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Podcast

Robbie Samuels

Network and Zoom Like a Pro with Robbie Samuels

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Episode 56 – The Sixth Degree with Emily Merrell – Network and Zoom

Through the pandemic Zoom quickly became the most popular venue available. However, for those interested in networking digitally it was either a complete disgrace or a huge advantage. For Robbie Samuels, he made it his mission to create a Zoom revolution with #NoMoreBadZoom, a virtual happy hour dedicated to teaching and inspiring others to embrace Zoom to all of its capabilities, including networking. 

Here’s what you’ll learn:

  • How can you get the most out of networking? Robbie teaches a big mindset shift that will help you to see networking events differently.
  • Robbie shares his personal tips to start networking.
  • How to meet the right people? Be clear about your purpose and build a strategy and framework. Robbie talks about how to present yourself to be approachable.
  • Nurture your relationships! Networking is about connecting with others. Robbie has some ways for you to build and maintain those connections.
  • #NoMoreBadZoom: the way that Robbie pivoted his business in 2020 by organizing successful Zoom meetings, where they have fun and learn to use the platform to its full capabilities. 
  • What Zoom fatigue is and how to improve your technique as a host to avoid it. Robbie gives us some tips to have a better use of Zoom and host online events with a greater participant engagement.

You can learn more about Robbie, his programs, and his certificates on his website. You can also listen to his podcast, On the Schmooze. If you want to join his free weekly Zoom meeting, visit #NoMoreBadZoom.

Robbie wants to share with our listener 9 Ways to Network in a Pandemic for free.

Facebook: Robbie Samuels 

Twitter: @RobbieSamuels 

Linkedin: @robbiesamuels

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SPEAKERS

Robbie Samuels, Emily Merrell

Emily Merrell

Welcome to The Sixth Degree Podcast, the podcast where we grill our guests about the things that make them tick and find out how human connection plays a role in their life. I’m your host, Emily Merrell. Hello, and welcome back to The Sixth Degree with Emily Merrell, the podcast where we grill our guests about the things that make them tick and find out how human connection plays a role in their life. I’m your host, Emily Merrell. Today, I’m thrilled to have Robbie Samuels, business growth strategist, virtual event designer, design consultant, executive Zoom producer, I think there’s like six other titles that I could add to that. But Robbie, I’m so excited to have you on the show. Welcome.

Robbie Samuels

Yes, Emily, thank you so much for inviting me.

Emily Merrell

I completely forgot podcast host too. I had the honor of being on your amazing podcast earlier this year. Or last year?

Robbie Samuels

Yeah. We came out recently. Yeah.

Emily Merrell

Like that feels like nine years ago, already

Robbie Samuels

Nine, nine or 10 years ago or maybe last year

Emily Merrell

Yeah, last month as we do it. Well, the theme of today’s show is networking. And I feel really, really lucky to be on the question asking side of things. Because typically, people ask me about networking. But we have such a treat to be able to interview, a networking expert like yourself, who has been recognized by, as a networking expert by Harvard Business Review, Forbes, Lifehacker and Inc. So how did you become a networking expert? What was your story and actually getting that themed title?

Robbie Samuels

Well, you know, I’m an overnight success. 10 years in the making, like most good entrepreneurs, I years ago, started a meetup group called Socializing for Justice, which was a progressive, you know, social networking space. And I was about a year into that. And I’ve been keeping track of who the regulators were by putting a little asterisk next to their name. And I decided that after a year, I wanted to bring those regulators together, because the culture of the space is so dependent on who shows up regularly, and how do they show up and how they welcome other people. And so I brought them out for coffee, and talk to them about, you know, how they could show up a little early to help greet people or help at the front, at the front desk, and different things like that. And then I said, and it’d be great if you could just kind of mingle and you know, schmooze through the room. And that’s when I got a deer in headlights. Because people were not that comfortable. It turns out that most people in the room were shy and are introverted. And the reason they were regulars is because they had found a space that was really welcoming. And here I am asking them to pay it forward, and they want to, but they didn’t understand how to do it with their own skill set. So that’s kind of where it started. I mean, one on one coaching can only go so far. So I created a workshop that became the talk that I did for the next 11 years until a pandemic. And so you know, this is going back in like 2000 and like six, seven, when I first started testing it 2009 is when I got started getting paid to speak, while I still had a full time job and just like my side hustle. And then I left my you know, safety of a career in the end of 2014 to focus on speaking and coaching and started my podcasts a year later wrote a book about networking at conferences, and then launched to the coaching programs and masterminds and then did a TEDx. And, you know, here I am well, on my way of, you know, being a top of my game. And again, March 2020 happened, and I had to reinvent myself. But I think that working is not something you just do at events. And you know, a lot of the skills that I was teaching, then still apply today.

