Robbie Samuels: [00:00:00] It's really about what do you want to be known for? And it's hard on your 20s because you're just trying a lot of different things out. So, it's maybe less about what you're known for, like in an expertise kind of way, but maybe it's more like the values you present the world.

Andy Molinsky: [00:00:20] Welcome to From the Dorm Room to the Board Room, a podcast where we provide insights, tips, and inspiration for college students and young professionals, so they can make a really successful transition from college life to the professional world and beyond. My name is Andy Molinsky, and I'm your host. I'm also a Professor of Organizational Behavior and International Management at Brandeis University's International Business School, where we record and produce this podcast.

Andy Molinsky: [00:00:57] Okay. So, today's guest is Robbie Samuels, who's a keynote speaker and relationship-based business strategist. He's been recognized as a networking expert by, Harvard Business Review, Ascend, and Lifehacker. He's the author of the bestselling business book, Croissants Vs, Bagels: Strategic, Effective, and Inclusive Networking at Conferences. We're going to have to hear about that, what that all means. Very interesting. Robbie's guest lectured at many leading educational institutions such as Brown University, which, by the way, is my alma mater, Harvard University, Cornell, Northeastern.

Andy Molinsky: [00:01:39] Robbie is the host of On the Schmooze Podcast - really cool podcast, you should check it out - which features his networking strategies, and also talented professionals sharing their untold stories of leadership and networking. Robbie believes that 80% of the people you need to know to be successful, you have already met, and that your impact on the world is directly related to your willingness to engage your community, which is a great segue to our discussion of networking. Robbie, thank you so much for being on our podcast.

Robbie Samuels: [00:02:07] Hey, thank you so much for having me.

Andy Molinsky: [00:02:09] So, tell us about what you do now. If you were to describe like what your job is, how would you describe it? What do you do?

Robbie Samuels: [00:02:17] So, I do a mixture of professional speaking, keynotes and breakouts at conferences, working with associations, in particular, to help them become the must-attend conference and really inspire lifelong membership. I am a coach. So, that's the relationship-based business strategy. I work with entrepreneurial women, generally. in their 50s and 60s, helping them grow their business to the next level. And I also wrote a book, as you mentioned. And I host a weekly show. So, kind of all those different spaces where I get to share what I know and engage with really amazing people.

Andy Molinsky: [00:02:53] And just tell us—and I want to hear about your academic background, how you got into what you're doing. But just I got to ask, can you give us a sense of what the croissant-bagel idea is?

Robbie Samuels: [00:03:04] Yeah, yeah. So, a little cliffhanger you left there. So-

Andy Molinsky: [00:03:06] Yeah.

Robbie Samuels: [00:03:07] Croissants Vs. Bagels is the name of the book. And if you're at a networking event, and you're walking into like that, sort of, vibrant, chaotic hallway between breakout sessions, and you're not sure where to stand, and you look around the room, people are standing generally in these type clusters. And it seems like it's impossible to break into these shoulder-to-shoulder huddles. I call those circles, those tight networking circles, I call them bagels. And if one person in that circle opens up their body language and makes space for others to join, that's the croissant.

Robbie Samuels: [00:03:38] So, if you're walking into the space, like look for those natural openings. If you're in a circle, shift your body language to match your intentions, which should be to meet people. Like you don't go to conferences just for content. You also go there for connections. So, make sure your body language is matching your intentions around meeting people and making you more approachable will make that happen. So, it's about, you know, stop bageling and be the croissant.

Andy Molinsky: [00:04:04] Do you think people bagel just out of—I know we're not going to get deeply into this just yet, but do you think people bagel consciously or unconsciously?

Robbie Samuels: [00:04:10] I think it is default. I don't think it's conscious. I think it's just when we're uncomfortable, we don't really know anybody else, we tend to talk to people we know. We're not really cognizant or aware of the people around us. We're not having a host mindset, we're just sort of there for ourselves, which is really missing opportunities. I mean, you could get consent from the comfort of your home. So, if you're at an event, having that sort of awareness of the room, seeing people who are looking to join your conversation and making it easy for them to do so, it's just it's going to help you. I mean, you're there to meet people.

Robbie Samuels: [00:04:48] So, I think it's default. I think that it should be closed off. If you're talking to like the VIP in the room, you know, and you had a chance to finally talk to this person that everyone has been wanting to talk to, then, yeah, you'll lean in. But we kind of lean in all the time when it could be much easier for us to, like, step back a little bit and make that space.

Andy Molinsky: [00:05:09] Got it. Interesting. Okay. So, let's rewind. And then, I want to—we'll rewind, we'll fast forward, and then we'll talk a lot about network. But I want to rewind first and hear a bit sort of about your story. So, where do you go to college? What was it like? What did you do right after college? Bring us to those days.

