2/30 My Business Turns 11. How I Network Today.


My business turned 11 years old on July 12th.

The very first event was July 12, 2012 at a champagne lounge in Tribeca. 

Very few people know this: I had started a documentary production company. My contract with ABC had come up, and I was having a moment of reflection. If I was on my deathbed, would I have a body of work I could look back on and say proudly “I did that?” 

I didn’t.

For 10 years, I had been getting up between 3am and 430am to do morning television on TV. Business news. It was get it out, get it out. On the hour. Never stopping to make the stories beautiful. 

I wanted to produce longer stories, have time to revise them, and make them beautiful. I decided to launch a documentary production company. I took on a partner, since I was still on the air. Greta suggested hosting monthly meet-ups to do business development and build a project pipeline.

Avenue Media had a short run. But the dark horse brand that really took off was my women’s leadership platform. Eight women showed up to that first event. Then 40. Then consistently 300. 

It’s been 11 years since that first event, and today, how I network and build community has changed slightly. Here are my top seven tips:

  1. KNOW WHO YOUR IDEAL CLIENT IS and why you are networking. In the beginning of my business, my demographic was Indian women. I’m Indian and had been on television for 10 years at that point. A whole generation of Indian woman had grown up watching me, and was now coming to share that she was doing something other than the parent approved, “doctor, lawyer, engineer.” Today, I’m less about ethnicity, and more seeking a certain woman with certain traits. And its very specific. C-level or business owner of 10 years+. Consumes alot of media. Adds value each time she speaks. Invests in her personal and professional development. There’s more.
  2. BE INTERESTING. The worst networker in the world, is the one who wields one-word answers. “What brings you here?” Work. “What do you do?” I’m a lawyer. Boring.
    My partner is a champ at telling stories. I’ve seen him walk into rooms and launch right into an epic baseball game he once went to. He’s also a champ at –guess what? business development. He consumes a ton of podcasts, newspaper articles, documentaries. It makes him interesting to speak to. It’s easy to build a relationship with him.
  3. BE INTERESTED. I’m convinced there is an epidemic in New York. People just don’t listen anymore. Listen. Like really listen to the person speaking in front of you. The way you could potentially add value to this person and build a relationship with them is already there. You just have to listen for it. My friend K moved to NYC from Connecticut. Being in Manhattan was a long-held dream. I invited her to amateur night at the Apollo Theater, and the finals match at the US Open. I invited her to things that define New York. She didn’t explicitly say she wanted to go to these things. But I heard it in the ‘unsaid.’
  4. I STILL HOST MY OWN EVENTS. However, its not just ‘happy hour.’ I cap my events at 8 women. I host a specific. kind of conversation design where each woman brings a challenge and crowdsources a possible solution from the others at the table. This way, I hear from the loudest person in the room. And the quietest.  I’m meticulous about two more things: Curating the room and fierce moderating. I never want the event promise to get lost when the conversation goes off track. Ps. The Annual Women’s Leadership Lab sail is coming up in Turkey Aug 12-19th. We had one person drop. DM me joya@joyadass.com if you would like to take this spot.
  5. INVITE PEOPLE TO THINGS YOU’RE ALREADY ATTENDING. I’m a curious person, so I attend many art events, food and wine events, cultural events. I’m on the board of the Chamber Orchestra of New York. I’m a member of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. One powerful way I network is invite people along to something I’m already going to.  
  6. HAVE A VISUAL One of my clients is attending a conference full of financial advisors. She is a photographer and thought her ideal client referrals may come from an event like this. The first question most attendees would probably ask her: “What brings you here?” I asked her to have a ready pitch. “I’m a photographer, I shoot high net worth and ultra high net worth families who have a story to tell.” This way, the other party readily knows that, while she isn’t a financial advisor, she rubs shoulders with the same level of client. Given the visual nature of her craft, I also suggested she bring an iPad with some of her best work, that she could immediately pull up and present at a networking event.
  7. QUOTE THE SPEAKERS AT A CONFERENCE ON SOCIAL MEDIA. I look up the speakers on LinkedIn and Twitter BEFORE I attend a conference. I will publish a quote from them on my social media.  This is a great way to call out something that resonates for you personally. But speakers also love this. Nine times out of ten, they will reply back, thanking you or more. This sets the stage for you to take the relationship further and off the stage.

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