Emily Merrell

Oh, my God, I love that story. And I completely forgot that you have an extraordinary book as well. Can you remind us the name of the book,

Robbie Samuels

Croissants vs. Bagels: Strategic, Effective, and Inclusive Networking at Conferences. And I’m wondering if you’d like to know what that title actually means?

Emily Merrell

I would because I love both of both croissants and bagels, and you’re making me really hungry. So yes, please explain it.

Robbie Samuels

Let’s just imagine back in a time when we could all meet up in person easily. And you walked into a room like reception, and people are standing around those little those little clusters, those shoulder to shoulder hurdles that are impossible to break into. Those are the bagels. But if someone in any of those circles shifted their body language to create some space, like more an U shaped in a circle, that is the croissant that we’re looking for. So if your intentionality is to meet people, when you go to events, then you have to be approachable. and body language is such a big part of that. And that is actually what my TEDx was on. And people can watch that RobbieSamuels.com/TEDx.

Emily Merrell

I love that I definitely was thinking you were gonna go with like, bagels have more variety to them. So dress yourself up, but with some everything stain on it. So I was going in a completely different direction.

Robbie Samuels

That is the first time I’ve heard that line. And I’ve talked about this a lot that Thank you.

Emily Merrell

Yeah, you know, I mean, I always like to keep it spicy and interesting with you. So I want to give you something new. I mean, you don’t have to convince me that networking is important. And I love the fact that it’s played such a role in your life from ultimately leaving you to leave your corporate job behind. But I still find that so many people think of networking as like the dirtiest word out there. And as you mentioned, when you started telling people to take on a bigger role, they had the deer in the headlight things. So do you have any mindset tips or thoughts on how people can re approach networking, especially in person where we’re told now are still pandemic 2021. And you’re still supposed to be six feet away from someone. So how can we approach networking without being intimidated?

Robbie Samuels

There was a study by Harvard was part of this study, I think, Northwestern that found that networking makes people feel dirty. And what was interesting was the people who didn’t feel that way were more senior executives, because the way they approached these networking opportunities was to give they were there to make introductions, or offer support or share resources, or sharks their experience. So I think that a really big mindset shift for everybody is to think about giving. How do you show up and add value? Which is actually the question that was on my mind when the pandemic really like knocks my business off course, you know, how do you show up and add value because that’s, that’s that go back to that each time no matter what it is, and you will find a good way forward. And that’s, you know, and if you’re looking for a job, for instance, then show up and add value. You know, just being someone who needs a job is not very interesting. So be clear on your experience, your passion, what you offer. And if anyone listening has ever done hiring, you know how it’s an exhausting part of your job, it’s, it takes over your life, and you still have a full time job to do if you met someone out and about or at an online, you know, forum. And they were clearly able to communicate their passion, and their value, their experience. And they have followed up with a really good application, like good resume, good cover letter and all that, that would just simplify your life so much. So it really is a gift. For people, even when people need something like a job like you do, you are unemployed, or you do want to switch roles, even then you can approach it with the mindset of offering as opposed to just asking. So I just for me, whether it’s in person, or online, or whatever it is, I just think always about how am I offering How are being generous, and I practice what I call the philosophy of abundance, by giveaway time, or money is a resource that will be depleted. But by giving away knowledge, nothing is taken for me. And in fact, those around me are getting smarter and stronger and more capable. And that is actually reflected back on me in a positive way. So I’m really maybe almost too free with giving away content and ideas. Because I feel very strong, I stand strong on my own value of how I teach those things. And I don’t think anyone else just having the words are going to be able to replicate it. But they can try. And if they can make it work, that’s great. But if they can do it without me, then they’re not my ideal client. So I kind of move on,

Emily Merrell

I think that’s incredible advice, just to re approach it not as a sale selling tactic or like an exchange. I think a lot of people think of it as a transaction, like they have to get business out of it, or they have to do, they have to score something. And yet reframing it as a gift and coming from a place of like educating and nurturing and mentoring is just so, so smart. And there’s a great book to I’m sure, you know, Give and Take by Adam Grant. Adam Grant is also kind of like the king of business and networking if you want to learn more about him. But I love that that most of the successful people out there are givers versus takers. And recently, Robbie, I had the chance of chatting with some college students who were in this process of job searching. And I recommended to them that they start a blog, and they start reaching out to all of the companies that they want to work for and started hiring and we start interviewing their HR professionals, and give them the opportunity to be featured on their blogs so they could have more visibility to their audience. And you know, they don’t…A lot of people don’t know where to start. But I think like a blog is a good place to start or a podcast. Do you have any other resources that you like to recommend when people are starting out events as well?

