Ep 344: Be A Better Networker with Megan Roudebush



If you consider yourself to be someone who struggles with networking, then this episode is for you!

Whether you’re an introvert who feels overwhelmed by big business conferences, or an extrovert who needs clarity on who they want to meet, there is a networking solution for you.

Our guest today, Megan Roudebush, is the Founder of Keepwith, a new platform that facilitates authentic networking and solves the networking issues you didn’t even know you had.

We talk with Megan about how she first saw a need for a platform like Keepwith, how they spent years developing it, and some of the incredible features it offers users.

Megan shares her extensive knowledge about networking, from how to network in different spaces to understanding the responsibility of making introductions.

She also unpacks the importance of having a networking strategy, how to identify who you want to meet, and why she encourages everyone to become a super connector.

Today’s conversation is a welcome reminder of the power of relationships and why networking does not need to be nearly as intimidating as we make it out to be.

Be sure to tune in to hear all of Megan’s incredible insights on how to build meaningful relationships and how you can become a more authentic networker!


  • Get to know Megan Roudebush, Compliance Officer, Superconnector, and Founder of Keepwith.
  • Why Megan decided to create the Keepwith app.
  • How to embrace the reciprocal nature of relationship building.
  • Suggestions on how to network based on your personality type.
  • How introverts can network and build relationships.
  • Learn why networking can take place in any space.
  • Examples of excellent ways to network in fitness, wellness, and volunteer spaces.
  • Why coffee and lunch dates aren’t always the ideal way to get to know someone.
  • Megan’s advice on how to create a reciprocal networking environment.
  • How to identify networking opportunities based on your interests and experience.
  • Understanding the value you bring to a networking opportunity.
  • Learn about the Keepwith Platform and how it will power up your relationship building.
  • Why most people haven’t clarified who they want to meet.
  • How to identify who you want to meet and organize introductions.
  • Why you need to have a networking strategy.
  • How Keepwith streamlines the introduction process.
  • Why it’s so important to make deliberate time to network.
  • What Megan has learned from building a networking app.
  • How Megan identified the need for an app like Keepwith.


“For anybody who is prioritizing what they need to say next (and what their message is) over learning about someone else, that’s where you flip the script.” — Megan Roudebush [0:07:10]

“So often we get stuck in this idea, specifically around business networking, that it has to happen around some sort of business-oriented event, or we’ve convinced ourselves that we need to be at this type of meeting or association to make it work. And that really isn’t true.” — @AJ_vaden [0:11:33]

“In our tech, Keepwith’s platform is really air traffic control for your relationship building. It helps you focus on who you know, who you want to meet, and your networking goals” — Megan Roudebush  [0:22:50]

“It’s [about] having a networking strategy. Just meeting anyone is not going to cut it.” — Megan Roudebush  [0:30:48]

“There’s a trust and an authenticity to relationship building that really, really matters. So if I am asking you for an introduction, I am taking that really seriously.” — Megan Roudebush  [0:31:44]

About Megan Roudebush

MeganBurke Roudebush is the founder of keepwith®, a networking platform(www.keepwith.com)with an app expected in Spring 2022. Megan understands the importance of deliberately choosing one’s key advisors and building and maintaining strong and authentic, reciprocal relationships.

Megan has written articles on networking topics in publications including Fast Company, Thrive, TLNT and Law360.com.



