My Favorite Networking Tips

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[The following is the full transcript of this episode of The Brendon Show. Please note that this episode, like all TBS episodes, features Brendon speaking extemporaneously–he is unscripted and unedited. Filmed in one take, The Brendon Show has become one of the most viewed unscripted, direct-to-camera self-help series in the history of YouTube. It has also been the #1 Podcast in all of iTunes and is regularly in the top podcasts in Self-Help and Health categories around the globe. Subscribe to the free motivational podcast on iTunes or Stitcher.)

We’re here today to talk about your network. Your connections of people who you are able to get to know, connect with, serve, and draw value from on a consistent basis. I’d love for you, just as we start this, right as we’re going to jump into some of this, I’d love for you to do yourself a real gift. In your journal, just start writing down the most influential people you know or you know you’re like one degree away from. Just start writing down, “Oh, I know this person in my community. Oh, I know this person in my downline. Oh, I know this person in my industry. Oh, I know…” Just start writing down those people. “Oh, I know this person from church. Oh, I know this person from that community group.” Just start writing it down. The people you already know who have success, influence, achievement, who can open doors, who maybe don’t know you yet. That’s okay. But I want you to start compiling this list.

To give you an idea of how strategic I am about this, in my laptop I have a Excel spreadsheet where I list out every person of influence I know. I list out how I met them or how I want to meet them. I list out things like what I know about them. I list out things, as we’ll talk about, what I know about what they want to create or build, who they want to connect to. I write out things like whether it’s their websites or their social media handles. I rank them based on the personal connection I really do have with them, and I score card them based on how much I want to meet them in these coming six months. And I look at that on a very consistent basis. And we’re going to talk about how you should have something like that too.

Because if you just right now think, “Gosh, who do I know?” And you’re really struggling to make this list in your journal I am here to tell you, you are now entering the first few steps of becoming obscenely wealthy and influential again in your life, or for the first time. Because when people don’t know this, when I ask them, “Who are the most influential people you know or the most successful people you know?” And they’re like, “Well, I think my cousin knows somebody.” I’m like, “Oh my God, you haven’t even touched the richness of life yet.” And this is not about getting to know just like wealthy people to know wealthy people, or influential people to know influential people. It’s so that you have the influence you need in the world.

Because how are you going to activate your difference in this world? How are we going to activate the difference in this world? Through other humans, with other humans. And when you want to activate your difference in this world and you have access to people who have greater influence, obviously you are able to activate that difference faster.

And any dream you have, like if you want to shoot a documentary one day, guess what? If you already have a network of filmmakers, which is way easier than going down to Best Buy and asking the guy at the counter about cameras, right? If you want to start a school in a foreign country and make your difference in that way, guess what? That’s super hard to do by learning about it on the internet, but if you mind your thing, you go, “Oh, I met this person from that country at Brendon’s seminar and I have their business card, but I never followed up with them.” That’s the first person you should call to say, “Hey, I want to make a difference where you live. Let’s have a conversation.”

I know you get this philosophically, so let’s dial in to what prevents people from really mining and exploring their network better. I’m going to share a couple of ideas with you. The very first one I think is frankly the most important one, is that most people when they think about a networking event or situation… You’re at my seminar, you meet some people. You’re at church after the sermon. After, you’re all standing out at the parking lot ready to go home. You’re in that networking event in your industry at nighttime, everyone’s having those nice little warm weird appetizers that you always eat too many of and you feel sick the next day. You’re doing all the networking events. What is your primary aim there? Like what is the aim that you have socially, when you meet new people? I really want you to think about it. What is your aim when you meet new people?

Now I’ll tell you what most people’s aim is—their dream, their goal, their unconscious pattern of behavior is being stemmed from their desire to be liked. “I hope they like me. I hope I fit in. I hope I belong.” That human yearning for belonging. We all want to be accepted, we want to be liked. And yet, if you look at your behaviors in networking situations, I bet most of your behavior is actually about you wanting to be liked versus being a linchpin. Let me show you this philosophical difference. Some people want to be liked, some people want to be the linchpin. If your aim is to be liked, you kind of hang around and hope people come up to you and talk to you and get to know you and that they like you, they understand you, they validate you, they accept you.

When you choose to be the linchpin, you have a completely different aim, a completely different forward lean, like you work the room in a completely different way.

If you’re working a room… That’s what they call networking, right? To “work the room”. And you want to meet people and you just want to be liked, what do you do? “Oh hi, how are you doing?” And you’re all sheepish.

If you want to be the linchpin, know it’s not about you. Once you decide to be the linchpin in your network, everything changes. You get to be more confident, because it’s not even about you.