Robbie Samuels

Yeah, I actually think a simple way to start would be to host something I know that doesn’t sound simple to some people, but even you and to other people is a gathering. And it doesn’t be anything fancy. And now that we all have the access to things like zoom, it could just be you into the people gathering on Zoom. I think that makes a real difference. And that’s a great way to you know, connect with people in your network provide value. You’re the more people in the room, the better you want to be at facilitating. When I did this in person, I would host dinners in conjunction with conferences. And I would scout out you know, restaurants nearby walking distance, not too loud, not too pricey. No TVs in every direction, and then, you know, make the reservation and we really like that’s how simple it was and then I’d have a table for 10 waiting for me or table for eight waiting for me and then I would Find people to join me for dinner, like the first day or two of the conference. And by the second night of the conference, we would all gather for dinner. And everyone else would be scrambling to find a find a place to eat and eating at odd hours. And we would just like stroll over, have dinner together. And you know, it’s really, it is about planning a little bit ahead of time. But those magic, you know, magic is mostly preparation, a little bit flair presentation, that rabbit was there before the show started. So I think like making the reservation before you need, it is like a part of that. And planning is also just really key for any kind of networking. You know, when I was writing my book, I was trying to figure out what the segments were like, if I want to do sections, not just chapters, but like organized into sections. And everyone said, well isn’t there before, during and after the event. And I I didn’t sit right, because follow up is something that you would think of as something you do clearly after the event. But I was proponent of writing your follow up email draft before you win or to get into the right mindset. And that’s actually the tip that I picked up in life hacker first in Inc., and then in Lifehacker, and, and then during that you need to keep track of the cards of the people that you meet or in in this new space, like maybe keep track of the LinkedIn invites. So the people you meet online, or websites, etc. And then you want to like have space set aside after to actually do the follow up. And so to me, it’s like all that’s preparation, you know, planning ahead of time, and which is where I actually think like I’m an outgoing extrovert, but I think that people who are more introverted can really benefit following this, which is a lot of people I’ve taught over the years because it really isn’t about flair. And, you know, being like super extroverted, or like gregarious, or like the life of the party, or like burning through your energy, it’s really get in, be clear about what you can do. Leave, follow up nurture, repeat. And, yeah, and so just being consistent with whatever you try blog podcast, like I’ve done a weekly podcast for nearly five years, I’ve had a weekly email for probably like, almost all that time, I actually wish I had started sooner, which is what I would actually say, Yeah,

Emily Merrell

that’s those are such good recommendations. And with your follow ups, do you typically keep it as a template that you just templatized? Or do you create unique follow ups for every event that you go to?

Robbie Samuels

Well, now it’s gotten to the point where I kind of have like a go to, like, I quickly pulled together but early on, I would just sit down and think about, you know, who am I trying to meet there was an ideal person? And then what would I want them to know about me like it really, it’s a clarity of what am I walking in, first and foremost to talk about. And then you know, it really depends on the crowd. And then, you know, there might be like a primary ask like you’re motivated by and it should be a primary give. And again, for every audience is going to be different. So writing about all that out, which is what you would include your follow up message helps you also just get it in your head before you walk in the room. So you’re more likely to meet the kind of people you want to meet. Every one of them. It was a Boston based event, the city was running and it had leaders from all different sectors. So in some ways, it was a nightmare, because really hard to network in a space that was just so diverse. So when I first got in there, I remember I said, I, I work in nonprofits, that my backgrounds actually nonprofit. That’s the career that I left. And then they introduced me to someone who worked in nonprofit. And then I said, Well, I actually do advocacy work. And so they introduced me as someone whose advocacy work. And then I told that person that I was an LGBT advocacy. And they were like, Oh, my God, you know, so and so they’re not here, wait, let me introduce the two of you. And it was back when Twitter was really the way we like talk to each other. So they tweeted an introduction. And then I ran into that woman, six weeks later, at an event she was checked, and she got her came around and hug me because you know, we were talking on Twitter back and forth. And it’s just like, that’s networking. But like, if I had just met three random people, I wouldn’t have met that amazing person who ended the great connection. And still to this day, someone I know, if we’re talking back more than a decade most 12 years ago. It’s that leap frogging being really clear purpose and knowing how to frame it to other people can help you meet the right kind of people.