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AJV (00:02): Hey everybody, AJ Vaden here and welcome to another episode on the Influential Personal Brand podcast. I am so excited to introduce you to a newer friend of mine, Megan Roudebush. It was referred to me by a mutual friend when she was accidentally previewing this cool a she had been working on. And then I said, Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa. I need to learn more about this app. Who made this app? What does this app do? And I was literally so enthralled with it. I was like, Can you please introduce me to your friends, which is Megan. So all of you are gonna get to hear from Megan, and just a quick second. But before we do that, I just wanna remind you of why you need to, we need to stick around to the very end of this show. So if you consider yourself someone who struggles networking, this is the episode for you. AJV (00:52): If you consider yourselves an introvert, and that’s just quote unquote, not your thing this is an episode that you need to listen to if you struggle with meeting new people engaging in relationships, getting referrals, getting word of mouth business. Once again, this episode was specifically designed with you in mind. So please, please stick your hands. Now let me give you a little bit of a formal introduction of Megan. She has so many cool things in her bio. I was literally like, What, what should I talk about? There’s like so many cool things that I will just kind of give you some highlights here. Megan is the founder of an amazing network, pla platform called Keep With that you’re gonna get to learn about. It’s an app. It just launched in two 2022. So like right now it’s like so fresh and new. AJV (01:45): She’s also spent much of her career as a financial compliance officer. So not only has she created this amazing technology, she knows a whole lot about how to keep data safe and how to do things the right way. But in addition to that, she has helped teach poetry, poetry, writing classes in juvenile detention centers. She has interviewed people such as Chuck Norris at the ripe age of eight, I think, I think I was that young. She’s got such a cool and varied background, and today she’s going to help teach us how to keep it interesting, how to be a better networker, and how to build a world of math business. So well, without further ado, Maggie, welcome to the show. MR (02:27): Aj, thank you so much for having me. It’s a pleasure and I love the way we ended up here literally having dinner with Amanda in Denver, so just couldn’t be more thrilled to be AJV (02:36): Here. Oh my gosh, I’m so excited. And I want to help our audience get to know you a little bit before we jump in and start talking about networking and just the app world in general since like you’re fresh. I mean, you’re really not even out of it yet. You’re still in it, but I think that’s like such a world that everyone is curious about. And I would love to hear your story of how did you come to the idea of creating this app? And then just some advice for all of the listeners of how do you know when you’re ready for an app, What is your advice on making an app? Then I wanna actually tell our audience what Keep With is all about. And through that process, everybody is gonna learn how to be a better networker. So how did this idea come up? How did you go from financial compliance and all of these things to creating this app? MR (03:24): So, so many questions I wanted just answer them all at the exact same time, which will not serve your listeners very well at all. So I started Keep with the boring answer is that as a grownup in the world I was known to be very careful with relationships. So a native New Yorker, grew up in New York City, moved to Chicago, Vdidn’t know anybody. And when I got here, I was very careful and methodical about building my network. I joined the Executives Club of Chicago. I, you know, ended up at Deloitte, started to build my network, and I had built a re a reputation for being careful and cautious. If I wanted to introduce you to somebody, I would have to get both of your permission first, right? I would not connect with anyone on a social media platform with whom I had not spoken or met. MR (04:08): Hmm. And so I was getting asked to speak and write about networking a lot, and I thought, Hey, I think there’s a company here, at least an LLC somewhere to put the speaking fees, right? So that’s the boring answer. The really cool answer, and you’ve hit on it, is I grew up as a kid reporter in New York City. And so from the time I was eight till the time I was 18, I was interviewing grownups about really important world problems. Interviewed Chuck Norris because he was involved in Dare that anti-drug platform, right? Also interviewed Janet Reno, you know, covered political conventions, got to meet Amy Tan. But as a kid reporter, you learn how to ask questions, open-ended ones specifically, and to care about the world. And so when I think of keyless origin story, when you’re networking and you’re really truly authentically building relationships, you’re asking questions and caring about the world. So we started in 2017, formed an llc, learned how to name a company that’s probably a whole other podcast episode, have really good IP council, that would be my tip there. And started to get hired by companies across industry and sector to help their people build relationships better. That’s how we industry agnostic, sector geography. And then eventually, and we can talk about it, we knew that we needed to build a technological solution to support our work. AJV (05:26): Yeah. So I, so I’m curious, like, there’s two things that you said that I think are really important that are often overlooked is the importance of caring. Now, you said about, you know, things going on in the world, but it also could be transposed to just caring about what’s going on with other people, which I think is, you know, a key relationship starter and the importance of asking open ended questions, which, you know, as a journalist or reporter, that’s just kind of what you’re taught to do. But as normal people in a business networking environment, I don’t think that’s very common. So can you expand on that just a little bit of like, how do you create a desire or a curiosity in someone else when most of us are mentally worried about, what am I gonna say next? Not, you know, I really wanna learn about you. Like, just tell me, and instead we’re more of like, Well, how can I tell you about what I do? So how do you kind of flip that switch? MR (06:23): You know, I, I think it’s really important, aj, you, you hit the nail on the head again, relationship building is reciprocal. And I recently heard somebody say that you should envision your eyes really big. Your ear is really big in your mouth, really small, right? And, and I, I think that’s important. So for anyone, and I actually deal with this with my seven year old, I’m like, don’t