Robbie Samuels: [00:05:28] So, I went to SUNY Stony Brook, which is Stony Brook University. It's on Long Island, New York. And I grew up there. And I went there for undergrad, Sociology and Political Science. And I went there also for my Master's in Social Work. And it was while I was in my undergrad that I was—like went to the career office one time. I think you must go more than once, but I went one time, and I was trying to figure out what I wanted to be when I grew up. And I already had a lot of experience like organizing people, organizing events. I did not know that that was a job. And I discovered a slim volume about community organizing, and I was so excited by this really fit who I was. And in this slim volume, it talked about Master's in Social Work being a good next step. And that's essentially why I applied. And I applied to learn macro social work, communities, organizations, that kind of thing.

Robbie Samuels: [00:06:25] And so, I did. I took that skill set. I worked in an office as an office manager. I realized I love events. I came to Boston to run annual events. I got several different gigs doing that. And eventually, in 2005, I landed my dream job at 30 years old organizing 25 fundraising events a year. I did that for 10 years, raising about a million dollars a year for an LGBT legal organization in Boston. And it was amazing. I thought I'd never leave. And on the side, I started a social justice meetup group that I ran for many years. I'll start speaking. At some point, the speaking just became a bigger part of my life. It was finally time to make that shift. And with my wife's support and blessing, I was able to do that. I left my career at the end of 2014, and I've been solely focused on speaking, and coaching, and writing, and podcast, and all these good things since 2015.

Andy Molinsky: [00:07:28] So, in college, if you were to look back, if you were to sort of like glimpse into the future in college about what you're doing now, do you think that college version of yourself would have been surprised, would have said, "Oh, yeah. That's what I should be doing"? Like, how do you feel about sort of the gap between where you were then and where you are now?

Robbie Samuels: [00:07:46] You know, it actually matches up more than I would think because back in college, I did join a speakers' bureau, and I was doing trainings for RAs around LGBT, sort of, one-on-one. And I loved it. I created a safer sex workshop. And I was doing that for a number of years. I enjoyed speaking in front of people. I know that a lot of people get really scared by it, but I thought it was great. I also loved inspiring people. And I think I've been a de facto coach for a lot of people all my life, I've always been the person people sought out.

Robbie Samuels: [00:08:21] So, in some ways, I'm building on the skills that I had. I had this like 10 or 12 years where I really didn't use speaking as a as a ongoing skill and, you know, just kind of fell off my radar. And so, it took getting back to it for me to fully be like, "Wow! This is the thing I should do." Like, it's a gift. I want to explore it. And so, in some ways, I don't think I'd be super surprised, but it's a circuitous route to get here. It wasn't a straight line. I didn't leave college saying, "Oh, I absolutely know what I want to do." I do think it's about transferable skills though. And particularly, as industries change and new ones emerge, transferable skills are probably more important than anything and the ability to adapt quickly.

Robbie Samuels: [00:09:07] So, my father told me something when I was 20, which I think helped me set my frame. He said that I would have four careers between 20 and 40. He had read that in an article in the Sunday paper. And at 39, I left my day job. And by the time, as I turned 40, and I said, "Okay, you know what? I got to do this. Like, I'm turning 40 and I got—this is my time for my fourth, you know, career." And so, I think knowing I wouldn't be one place for ever like my dad was, was also really helpful.

Andy Molinsky: [00:09:40] Was it scary to—it sounds like you made a smart transition. You were doing stuff on the side. You're sort of reflecting on it, recognizing that it was a good fit, and so on, and then ultimately taking the leap. I imagine that if you zero in and zoom in on those moments about whether or not to take that leap, there must have been, you know—I guess I'm just putting myself in your shoes. There must have been a bit of fear about, "Gosh, is this really the right thing to do?"

Robbie Samuels: [00:10:07] Well, there came a moment in my day job where my entire team in my department had transitioned out. And so, my boss, the director, was there for less than a year, and everyone had come in after him. And so, out of a nine-person office, I'd been there for 10 years, and everyone else have been there less than a year. So, in some ways, that gave me a reason to go. Like it wasn't as comfortable to stay anymore. When I did approach this and talked to my wife about leaving, she was always kind of supportive. She's always said I had a higher earning potential, and I'm more okay with risk when it comes to being an entrepreneur. She may rue the day saying that, but I said, you know, everyone's approaching me to take on all these other kinds of jobs, and they know that I'm available. They're like, "Oh, can you run our fundraising event? Can you do our fundraising plan? Can you do event planning for us? Can you do this?" And I didn't want to do any of those things. And she said, "Okay, that makes sense."