Emily Merrell

I think that’s such great advice for people. So kind of having like a clear strategy and framework before you can walk in rather than just going around and pinballing your way through the room.

Robbie Samuels

There’s a study by the International Association of Exhibitions and Events that says that 76% of people they surveyed said that networking was a top driver for why they chose to attend. And yet, you know, while that makes sense, three quarters of people like go to events for networking, you probably wouldn’t think three quarters of the people do that, like actually follow through with that intention. And my work prior to the pandemic was really helping close that gap between intention and follow through and helping people actualize like the opportunities at conferences. That was the book that I wrote, and that was that’s my topic, right? So it’s really like helping people Put that into practice. And one thing I would suggest is, you know, show up frequently enough that you’re regular. That doesn’t mean just show up every time forever. But I’d rather go three times in three consecutive meetings, then three times over 12 months. Because if you go three times, even in three months, and really show up, I remember this one time I joined a new Association. Week, no first one, I don’t know anyone, I’m walking around trying to meet board members. Because they’re the most connected. I meet a bunch of board members, I take selfies with all the board members. I’m not a huge selfie person, usually. But I go through this process, take them all. A week before the next event, I post them on social and LinkedIn. And I tagged them because of course, I found them and I printed them. In the meantime, can’t wait to see you again, walked in there all greeting me Hello. I asked about committee work. I asked about different ways that I, here’s something I do, what do you need help with, and they’re in there introducing me to other people are doing work. And so by the third time, I’m like, really talking in a friendly way with the President. And the President and I are still friends, like years later, like, like, you know, so. And if I gone three times over a year, I’d have been a new person every single time. So it wasn’t just that I showed up. It’s that I showed up, fully. And I committed and I’m always like, I don’t know if it’s a space for me until I go three times. And I went, I actually Oh also submitted an article to their newsletter. Before I went my first one, I found out who their newsletter person was and their board, I offered to some content. So for eight months, I had content in their newsletter, I went to their events. And then I actually decided it wasn’t like a space for me. And it was fine. But it was fine, because I met the right kind of people. And that clarity helped me figure out that my audience was elsewhere. But meanwhile, I met some great people in the field. And and it’s not time wasted, because relationships were built, right. So if I had just done that sporadically, for years, that would have been time wasted, same energy, less outcome.

Emily Merrell

So just the moral of that story, everyone is consistency is king, like make sure to be consistent. In both your event attending if you’re going to a networking event from writing your newsletter to recording your podcasts like you want to be consistent in what you’re working on. Which switching gears a little bit. Speaking of consistency, he were so consistent before the pandemic, and then the pandemic definitely threw you a unique wrench, where you were able to pivot very successfully. I do say, I personally think one of the greater frustrations I heard this year was the fact that people didn’t want to give digital networking a chance. And as you and I know, we both had to pivot our businesses completely digital. But I had members that straight up told me they never wanted to attend an event, they wouldn’t even give it a chance and canceled their memberships. And then I had people who told me, wow, this is extraordinary, what a great, what a great opportunity. Like I never was able to attend your events because they were further away, or it was difficult and challenging. And now I feel closer. And you have done such an extraordinary job of making Zoom networking just easier and more approachable. So you created these these events called No Bad Zoom, hashtag, No Bad Zoom. So if you look them up, that’s what it’s called,

Robbie Samuels

#NoMoreBadZoom.

Emily Merrell

#NoMoreBadZoom. Even better, #NoMoreBadZoom. And I love that the mission is like where events equal content and connections and virtual events are not an exception. So tell us about the origin of #NoMoreBadZoom events and why? why you decided to host them weekly?