think about what you’re gonna say to me next before we actually have this conversation. For anybody who is prioritizing what they need to say next and what their message is over learning about someone else, that’s where you flip the script. Mm-Hmm. . So if I ask you why you started this podcast, I’m gonna learn a ton about you. If I ask you what you find most rewarding about your work, you’re gonna light up and you’re gonna tell me and you’re gonna say, Well, because this is what I do with clients and this is why it’s exciting and how we make a difference and we get people into successful positions. And so I think it’s very important that we sort of shift and focus on by asking questions and showing that authentic interest in others, how we can build stronger relationships versus, hey, this is what I have to say. Mm-Hmm. Next. Mm-hmm. AJV (07:40): . Yeah. You know, it’s interesting as you said that I think a lot of people struggle with knowing what are the best questions to ask specifically in a a networking environment. I just think about so many of the in-person networking groups or, you know, different things that I’ve done. Anything from BNI to chambers of commerce, to masterminds to conferences, seminars, all the things where you kind of just stand around and you’re awkward, right? It’s like, man, it’s like, should I just go back to the drink bar one more time? It’s like, I dunno what to do. It’s like, how many times can I go to the bathroom? But it’s like, but you know, this is something I’m supposed to do. But pretty much every single conversation starts and ends the same way, which is, Hey, what’s your name? What do you do? And you said two questions right then and there that if you’re listening, you should write these down. AJV (08:27): Which is, why did you get into this business in the first place? Like, why did you get into this business in the first place? Instead of, you know, what do you do? It’s like, find that out and be like, How’d you get into that? Why did you get into that? But then also I love that second question is like, Hey, what do you find most rewarding about this business that you’re in? Like, those are real conversation starters that are slightly different than just what do you do? Which starts and ends pretty much the same way every time you ask it. So are there any other go to kind of questions that you would say would be really helpful in that environment? MR (09:04): For sure. And I’d also, if we can like to put a pin in something that you said for after we answer this question, cuz you, you mentioned something really important. You know, you can ask what someone is working on these days. You can ask what somebody, what brought the person to this event, right? If you are at an in-person networking event, what brought you here today? Because is either they’re gonna tell you about the person who invited them, and that’s an interesting story and maybe a way for you to expand your network or they’ll say, I was really excited about the speaker, or I really wanna join the organization. Or, I’m new to Chicago and don’t know anybody. And so those are all different things. What are some of your challenges right now? You know, what are you, what are you working on next year? Right now, one of my favorite things about this time of year is that there’s so many holiday events happening and it’s prime network. Like from a networking nerd perspective, I’m like all of all of the events, all of the parties, everyone’s having their annual gathering, right? And so you could say like, what’s your favorite holiday? Like, what is your go to? What is that one holiday event that you have to go to every year that is always on your calendar? Like, that’s just kind of a fun thing. AJV (10:14): Yeah, that’s a great question. MR (10:16): But you mentioned not necessarily feeling comfortable in a large gathering with a drink in your hand and wanting to go to the bathroom a lot. AJV (10:25): It funny, I dunno, MR (10:26): I’m, I’m a consummate extrovert, but I’m really finding that in this covid prepost covid situation, I, I’m extrovert to the, to the cows come home. However, even I have these introverted moments. What I would say is you may not have to stand in a large ballroom with a drink in your hand. If you prefer networking one on one, go for a walk with somebody, do a workout with somebody have a zoom with them. Mm-Hmm. , I think it’s important that people not force it. If you don’t like standing in a ballroom with a drink in your hand to network, don’t stand in a ballroom with a drink in your hand to network. There are so many other ways that you can do that. You can join a board, you can volunteer at your kid’s school. You can, you know, we’re opening up gyms again. I ride Peloton at 5:00 AM with some pretty amazing women. Those are all ways that I network that have nothing to do with standing in a ballroom with a drink in my hand. AJV (11:15): That is such an important reminder cuz I think so often we get stuck in this idea specifically around business networking, that it has to happen around some sort of business oriented event. Or we’ve convinced ourselves that, you know, we need to be at this type of meeting or association to make it work. And that that really isn’t true. You know, I’m a much better networker in small group settings where I can actually get to know someone and not get interrupted or feel pressured to go like, make the rounds. And I think that’s a really great reminder. So I think this would be like valuable. What are, are all of the different ways to kind of kind of help open up people’s minds and broaden their perspectives around what is networking, which is just another way of saying relationship building, but what is, what are all the ways to network that really make a meaningful difference? MR (12:08): And you, you’re exactly right. We say that networking is the building and maintaining of meaningful relationships for personal and professional reasons in support of the goals of the people that you know and the people that they know. That’s a mouthful . It’s very, and it’s very essence. Networking is building relationships. And I think that dispels the smarmy, salesy, negative, scary connotation to it. It’s building relationships. And you can do that by appearing on a panel. You can do that by volunteering. Volunteering is great because if you and I go to a dog shelter and help clean and wash the dogs and help get them ready for adoption, we’re gonna be up to our eyeballs and soap and getting to know each other. Right? And maybe we have a common interest of, of animal causes. But then maybe we join the board of that animal shelter. MR (12:56): And so then you’re surrounded by another sphere of influence where you’re on the board with other people who care about that. Mm-Hmm. and then maybe you know, you help somebody’s nephew become an intern. You know, just all of the different ways. Volunteerism is one of the most authentic ways to build relationships