What I like when I walk into a room, I don’t look at the room and go, “Oh my God, I hope I get to meet this guy. I got to go…”

I walk in there and I’m going to go, “I’m going to unite these people. They don’t even know yet. I’m going to be the linchpin in this room. And by the end of this night, I will have introduced more people in this room than probably anybody else here.”

That strength comes from humility. I don’t think I have to be there. You ever hear that thing? There’s two kinds of people who enter a room. One person enters the room and goes, “Here I am, look at me. Everybody come over, talk to me. And the other person enters the room and he goes, “Oh, there you are. How are you doing?” Two different types of people, two different types of personalities, two different types of aims. I’m not there with my “elevator pitch” in my pocket ready to go. I haven’t thought about my elevator pitch. I’m almost totally, not interested in myself.

What I’m interested in when I’m in that situation is, “How can I find out who in this room has commonality, needs a connection with each other, are trying to create, build, or serve the same thing, and could I introduce them to each other?”

Even if I go in there completely cold, I walk in the room, there’s 30 people, I don’t know any of the people. Trust me, by the end of the third hour, while everybody else has had their fourth, fifth drink, or they’ve eaten 60 of those things and their stomach is bad, so they spend half the time in the bathroom. I already ate, I already hydrated, I already worked out. I hit that room, I’m ready. I’m in a great mood, I’m in great spirits. If I’m there to work, I’m there to work. And what do I do? Boom. I just walk up to the first person and I start talking with that person. And once I learn a little about that person and it’s a natural break in the conversation, I’m on the next person, and then I’m on the next person.

And after I’ve met five people, my rule is, after I’ve met five people, now I circle back and introduce the five people.

So if I meet, person one, two, three, four, and five, when I meet person five I go, “Hey, do you know this person?” Referring to person one, “That person over there? Oh, you don’t. Come over here, let me introduce you.” That’s it. Walk person five over to number one. And then when those two people are there, I’m like, “Hey, do you know that person over there?” Person number two, “You don’t? Come over here.” And now, I put three people together and they’re like, “Man, this guy, Brendon’s great. He did the networking for me.” Oh snap.

Do you know what is scary at networking events? Networking. Do you know what? When you solve the problem for them, who do they love? You’re not the problem in the networking event, unless you want to be liked and you’re sitting around waiting. You become the hero of the networking event, if you do the networking for them.

Because think about that, isn’t our aim in life to add value to people’s? If our aim in life is to add value to people, and here we are with 30 new people who all have their insecurities and their self-doubts and they’re going, “Oh my gosh. I don’t know what to do here.”

And their aim at that thing is to get over themselves and network and you come in and solve the problem for them, who’s the popular guy there now? Who do they like now? Who solved their problem? Who are they going to look to next time they have another problem? You become the linchpin of the group, immediately.

And so in my networking practice, I’m always like that. I’m going to go talk with five people and then I’m going to circle them together. “Number five, did you meet number one? Number five and one, did you meet number two? Number five, one, and two, did you meet number three? Number five, one, two, and three, have you met number four?” And all of a sudden, guess what I did for them? I didn’t just connect the one to one. See, in networking what happens is people, they can handle that usually. But what they don’t know how to do is, how do you get a group of three people vibing and jiving? Right?

Have you ever been to a party? You ever notice if you’re there with one buddy, it’s kind of cool, but even though there’s two of you there, you can still feel a little bit awkward? You ever notice that at an event? Like even though you got your buddy, you might even have your spouse and you’re still awkward. The most intimate person is right there and you still don’t feel okay in the room. And then what happens? Guess what? When a third person is there with you guys, isn’t it true, you feel a little better? It’s almost like in groups of three, in a social environment, we feel less awkward. If it’s just us two weirdos on the side, it feels a little awkward. If we can get a third weirdo with us, that’s way better. Right? So what are you doing? You’re uniting the weirdos. No, I’m just teasing. That metaphor went too far.

But I think you get the idea, meet five, connect five, and that alone will be powerful. If that’s all you got from this session, if that is blowing your mind, if you didn’t do that at your last five networking events, please don’t tell me you don’t need coaching. There is another level of life practices. That is what we call the high performance experience, right? It’s like lots of people go to a networking event, but very few experience the high performance experience at that event. You know what I’m saying? A lot of people go there, “I met one person, I feel good.” But some other people leave knowing five people and having five real relationships. It’s a different level of experience they have. That’s why you’re in coaching. That’s why we are here together. This is why we do the work. It’s just to get this idea, right? I want you to think about this. Go in, be the linchpin.