Robbie Samuels

So it’s March 11. And I have come to accept that. This is happening March 11 2020. I had been listening to Rachel Maddow for months talking about this, this virus so I think I was less reluctant to like accept it. I was like, Okay, this is the thing, and no one’s gonna need what I can offer. So I was a little stumped. There was like two and a half days from like, Monday, the ninth till the 11th, where I was really like, how, what do I do, and I end up here, a mastermind that I form and I facilitate my mini mastermind that I’m in I know run it, they kick me in the butt and they were like, you know, you don’t think of networking. If something happens in person, you know, go go create something. And so the next day on the 12th of Thursday, I wrote nine ways to network in a pandemic. And I shared it. And that night, I thought and it got a good response, partly because it was so new, like the pandemic was just happening. I got the idea that I should do one of those things. So that night I asked community of friends, would you come if I did have a virtual happy hour tomorrow at five and they got a bunch of yeses. So that’s how it started like March 13 2020. I host a virtual happy hour or 20 people come and I did the like everyone go around and say your name and something about yourself thing, which you know. And yet, people were like really excited and they loved the way I facilitated it even though that’s not actually what they said. It just said it was well run, it was smooth. I had to facilitate. I didn’t even realize what a skill set it was. I didn’t I’d never claimed being an emcee, I’d never claimed being a facilitator, I just did these things my whole life, you know, working at it. The next week, I tried breakout rooms for the first time, even though I’ve been using Zoom for like four or five years, I didn’t have never enabled it, right. Like, if you don’t have the setting, you don’t have it. And by mid April, I had committed to doing this weekly. And I launched the pilot program that became a certification program. So I now train and certify presenters and meeting professionals to become certified virtual event professionals through a program called The 5% Advantage Program, which I ran monthly for May, June, July and August 2020. And I stopped because I had so much event client work by that point, that the fall was consumed with running events for clients. And it hasn’t slowed down into this year. And so now I work with national and statewide advocacy organizations, helping them strategically bring their events online with less stress, and greater participant engagement. And I actually had to subcontract some work out to these people that I have certified to become Zoom producers. So it’s been a wonderful cycle. I don’t charge my weekly event. I’ve held it every Friday since March 13 2020, including Christmas. But it’s it’s been an amazing way to bring to your community. We’ve got 60 people on the line each time mostly entrepreneurs, 50% have been there nine or more times, 20% have been there 25 or more times. So it’s just really been a remarkable launchpad. And a great way for people to find out more about me see me in action and to refer me really, and I look forward to it, I really do. It’s such a one person actually said that is the way they recover each week from Zoom fatigue. Like you imagine you spent a week on Zoom, and you get all zoom fatigue. And then they come to a two and a half hour event on a Friday and I ma like this is how I recover. So yeah, it’s really been a special thing.

Emily Merrell

And you do such a good job. And I love that it’s called #NoMoreBadZoom, because you definitely do make it a fun Zoom. And as someone who hosts events, myself, it’s fascinating. I learned so much like I went in there, I’m not gonna lie, I went in there. And I was like, What is Robbie gonna teach me that? I don’t know about Zoom. And you’re like, did you know, Emily, that you can, you know, pop around to different breakout rooms? And I was like, No, I didn’t know that. I thought I had to always place them. No, I’m like, but you have to upgrade your zoom, which I’m one of those terrible humans that it’s like, would you like to update anything? And I say, remind me and nine years and then everything goes to crap. So it was really great. And you know, it’s so funny that you brought up breakout rooms, Robbie, because when I first started, I didn’t know that Zoom had breakout rooms. And I was having individuals call one another for their matches and put their cameras on you are there. Yeah, put their screens on mute, and then call or match. And one of my guy friends was like, um, have you thought about breakout rooms? And I was like, What are you talking about? No, I don’t have breakout rooms. Oh, I wish would that be awesome? He’s like, why don’t you just enable them. So to your point, I had no idea and then once that happened, such a game changer. And then key team people breakout rooms is an art inpatients for the first time. I don’t know if you find this at all.

Robbie Samuels

Well, I mean, I think that technically opening right breakout rooms is one part but then strategically and thoughtfully using breakout rooms is an entirely different level of dedication. And so I’ve actually created over 60 bite size you know, two to five minute videos around Zoom best practices, strategies and tips. And you know, the fact you can get a whole bunch of them by going to RobbieSamuels.com/videos, and to the free PDF that says links to whole bunch of them in nicely organized. But breakout rooms is an entire page. There’s eight different videos. And it’s not like here’s where you click kind of videos. It’s the why. It’s, you know, here’s how you thoughtfully ask the right kinds of question. Here is how you tell people what to expect. Here’s how you define direction of people’s they can move between the rooms. I think that zoom fatigue is a lot because participants are confused, their brains are working extra hard to make sense of what the host is saying. When the host points in one direction and says the other when the when the host says give me go ahead raise your hand and shots not raised and is and they’re all like I do what and shot and like. Like that’s the fatigue. The fatigue is when we’re not specific and clear in our instructions. So I focus a lot on technique over technology, and I only got a second monitor in January of 2021 I I have it on my wish list to learn like he cam. And streams act like I gonna add into that into the mix just for fun. But I run events for a living and get paid very well for it by just knowing strong facilitation and knowing how to train people and be super patient. I really think that I am probably well paid because I am common chaos.

Emily Merrell

And you can handle that, Oh, I love that you would you say eight pages or one whole page to?

Robbie Samuels

it’s eight videos just on the topic of breakouts.