with others. And it’s multi-tiered. Being on a panel you, if you’re an introvert, write an article with somebody, go to your professional association and say, I really wanna write an article on X. Who should I partner with? If you and I decided to write an article for entrepreneur about business development, how great it would be to get to work on that together. And we’d be networking, we’d be building our relationship and maybe, I mean, I am an extrovert, but pretend we’re introverts. And so just by writing that article, I’m learning about you. I’m learning your style, I’m learning from you. It’s this reciprocal nature. And then I would just say anything wellness related. So I’m running the New York City marathon this Sunday. Super nervous. AJV (13:56): Congratulations. Thank MR (13:58): You. AJV (13:59): Cool. MR (13:59): I’m gonna meet 50,000 other people who share this interest in doing this. Really I would say maybe outlandish, but really kind of grandiose thing. But training and training with other people and having that common interest or bond, you know, wellness focused networking is one of my personal passions. AJV (14:15): Yeah. And I really love, there are two things there that kind of just blow my mind a little bit. Cause I, they seem so duh, but at the same time, I, they’re not, which is volunteerism. I mean, when I just think about it, it’s like the act of doing things to add together. It’s like you’re making memories, you’re creating experiences. It’s not just that, you know, I think it’s one of the things that most people challenged or challenged with is, I don’t have time for another coffee. Right. I hear that a ton from people in our community. And honestly, sometimes I felt it’s like, man, I don’t have time for another coffee. But it’s like, but at the, at my core, like I know how important it is to make that time to network. But then it’s like there is something meaningful about it, doing it while you’re doing something else, like volunteering or wellness. AJV (15:04): And it’s like I go to the same bar three class that’s like my preferred workout of choice every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday. And it’s like my favorite instructor, I just go to whatever she’s doing, like whatever class. But it’s like we’ve, we’ve become really good friends. And then through the process of just chatting after class one day she made a comment around, she’s gotta go get dressed up. And I was like, Oh, what for? And she was like, Oh, well my PR company, I was like, PR company. What do you mean PR company? And she goes, Yeah, in addition to owning the studio also I’m a partner and a PR company. I was like, Wait, what? And long story short, it’s like I ended up hiring her firm. But that was, again, that’s a version of networking where people don’t view it as networking, but you gotta be able to show up. AJV (15:50): But I love the, I love the way, like where are the, where are the places that you see people on a regular basis, right? So training for a marathon doing Peloton at 5:00 AM you create that community volunteering. I love that when that is so cool about processing your desire to volunteer and, and give back to the community as a way of networking and building relationships. And I love the concept too of you’re building relationships through doing something together. Not just trying to learn about each other’s businesses. It feels more natural and organic. And I have never viewed it that way before. MR (16:26): You know, it’s interesting. I have an investor he’s one of the coolest human beings on the planet and he’s such an inspiration because he built his company in such an inspiring way. And so a really good example is when I originally reached out to him, I said, Hey, we’re looking to meet other investors and customers. And he was like, Well I don’t, I I at first he’s like, Well I’m not sure how strong my network is, right? And as he’s gotten to know me and he is gotten to know the platform, he’s like, Oh, I know all the right people to introduce you to. Right? and so that’s just been been really helpful. I would also say, you mentioned not having enough time for another coffee. And I would like us to talk about the tech we sort of for move the app aside for a second, but at least our view and the view at keep with and what we’ve built the tech on is that you should have a networking strategy. MR (17:16): Mm-Hmm. , you shouldn’t be having a coffee with someone unless it supports an overall networking goal. And we would say that a networking goal is anything that you’re looking to accomplish. Cause if I’m looking to accomplish it on my own, but I have you helping me accomplish it, I’m gonna be more successful. Wow. So like you shouldn’t have, no one should be picking your brain with reckless abandon and nobody should just be having, you know, coffee with you just because, But if I am looking to meet the CEO of Peloton, Barry McCarthy, who I am looking to meet, AJV (17:47): Just put it out there in case anyone listening knows person, MR (17:50): Putting it out there that keep with, wants to partner with Peloton. If I am having a coffee with someone and I know that they might be able to help me with that introduction or that they’re wellness focused mm-hmm you know, having that strategy to support your networking because you can’t maintain an unending number of relationships. AJV (18:08): Yeah. So I’ve got two questions for you. Both for me selfishly, but then also I figured if, you know, I have these questions, other people listening have these questions. So here would be something that I find in, again, maybe this is just a me thing, I’m guessing it’s not, is sometimes networking or, and lemme just not call it networking for a second. Saying yes to a lunch or a coffee feels very one sided. And that’s why I feel like a lot of people going, I just don’t have time to do this anymore. Cuz they don’t view it as mutually beneficial or reciprocal. And I think that is in due partly because of the person who’s trying to coordinate it isn’t helping create that reciprocal environment. And so it’s easier for you to push it off, not respond and not do it. So my first question would be for everyone listening is how do you truly network set up these meetings whether virtually or in person where somebody else is inspired to go, Yes, I wanna take that hour with you or that half hour with you, I wanna get to know you. AJV (19:15): I do see the mutual benefit here. And not that it all has to be about, you know, give to give. Sometimes it is just give to give. But I think there’s also an art and a science of doing that in the right way where someone says, Yeah, when can we get together? Because there is this opportunity for both parties to win. So are there any tips or best practices on how do you make that where it is this reciprocal environment from even onset of thinking about it? MR (19:46): Yes. And I, I feel like we could have a whole conversation just about