Robbie Samuels: [00:11:03] And three times, I talked to her. And one night, she finally said, "Are you asking permission to not make money?" And I was like, "Yeah, I guess so." And she's like, "I've lived here for five years without you. Like, you know. I mean, I love you, but I don't need you." And I was like, "Oh, that's helpful, I think. That's good. Yeah." And so, I had a lot of grace, and a lot of freedom, and a long runway to figure it out. And I did have to spend a lot of time shifting the focus of who I was serving from nonprofit boards and foundations to, now, associations. And that took several years. I mean, it took a while for me to figure out who I wanted to work with.

Robbie Samuels: [00:11:38] And same thing with coaching. I used to coach lots of random types of people. And now, I'm really kind of singly focused. All that took time and effort. You don't get money from books and podcasts. I did a lot of things to establish myself that we're not revenue-generating, but it led to greater credibility. So, I think I had some luxury in being able to build the kind of business I want to build.

Andy Molinsky: [00:12:02] Yeah, really interesting. So, let's transition to networking, which I imagine is at the center of a lot of this actually and is one of the major reasons I wanted to invite you on here because I know that you've got some really interesting thoughts about it. So, I guess, I'll start by asking you sort of the obvious question, but maybe of a non-obvious answer to it. What, in your mind, is networking? And are there any misconceptions we have about it when we think about it?

Robbie Samuels: [00:12:33] Well, a lot of people would probably tell you that they feel that networking, it makes them feel icky. And I totally get that. In fact, there was a study by Harvard in 2014 that found that networking made people feel morally and physically dirty. Morally and physically dirty. It's a fascinating study. And it was focusing on the fact that when you're looking at networking as a transaction, then that is what beats that dirty feeling. But the people in the study who didn't feel that way and who, therefore, had a lot more networking activity were senior executives. And I think it's because they approached networking ready to offer. You know, they're ready to offer support, advice, resources, money, introductions, mentorship. Like they're not walking in needing something.

Robbie Samuels: [00:13:24] And so, if we all can think about how to walk into a space, ready to offer, ready to give, even as someone who's looking for a job, that feels like a moment in your life where you're like, "Oh, my God, I really need a job," but you don't need a job. You know, you need a great fit job. And if you're a hiring manager, that's a lot of work. So, if you can, as a hiring manager, meet someone at an event who really presents themselves as a good fit, and then that candidate applies, and follows through, and does all the things, that's a just a huge gift to give a hiring manager, or if not the hiring manager, it could be someone on the team that can refer you to the hiring manager.

Robbie Samuels: [00:14:01] I think that we forget that we are resource-rich, that we have a lot of experience and enthusiasm to share, and that this is what we bring into these spaces. So, for me, it's about relationship building, not transactions. And keeping that in mind is what I think has made this shift for a lot of the clients I work with from feeling like, "This is just like spammy, and I don't really want to do this," to "Wow! I am excited to be there and to see who I can meet and connect with."

Andy Molinsky: [00:14:30] Yeah, that's an interesting perspective. And I like the idea of shifting your frame in terms of how you think about networking. I, then, think, though, about the, you know, 20, 21-year-olds who come in my office on a weekly basis. College senior is usually who sort of avoid—know that they need to network in some vague way, but kind of avoid doing it. And I don't think they think of themselves necessarily as resource-rich, or as a gift to the world, or as—even though they're, you know, fantastic students. But that they don't—they really do see it is transactional, and that they don't have that much to transact. What would you say to them? Because I don't believe that, but I think a lot of them do.

Robbie Samuels: [00:15:15] Well, it would be helpful to do an exercise maybe with them around what resources they do have? And what's hard for us as individuals is to recognize the things that we're really good at and just take for granted could be the thing that someone else struggles with. So, I'll give you an example around technology and apps. You know, it could be a student is aware of an app for using scheduling time or for social media. And, you know, they could be talking to an executive in, you know, an organization and solve a problem for them, you know, just by listening and being like, "I can—I'll look into that. And here is information you need. Here's how—I'll help you set it up."

Robbie Samuels: [00:15:55] You know, you could offer to take notes at a meeting. So, let's say there's an event being planned, and you really want to get involved, but, you know, kind of who am I? I'm just a college student. Hey, offer to go to all the meetings and take notes. Value in a room with decision makers, you know, as things are being planned, you're showing yourself to be, you know, very engaged, and active, and resourceful, that's a great way to make a strong impression rather than just like sending, you know, random email to someone who doesn't remember who you are. So, some of it's just like paying attention.