Emily Merrell

Wow, that’s incredible. And so so recommend that if you are trying to figure it out, I’m going to definitely send it to my mom. But I think attending one of your #NoMoreBadZoom is like that one of the best gifts that you can give yourself because

Robbie Samuels

Well, those are at nomorebad zoom.com. So real simple.

Emily Merrell

Every Friday?

Robbie Samuels

every Friday, five o’clock eastern the first 10 minutes, 20 minutes or so I do welcoming and I do about 5-10 minutes of an update on something around Zoom that I learned. And then we do a breakout room people have to share wins, we debrief so we can share them with each other. And then depending on the week, we either have a guest demo for 20 minutes, something around engaging online experiences, or we’re doing another Breakout Room four or five people for 10 minutes. The last breakout room is somewhere between 12 and 15 rooms, different topics, you get to choose where you want to go, you get to move between the rooms, talk to people and meet people you have shared values shared interest with and that ends about 6:15,6:30. Eastern, and then I do an hour more of q&a and it wraps at 7:30. So any questions around Zoom? And here, we’re really specific, I want to test this out, Robbie will do it. It’ll just be after seven or so when there’s probably about 20 people hanging on the line. And I’ve done everything like you know, can you do? Like, can you spotlight people in breakout rooms? Like? That’s a good question, everybody. Here we go. We’ll move everybody to breakout room one and then be like, No, you can’t everyone, we’re going back to the main room. Because like, that’s just you know, you can’t do that you can’t launch polls and breakout rooms. You can give people permission to record. But it’s hard to get the recording back from them.

Emily Merrell

As we found out last week. So yeah, just some quick tips. What are some like three things that most people don’t know about Zoom?

Robbie Samuels

how important it is to look at the camera. Like I can’t, that’s not even about Zoom, right? It’s about connection. And I don’t care what you’re doing, how much technology you use, if you don’t look at…even if right now You and I are on camera together, and I couldn’t be more relaxed about it. But I’ve been spending most of the time staring at the camera. That’s number one. Two is getting to know the settings, settings or like ingredients if you have already give you a French cookbook, an award winning French cookbook and I’m like make the most amazing food, just follow this steps. And you get so excited you buy new pots and pans and new knives. And then you open the book and you’re like I don’t have any of these ingredients. So you got to start with the ingredients. And that is if you update your settings. So if you go to RobbieSamuels.com/zoomsettings, that zooms zoom settings will take you to a video, actually thanks to a PDF, and there’s a video link there if you want me to walk you through it. Because that’s really important. That’s where you enable things like breakout rooms and co hosts. And then I think the last thing I’d say is just getting really good at how to use sharp knives. How do you measure right? Like the important parts before you can like have fun with it and make make it your own recipe, you really have to understand facilitation. And I’ll give you one specific one is on deck. If you’re going to have a whole bunch of people in a room, like either you know, report out or give an update or make an introduction, use mute everybody open up the participant window and don’t alpha order. And they will be now for order now that everyone’s muted, but then let people know who’s coming up. So it’ll be like, Amy, you know, in a moment, I’m gonna ask you to talk about this. Here’s my instructions. Okay, now, Amy’s gonna go and then after Amy, we’ll hear from Beth. Now Beth goes What? in her head, like, I had to look up and pay attention. What is Amy doing? I need to be ready. And then it’s like, thank you so much, Amy. Now we’re gonna hear from Beth and after bath, Christine, and Christine’s like, I better pay attention. And that’s how people are prepared. They know to unmute. And it’s, it’s needed because in person, you would be very clear who’s going next, like you’re sitting in a circle, you’re sitting in rows. So who’s going next would be self evident. That’s not true online. And so that’s the difference is that you’ve got to like prepare ahead to create a great experience and it’s subtle, but it’s what makes all the difference.

Emily Merrell

That’s such a good reminder. I was on a panel the other day and every time that this girl was like the last person to go and every time it got to her question she just lets the question again. I was like oh my god, this is killing me. You had three people to be on deck on deck with and pay attention to answers and yet you still I think are six questions every single time what’s what’s the question again? So I love that. I love that technique of having someone be on deck. So, Robbie, you are a wealth of information. I feel like we need a three hour masterclass, at least from all of the tips and tricks you have. But I know you’ve got a lot of exciting things coming up from, you know, a mastermind and a few certification programs. What else is next for Robbie Samuels? And how can how can our community get involved?