that. How do you even start, how do you know who to even reach out to? And I do at some point wanna talk about the tech cuz we have some tools in the tech to get you there. But you should be very aware of what your most important relationships are of all the different pockets of your network within those pockets. You know, who’s in your close group of key advisors, who would you call on a Friday night if something good or something bad happened? Mm-Hmm. who are your most important people in those relationships. But you should also, like, we, like I said earlier, have a networking strategy. I am networking to meet seed round investors to close out our seed round. I am networking to meet enterprise clients who will be early adopters for keyless tech. I am networking to meet other Peloton enthusiasts who are gonna be at the marathon on Sunday, whatever the case may be. And so having that strategy, so know why you’re gonna go into something. AJV (20:43): Can I pause it there? Cause you said you in my opinion, glance over something that I think is wildly important. And what you just said, I think from my experience is where most people fail miserably. They do not know who they wanna meet , they do not know who they wanna meet. MR (21:06): So there’s this tool out there aj and it’s gonna help people with that and I’m really excited. But no, you’re exactly right. So I this is gonna be the most, I hope this, I hope this comes across, across streamlined, but what you were asking is how you make sure that those conversations feel reciprocal. I recommend one that everybody set up strategic networking time with themselves for a period of time every week. Mm-Hmm. , I think it should be an hour. If everyone says they don’t have an hour to build relationships every week, I really call shenanigans on that set up strategic networking time, recurring meeting invite, show up to it, don’t book over it, consider it like a workout, et cetera. In that time, come up with a way list of ways that you can be helpful to other people. AJV (21:52): Amen. Love that. MR (21:54): So maybe your kid has gone through the college application process recently and you can help a friend whose kid is now going through the college application process. Maybe you speak a language, maybe you’re a super connector. What are all the ways that I can add value to you? And have that list right? Then you can think about what are all the things that I need in the world right now? I could really use some help figuring out a new web developer cuz I got an email before this call that my web developer is going in a different direction. Or how can I get a new book agent because our book agent has transitioned away whatever the case may be. So have your list of the ways that you can add value. Mm-Hmm. , what can I do for others and have the list of things that you need right now. MR (22:38): And those will then when I say to you at the end of a networking meeting, Hey aj, how can I be helpful to you right now? You can be like, actually I really need help with X in Chicago. But you also said people don’t know who they wanna meet. That is exactly true. And I will say to you, and I did say to you at the end of our first conversation, who are you looking to meet these days? And so in our Tech Keep West platform is really air traffic control for your relationship building and it helps you focus on who you know, who you wanna meet, your networking goals, who your people wanna meet. So if I know that you’re looking to meet clients in Chicago, I can note that and then I can add value to you every time I see a prospective client for you that builds the reciprocal nature. AJV (23:26): Yeah. So I think this is a great transition to talk a little bit about keep with, Cause I think one of the biggest challenges that people struggle with is just staying organized. It’s making time, it’s tracking it. Not everyone has a personal CRM or a database, not most companies do, but not all. But on a personal perspective it’s like that’s kind of the genesis of LinkedIn when it started, but yet it doesn’t do it in this strategic element. And this is what drew me in when we were, when I was meeting with our mutual friend Amanda, and she was previewing this app again, not intentionally. And I was like, Wait, this is so cool. And it was one of those things where you just recognize a need and you’re like, the reason it stuck out to me is because every single person in the brand builder’s community at some point has said, I need more of this type of client. AJV (24:18): I need more of these types of relationships. And they struggle with being strategic when asking of knowing who to ask, when to ask how often to ask. And there’s just a lot of, there’s a lot of, it’s, some of it’s just organization of keeping track. So if you have a desire to really be helpful and give and an effort of going, Hey, it’s like how can I serve the people around me? What can I give to people? Knowing that is the best relationship building tool you can do is just be willing to give. This is an amazing way of staying organized and tracking and making sure when life gets busy, you don’t forget all the important stuff. So tell us what is keep with and what does it do and like how does it help the everyday person like me? MR (25:03): For sure. So think of Keep with as air traffic control for your relationship building. And what it does is it brings together your connections, personal and professional from all the different places where you have them. So you probably have people in your social channels, you have people in your phone, you have your holiday card list, You probably as a business owner have a crm. It syncs to to CRMs and it’s a way to bring all of your people together. But it also includes the networking events that you will attend and the introductions that you are fostering and who you wanna meet and your networking goals all in one place. And then there’s a content library where you can learn how to network better. And it’s always great to have that, that educational component, but it’s bringing all of your relationship building into one platform. MR (25:53): It allows you to prioritize your relationships. So our mutual friend Amanda’s company had some pretty amazing success with her sales based on using our methodology, which we’re really proud of. It allows you to have a list of who you wanna meet. And so then when you’re on a plane and you sit next to somebody who knows somebody that and they say, Hey, who are you looking to meet? You’re like, Actually, I wanna meet these three people. Right? And it’s, it’s just such a great tool. One of our investors said she wished she had an executive assistant following her around to every meeting. And we don’t typically have that. But we do have keep with. And so we are enterprise facing first. We’re starting with businesses though any individual user can sign up now. But we’re B2B first and then we’ll be expanding to to b2c. There’s no spam, there’s