like: “I do this, that and the other thing, I’m so great and you need my services”.


When I hear this the first thing that comes to mind is that the person is obviously a networking rookie. Often I’ll stop them in mid-sentence and ask them a simple question like what’s their name. Seems harmless enough right? After a second or two of awkward silence while they compose themselves (having lost their place in their memorized sales-pitch), I introduce myself and extend a hand in greeting. So as to not make them feel embarrassed, I then ask another harmless question such as if they have attended this particular event before, do they know the organizer, what part of town do they live in etc.

You’d be amazed at how people ‘open-up’ by just having a regular conversation without bringing-up business. Asking non work-related questions will make people feel more relaxed and comfortable. But never forget you must be absolutely genuine in wanting to know the answers as people everywhere have an uncanny knack of seeing-through-fake. Check out this short Ask The Fedora video for some good questions to ask when meeting people for the first time.

Always maintain eye-contact and do not scan the room looking for other people to meet while in the middle of a conversation with someone. At that moment, make them the most important person in the word.

To provide an example, I was at an Ottawa Chamber of Commerce Mayors Breakfast a while ago and had the chance to chat with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. When Mr. Trudeau is engaged with talking to you, he makes you feel as if you’re the only one in the room by giving you his undivided attention, not to mention his welcoming body language of legs apart, often on a slight angle facing you, head tilted forward and hands at his side or lightly clasped in front of him (pictured)

Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson (Far right) Justin Trudeau (2nd from right) Jarrod Goldsmith (Far left)

Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson (Far right)
Justin Trudeau (2nd from right)
Jarrod Goldsmith (Far left)

Next time you’re at a networking event, try a few of the above tips and start networking like a pro. Doing so may very well change not only your outlook on networking, but how others view you.

For more networking tips, check out the weekly Ask The Fedora videos on YouTube!