Robbie Samuels

So everything is now on my new recently launched website, loving it RobbieSamuels.com, you can learn about my training and certification program for presenters and meeting professionals who want to really excel at speaking and producing online events. And then I also work with, with clients help them bring their events online, so you can learn about that. And I do I am a business growth strategist which gets lost in these conversations, usually, but I really think my success is because I decided to treat myself like a client and act out what I you know, what would I tell myself if I were a client, and that worked so well. So I do one on one coaching, and I’m relaunching my mastermind series, I’m doing it a little different, I’m actually going to be 10 months of three hours a month in 2022, starting with one on one call in January and a one on one call in December. And if people sign up early enough, then they’ll actually get a bonus one in the middle of the year. I think masterminds are so powerful, I’ve had such a positive experience. But I think it’s really good to have the clarity of what you’re trying to work on while you get the accountability to work on it. Which is why I think the the mix of that with a couple of one on one calls sort of place to the right places, it’s gonna be really powerful. And I love helping entrepreneurs, grow their impact, grow their income, grow to the next level, like increase their confidence, whether you know, it’s virtual events, or speaking or, you know, arts, writing a book or launching a podcast or creating a new program offering or piloting something, whatever it is, I’ve experienced doing all those things. So that’s, that’s kind of exciting for me, as much as the event stuffs been great. I’ve also been thinking ahead and thinking like, I don’t want to lose sight of the fact that I have this other part of me that that I just adore. And then three times a year, I do offer The 5% Advantage program. But everything’s on my website, including links to all the content that I mentioned earlier, the slash videos, the #NoMoreBadZoom, the slash zoom settings. And you know, I created a lot of content because I want to help people. And if people are happy getting my free content and not paying for me, I’m all for it. Because remember, that means I’m doing good in the world. And you’re not my ideal client. And that’s okay. But you might refer me to the person who is my ideal client only because you got a chance to test that my content. So to me it’s like all bonus, I just think we have to get rid of bad zoom. Like it’s like it’s it’s not Zooms fault. There’s fatigue, it’s us, it’s the people who are using it. So if you hate Zoom fatigue, stop causing it.

Emily Merrell

Oh, wow, that should be our PSA for 2022. So Robbie, you know, again, as I mentioned, I could keep you here forever and ever. But I won’t do that because there’s so many great resources to point people to, I would love to change it up and ask you some quick six fast questions to wrap things up. So my first question for you is tell us an unknown fun fact about you.

Robbie Samuels

I just started playing golf again, after like a 30 year lapse. It’s really strange and awesome. Now it’s gonna be good. I think it could be it’s like has a potential to be a new hobby. I needed a hobby. I needed a reason to leave the house and I found out course it was like 10 minutes from my house and right now I’m just doing the range and like couple a couple lessons. But I might actually get out there and hit some holes like in the next like month or so I’m I’m pretty excited by it definitely different

Emily Merrell

before he knows that he’s taking over the next Country Club, you know, being the president of it. Running events there. I love it. You know, you’ve met so many extraordinary people in your life. But who would your dream person to be connected with?

Robbie Samuels

I just read a book lucky man by Michael J. Fox. And it was awesome and inspiring. And I really, I loved him when I was growing up. I you know, totally hooked on him. To hear his backstory was just really great. I’ve always admired him from afar, but he’s on my mind right now. So I what an impact he’s had in so many ways. So Michael J. Fox, if anyone knows him, I’d love an intro.

Emily Merrell

I’ve met him and I’ve done an event with him so you’re connected already.

Robbie Samuels

Boom went away. I love it

Emily Merrell

went away from him, which I always love playing that game. What show Are you currently watching?

Robbie Samuels

So during the pandemic, I decided to find figure out where it was I season wise with Grey’s Anatomy, because I had like stopped watching it like four years earlier. And I guessed where I was was and I watched to like current day, which is still going and then I ran out of episodes because I caught up. And then I decided to go back to the beginning and watch the beginning of what was 16 seasons. And I discovered there were all these seasons in between, I’d guessed wrong. So it was really fun to not only see the backstory again, which I knew and then discover some parts that I didn’t know. And so I’m all caught up with that right now. And now I have to wait I like to binge I don’t like to watch To week, so whenever I have like I just took a few days off a couple weeks ago and I played catch up again with the episodes that have recently come out. It’s just such a soap opera and it’s such like, I don’t know, it’s it’s cheesy in a way but seeing them grow up like seeing the 16 seasons in, like, I don’t know, like a two month time span.

Emily Merrell

Kind of sickening to think about this a lot of…

Robbie Samuels

it was actually great for me to get away. It was during the time where I needed to stop doing politics. But once the election happened and the pandemic started to be about vaccines, I felt better and able to reemerge back to like Rachel Maddow and my my watching news stuff. But I was like it was a good break for my brain. I think

Emily Merrell

you went to Grey’s Anatomy university where you graduate.