no ads. And all introductions require consent of both people being introduced, which prevents people from flinging themselves at you in an, in an unwanted way. AJV (26:49): Thank you for that. . I think that’s, I mean I think there’s so much about this I think is so cool. If people wanna learn about Keep With, where should they go? MR (26:58): Sure. So our overall website is keep with.com and if people want to sign up, it is a paid app. You go to platform dot keep with.com and you register and sign up first, and then you download it to your device. So it’s available on iOS, Android, and web. And on our website Keep with.com you can view a demo video and anyone can also reach out to me as well. AJV (27:24): Awesome. Well, we’ll make sure to put all of that in the show notes to make sure everyone’s got it. But you can go to keep with.com or then platform dot keep with.com if you wanna actually get the app. Now continuing our conversation on this, you know, networking adventure that we are all on, whether or not we admit it. So we had talked about this a little bit of most people aren’t super clear on who they wanna ask for, which is probably the number one deterrent of asking. And I have been a part of so many networking meetings where I have said, Hey, who can I, you know, introduce you to, who are you looking to be connected with? Or we do a lot of facilitated networking events at Brand Builders group and they do not do what they’re supposed to do. AJV (28:09): And instead what they do is, Well, just tell me about your business. Instead of going, Well, this is who I am strategically looking to be introduced to. So what advice do you have for the person out there who’s going, Well, I thought I was doing that when in turn they are not, because not everyone is your audience. And I can just think of so many examples where they go, Well, I’m looking to be introduced to anyone who is interested in buying a home. Well, that’s a really broad statement. So how do you, how do you narrow it down where someone can immediately go, I know someone like that. What tips do you have to help people narrow it in? MR (28:49): So it, it’s funny as, as somebody who always found math challenging, I can’t believe I’m gonna give us an equation, but I’m gonna give us an equation. So we’ll do this as kind of a fill in the blank. So you can think of it as a networking goal is an objective that you are looking to accomplish with the power of your network behind you. Really simple. And, and like I said earlier, what any goal, if you’re looking to do anything, move to a new place, get a new job, get a new client become more fit, whatever the case may be, any networking goal, you know, any goal can be a networking goal, but the way that you should think about it is, I am networking to X land meet, introduce, volunteer for the purposes of AJV (29:32): Y MR (29:33): And you can get even more specific and say, you know, I am networking to meet home buyers in this market looking to spend this dollar range for the purposes of X. Or I’m looking to meet people who know lots of people who want to buy houses, right? Because then they’re the super connectors and you get more bang for your buck. So it’s having networking goals that are specific and include why you wanna meet the person. If I just tell you, Hey aj, I wanna meet Barry McCarthy, the CEO of Peloton, you’re like, That’s nice, Who doesn’t? But if I say I wanna meet Barry McCarthy because I know that Peloton is a new tech solution and he wants to add apps to his platform and that I know at a micro level we’ve really helped people in the community connect better. Mm-Hmm. , then you’re like, Oh, if I meet Barry I’m gonna send him Megan’s way. Right? Yeah. So it’s having a networking strategy, just meeting anyone is is not gonna cut it. AJV (30:28): Yeah. And I love that too. Because we talk a lot about getting really clear on what, you know, you’re talking about like your, you know, networking strategy in terms of people, we would call it your avatar. It’s like know exactly who your avatar is. It’s not I’m looking for home buyers. It’s looking say, Hey, I wanna serve home buyers who are new and I live in Tennessee who are new to Middle Tennessee, so I wanna serve that market who is, you know, an out of state transplant who is looking to buy a home, who is, you know, spending this amount of money X, Y, and Z. But you’ve added a whole nother level of, but why, why this type of person? And I think that’s really unique. So can you just put a little bit more context around that because I think that part will really help it stick. That’s the sticky part of that personal connection that why to it MR (31:20): There’s a trust and an authenticity to to relationship building that really, really matters. Mm-Hmm. . And so if I am asking you for an introduction, I am taking that really seriously. Right? And so I want you to feel comfortable when you go to a holiday party and you meet someone and you’re like, Oh, I need to introduce you to Megan because she is doing this. If you know the purpose behind the introduction, and it’s not to land a sale to make, you know what I mean? If it’s, if it’s something way more meaningful that builds trust, it also gives me specificity because then when I’m sitting on a plane next to somebody who you know is gonna be a potential home buyer for you, I have the specificity in my head. I actually also have it in the keep with app. AJ is looking to meet people that are gonna buy that are new to the neighborhood, right? Yeah. So it provides way more for me to make a warm introduction AJV (32:13): Yeah. MR (32:13): Because it’s based on something AJV (32:15): Mm-Hmm. , I love that y part of like, here’s what I’m looking to meet, but here’s why I really wanna meet. That’s a really, really distinguishable fact That would help, again, make it sticky of going, Oh, that’s right. It’s because she’s a Peloton junkie and does it every morning at 5:00 AM And it’s like that, that sticks with me as much as wanting to meet the CEO of Peloton. So that sticky part is really good. So okay, here’s my next question. On behalf of everyone who’s listening, what’s the best way to make an introduction? Like, what’s a way that you shouldn’t do and what’s a way that’s helpful? Like, so how do you, so somebody says, Hey, this is how I wanna meet, and you’re like, I know someone. What are the best practices in making good introductions? MR (33:02): So first and foremost I always encourage people, keep with, always encourages people to be a connector, to always be thinking about who you can introduce. The key most critical component is to get double opt-in first. Mm-Hmm. ever proceed with an introduction before getting both people’s permission first, I once had someone introduce me to someone, introduce me to someone who I already knew really well and was a really close friend, . And so after the introduction we was made was made, I was like, nice to meet you person who has been to my home a million times and it was my child, right? But that’s a funny example. But we may be dealing with a health issue these days. We may be dealing with, we may be tapped out, I may be heads down in fundraising and so I have to dial down my, my outreach, right? Mm-Hmm. get double opt in first. That’s, that will build your credibility, support your credibility. So that’s really important. AJV (33:57): Mm. I like that. So just to clarify, I wanna make sure everyone hears that quickly. Get permission from both parties before you make the mutual introduction. So if I had, if I’m like, Oh my gosh, I just met someone today, they need to meet Megan. It’s like, Hey Megan, hey, I met someone today. I really love to introduce you. Are you okay with that? As well as telling my friend Bob Smith, Hey Bob, you want me to introduce you to Megan? Great. And then I, then I make the connection, right? MR (34:23): And that is currently a pretty clunky process. You do emails, but we’ve solved for that with the technology. So we have double opt in, I select, you select me, you select Bob, we both get a prospective introduction, we both consent, and then the introduction proceed. Awesome. AJV (34:38): So it takes care, the automation takes care of all of the personalized manual work that you would be doing otherwise. MR (34:45): And you then can keep track of, oh, I sent Megan three potential introductions and she declined all of them, right? Oh, so they proceed. That also gives you some intel. So getting double optin, but I would also just say on a very fun level, build the person up that you are introducing. My favorite things to do is send a note to two people and tell them why they’re awesome. Mm. You know, you need to know you. And very rarely it’ll just like, my gut will just tell me, the universe will be better if you two know each other. And so I’ll say that. I’ll say, These are the rock star things about this person. These are the rock star things about this person. And I have no specific goal or purpose, but I just know two HR experts need to make the world better, right? Mm-Hmm. . But build the other person up. Because if I send a note to someone and I’m telling them just how amazing you are, and I’m like, Here’s why you need to meet aj. Her business does this for people. She’s so amazing. That is so much more powerful than you reaching out to somebody gold and saying, Here’s why I’m amazing AJV (35:47): Yes. Which most people won’t do typically, right? But I love that. I love that buildup where both people feel so complimented that the, you know, flattery does go somewhere sometimes flattery helps a lot. And I love the other thing that you said too is explain why they should connect. I feel like when I get a bunch of introduction, you know, emails, it’s often at the end of it I’m like, I hear you’re awesome. I’m not sure exactly why they wanted us to get together. I’m willing to meet, but it’s like most of my willingness comes out of my desire to keep my relationship strong with whoever sent this random connection. Because the context of here’s why you need to meet is missing. So I think that is really important to build both parties up and then connect the dots. And then here’s why I think you guys need to meet each other. MR (36:42): And it’s also so important that we’ve really, like your network is your most important asset. Mm-Hmm. , no matter where you live, where you work, what, what’s going on, your people are your most important asset. And so I think it’s really important that we take that seriously, that you trust who you’re introducing me to. If you introduce me to somebody and then they damage my business, for example, or I introduce you to somebody and then they ghost you, right? That’s a reflection on me. And so we need to be discerning about who we let into our networks. And that’s why taking the time and the care to make the introduction, if I’m introducing you to somebody in my network, they’re really vetted. And I, I take that responsible really seriously. AJV (37:20): I love that. And I think that’s really, really important of you’re not just connecting people that you don’t know, but there is a trusted relationship that you are passing on to another trusted relationship. I love that. This is so good. Okay, last question. Watching the clock, I’m paying attention. So last question. What do you think people need to know about networking that they don’t know? MR (37:48): The importance of making time to do it? So I think a lot of people think if they stay heads down in their work, they’ll, you know, so it’s very important to take deliberate time to network. I also think that people do not think enough about including personal and professional members of your network. Mm-Hmm. only think about who we know professionally and ignore the personal Amanda, our mutual friend, we were talking about the importance of neighbors and she was like, Neighbors are in my network. And I was like, Yes, your neighbors love you . So the personal and professional, not having enough time, time that you have to be standing in a ballroom with a drink in your hands, which we covered you definitely don’t. And to be truly discerning about who you let in and who you keep in your network. I think those are just a lot of, I mean we can go on and on, but I would say that people often only think about who they know professionally. And we can be way more open-minded, stop by cating between personal and professional. The parents at hockey are just as important as your clients. Yeah. Be potential clients. AJV (38:49): I love that. I love just be discerned of who comes in, who stays in. I think that’s a really important just reminder to us all is I just, I somebody referred, I just remember this time last year I was at a conference, a summit of a really good friend who was hosting it and I was one of the speakers and one of the sponsors of the events concert. I just naturally assumed worked with the person who was putting on the event. I was like, well, there’s no way she would’ve had a sponsor come speak on her behalf unless that she was a client. That was a very bad assumption of mine. So I hired this company for tens of thousands of dollars, had a horrific experience. 