Robbie Samuels

I did I did.

Emily Merrell

You’re a doctor. Every time you go to the doctor’s office, you’re like, I’m pretty positive. I have whatever fill in the blank. I saw it on Grey’s Anatomy, or Google. I love that. Um, okay, what is what book are you currently reading?

Robbie Samuels

I’m reading a book about Power of Engagement, I think is what it’s called. It’s great. I just got started with it. I think it’s called The Power of Full Engagement. I’m gonna Yeah, The Power of Full Engagement. And it’s about energy management being really present and how, like, when you’re not performing well, it’s because you’re overusing or under using your energy. And yeah, I am a person who burns at all cylinders at all times. Or I’m like, off, it’s rare that I’m off. But when I’m off, I’m off. And I just I need to have alternate ways to like balance all these things and integrate. So I I’m intrigued, I started listen to it. And I like to go for a little walk in the afternoons to like, Listen, and then if I’m going for a little walk, and I’m listening, I feel like I am already doing one of the things that probably can tell me that you have the book and

Emily Merrell

sounds like you’re doing both with the with golf as well. That’s those are perfect.

Robbie Samuels

Yeah, just little momentary breaks. Like right now about half an hour at a time. And I’m working my way up to the idea of like, you know, leaving the house for hours at a time, and I could do it. It’d be fun, though.

Emily Merrell

Yeah, I like that a lot. And then I have two more questions for you. What is your favorite emoji and or the most used emoji in your phone?

Robbie Samuels

Well, it’s actually it’s not even on my phone. It’s what I use when I’m on Zoom. Because if you’re listening, you can actually have a full access to the emoji keyboard on Mac by hitting Ctrl+ command+a spacebar. And on the Windows key board, you would use the Windows key + period. And that works not just zoom, but anytime. So I like to use the rainbow flag all the time, it’s like the one I’m most likely to put in my name. And if you haven’t updated Zoom recently, there’s a little easter egg waiting for you. Once you update your zoom, you can actually have access to a full set of emojis for your reactions. So it’s no longer limited to the six. You can do like all kinds of fun things. And I’m going to now blow your mind by dropping like an emoji on the screen for you.

Emily Merrell

If you just dropped an emoji for me, that was unexpected. That’s incredible. I’m so happy I was getting really sick of hurt and laughing and like, I think there’s a shocking face. I can’t even remember anymore. Who gave you permission to do the thing you wanted to do in your life?

Robbie Samuels

When I was a kid, I was very entrepreneurial. And my mother would caution me about something and my dad would tell me how to get around that problem. And so, I mean, I saw Candy in school, which was completely against the rules. And I convinced my parents to get a BJs membership, which I paid for for a year because they were like we don’t need this. And they were taking me to BJs every three days to restock my candy and my mother would like worry worry worry and my dad would talk to me about like wholesale prices and this and that and like that turned into like a bagel sandwiches that I made at home brought into school and I was Yeah. And so I just think they both really nurtured and supported me in different ways. One helped me see my blind spots and like the things I should be concerned about, and the other than helped me surmount any challenge that might be in my way and I think they’re both I their voices are in my head as I continue to do whatever I’m doing and it’s always about that like pilot test and continue forward.

Emily Merrell

I love that and now you’re hopping croissant sandwiches next to the bagel sandwiches

Robbie Samuels

isn’t hysterical? It comes full circle. Myvfirst business card was Bagels Plus was the card said like my my cousin got me the card when I was in high school. And yeah, that was my first business card bagels plus. And here I’m talking about bagels, croissants all these years later

Emily Merrell

and bagels are everything. You know, we really got to bring them full circle. Well, Robbie, thank you so so much for joining us today on The Sixth Degree. This was extraordinary. I got I’ve been I’m gonna re listen to the podcast just to take the notes that I needed to take during the podcast. So reminder people can find you at robbiesamuels.com.

Robbie Samuels

That’s right. That’s the best place.

Emily Merrell

Well thank you listeners for tuning in. If you like today’s episode, make sure to first and foremost check out Robbie’s podcast. It’s gonna blow my podcast out of the water not to totally cut down this fun

Robbie Samuels

On the Schmooze

Emily Merrell

On the Schmooze checkout On the Schmooze, check out my episode. And then if you liked today’s episode, make sure to share it with a friend. Give us a like and we’ll see you the next time on The Sixth Degree. Bye Robbie

Robbie Samuels

bye

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