60 days in, I’m like, no. And so I reached out to my friend, I’m like, Hey, I just, I want you to know. AJV (39:39): And they were like, she’s like, Oh my gosh, I didn’t know. And I’m like, Have you not ever worked with ’em? And she goes, No. And I was like, Oh my gosh. Was like such a great reminder of ask don’t make assumptions. And then I was, I went back to this company and I was like, listen, this is a hundred percent not what was advertised. Like this is not okay. This, I had to get so many other people involved to even like, get out of this contract because I’m like, I really did it based on my assumption that somebody else’s trust that that’s what they were putting in front of their audience. And I was so wrong and that’s my fault. That’s no one else’s thought. I made that assumption. But to your point your, your involvement with the people around you reflects on your reputation. AJV (40:25): They’re an extension of you. And then I also, I lied and I have one more question cuz I said I was gonna ask it in the very beginning and then I got on this deep dark road of networking, which I think is so important. I also asked earlier about apps. How do you know when you’re ready to have an app? How, like how do you know if you should have an app? And since you have been in need deep eyeballs deep in this for almost five years, I would just love for your quick personal, you know, share with our audience of how do you know if you should have an app and how do you know when you’re ready? And that’ll be the last question, I promise. MR (41:03): Okay. I’m gonna go to what you first said though though because the, the what you just described about the contract and people not knowing, one of the most important questions that people need to ask is how well do you know so and so? Mm-Hmm. you know, I see that, you know, so and so can you make the introduction? So and so may have just matched with me randomly at a conference and I may not know them. And so a really good question is to say how well do you know them? And also aj, if you say to me, I really wanna introduce you to someone I can say to you, that sounds great, tell me why, but how well do you know them? Is this somebody that you would have in your house, you know, at a holiday party? Is this somebody that you only know at a very high level? MR (41:44): So that’s just, but ditto solidarity hands at your back. I been where you’ve been . In terms of how we got here and how we knew tech, we needed tech to scale. We started off getting asked to speak and write about networking. Hmm. And companies across industry sector, big name logos across geographies started to say, Hey Megan, can you come teach our people how to build relationships better? And so the fact that it was industry agnostic, the fact that it was around the world, the fact that every time I was talking to people they were saying networking is hard. Oh I need to do more of that. Oh, I need to, I hate that. Right. That told me there was something there when I saw what a big challenge it was. And I saw the existing tools that were trying to solve the challenge but weren’t. And as an entrepreneur, I wanted to scale our company to help more people connect better the right way. I thought that using technology as a solution was the way to go. One of my favorite phrases is there’s gotta be a startup fixing that AJV (42:50): . I love MR (42:51): That. Any problem? Think about it like this weekend, wherever you are. Like if someone’s like, I wish we had, it’s like, I think there’s got, I think I’ve heard there’s gotta be a startup fixing that. And so I wanted to be the startup that fixed networking. And so we started to go down this path. We raised some capital very quickly. Some other time we can talk about the traction and the speed and there was a whole bunch of excitement and capital raised and I was introduced to Amanda and, and the tech started and away we went. And so working with the app at team and their unparalleled professionalism and excellence and UI experience and they just got us our mutual friend once said to me, It’s great that you’re my client and we’re building the tech together, but you’ve changed my life and that’s what relationships do. MR (43:34): So I knew we were ready when we were getting companies around the world, across industry and sectors saying that they were finding it hard. And so I thought then we are in our houses. Hello, welcome to my kitchen. Right? And so we had to use technology to stay connected even if we’re one of those people who say that we hate doing it on Zoom. So there were a whole confluence of factors and we’ve now built tech that has looked at the pain points of existing solutions that is really based on who you know and who you wanna meet. No spam, no ads, no noise. And we feel like we’ve built something that’s really gonna help people to build relationships better. AJV (44:10): No, I love that. And I think, you know, some of that is, you know, it’s definitely not easy, but it’s also kind of simple of going, it’s, you know, basic laws of, you know, supply and demand. It’s like you were having a lot of demand. That’s how you knew. It’s like I have to do something that’s more scalable. Something that is more far reaching than me just being on stages. That can only, you can only do so many. And so I think looking at the demand, I think that’s a really good tip for anyone who’s listening of going, Are people asking for what you do? To the point that like, I don’t have enough bandwidth to continue doing it because I’m getting asked so often to help with X, Y, or Z. Is the demand there enough and is it scalable enough? But there’s an opportunity to take it into a a tech-based platform and I love that. Now you just clarifying cuz it’s like you’ve been working on this for a long time so it’s not like it’s one of those things you just whipped up over the last 12 months. MR (45:05): No, we, we started as keep with in in 2017 and have been developing the content and the methodology and the approach for some time. In September of 21 is when we really started to raise capital in earnest. I was introduced to Amanda cuz I needed to find the right team to build our tech. And we used our network to find the right team. And then people have talked about how quickly and beautifully we’ve been able to build technology from September to April. The, the tech launched in April of this year in beta. We spent the summer working out some bugs. It’s fully functional and now we are talking to some very large global enterprises about implementing it across their companies. AJV (45:45): Man, so cool, so exciting. Congratulations. Like how cool to see this idea come to fruition in such a way that is passion driven and really meant to help people make networking not so hard. It’s so awesome to have you on the show. Thank you so much. Y’all go check out, Keep with go to keep with.com or if you wanna just go ahead and download the app platform dot keep with.com. Megan, if they wanna connect with you personally, where should they go? MR (46:17): Sure. Megan, m e g a n Keep with.com. Just send me a note, shoot you my calendarly. You can also connect with me on Keep with and book some time. But the easiest way is [email protected]. AJV (46:30): So cool, so generous. What a great, helpful interview. Thank you so much for being on and everyone else stay tuned for the the short recap version after this and we’ll catch you next time on the influential personal brand. MR (46:44): Thanks AJ.

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25 of the World's Most Recognizable Influencers Share Their Tips on How to Build and Monetize a Personal Brand

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