Robbie Samuels: [00:16:28] I actually have a great story of a college student who a speaker got off stage, you know, older gentleman. Everyone was clamoring to talk to this guy. Someone had made him a cup of tea because that's what he asked for. He was holding this really hot cup of tea in a paper cup. And it was clearly too hot for him to drink, and he was just gingerly holding it while people were queuing up to talk to him one after another. And a student stepped away, got a second cup, brought it over, took the cup from him, and put it in the second cup and handed it back to him. And that gentleman, the speaker said, "Will you please join me in my table for dinner?" And sat next to him. And they ended up engaging in a strong, long conversation. And it was really because the speaker was grateful that this student had taken notice of this little thing that they needed help with, and everyone else didn't care about the speaker's personal comfort and just wanted to get a little piece of him. So, it's sometimes something as subtle as that that can change from it being a transaction to a relationship.

Robbie Samuels: [00:17:34] And now, I had a guest on the other day, Dave Delaney, on my show. And he was saying that for him, it's about showing up, following up, and catching up. So, I think it's really important to use all three of them. So, this showing up is important. Following up is super important. But catching up is what you do that makes it into a relationship. And not just, "I met you at this event, and I sent you a one email, and I'm done." You know, like you and I know each other because we continue to catch up, and that's the difference.

Andy Molinsky: [00:18:06] Right. It's interesting. As you were saying that, I was just thinking of my LinkedIn. Someone messaged me on LinkedIn the other day saying something like—it was really awkward, actually. It's like, "I think it's our time to catch up now. I usually do it in January, but let's do it now. How are you?" It's just like so weird. I was  like, "Oh, my God." I did not respond, not because I don't like the guy. I am generally very friendly, and accommodating, and so on. It was just so, like, blatantly, like, awkward an instrumental, I guess.

Robbie Samuels: [00:18:41] Yeah. There is ways to still mess this up. Absolutely. You know, one of the things that you could use is—you know, there's always that, "I saw this, and I thought of you. You know, here's an article. Here's a podcast episode I thought you'd be really interested in." And sometimes, you do just stumble across these things. And people are—it's clear enough what people are interested in that you can like, "Oh, this reminds me of this person. I'm going to send it to sense them.".

Robbie Samuels: [00:19:04] But another thing is that if you know it's time to reach out to someone for whatever reason you thought of them, or you have it written down somewhere to do it, go and search. Go and Google something that is within their level of interests, and then send that message of, "I just came across this and thought of you." You know, it doesn't have to be completely organic. You can put some effort in, but the message should still feel genuine as opposed to, here, it's this like instrumental, transactional thing that we're doing.

Andy Molinsky: [00:19:38] Yeah. And I guess if it's a really an interesting thing, that's where we add value.

Robbie Samuels: [00:19:44] Yeah, right. Of course. The whole the whole point here is to add value. If you're talking to someone in person, I think the goal is to leave them feeling good about you. They feel good about the conversation you just had. And that mostly means you listen, and you ask really good questions, and you let them show up. If you help someone else show up more in the room, and be more present, and engaged, they will remember you, and they will do that, "Wow! You're fascinating," even if you said very little.

Robbie Samuels: [00:20:12] So, I think what people think networking is, as you come in—this is what—because we've seen this too often. You hand everyone your business card, and you give them your long spiel while you're still shaking their hand. You won't let them go. That's—no one likes that, and that's not memorable. And then, everyone wants to turn their back and ignore you later. Yeah, stop doing that. Don't start doing that if it's not been your thing. But if instead, you know, think of the Bill Clinton approach where, you know, in the few moments people have with Bill Clinton, everyone always said, "He really like made you feel seen," and you can offer that.

Robbie Samuels: [00:20:46] That is a gift in this very hectic, you know, world, stopping for a moment, and really being present with someone for even like five minutes in a busy event, and listening to them, and hearing what they say, and not being like, you know, an automatic like, "Oh, well, then my next question is." Like, you know, that's weird. But really listening and engaging with people, that will make people want to talk to you again and learn more about you.

Andy Molinsky: [00:21:13] So, I see on your LinkedIn profile that you're—I see your Myers-Briggs, you're an E, you're extroverted, which is pretty clear, I think. How about someone who is an I, someone who's introverted, someone who feels perhaps—and it doesn't have to be—these two things are necessarily always correlated, but someone who's shy, someone who is awkward, someone who gets uncomfortable at these types of events, they might hear what we're saying and say, "Yeah, that all makes sense, but when I get in there, I can't do that." What would you say to that person?

Robbie Samuels: [00:21:51] Actually, a lot of the people I work that fall into the shy and/or introverted side of the spectrums here. And I'm glad you say they're not always correlated. My wife is a shy extrovert. I've dated an outgoing introvert. So, it can be all which way. But I guess what I would say is that so much of the success around networking, if we're gonna just kind of, you know, reduce it to that, is about planning and strategy. And that means things you do before the event.

Robbie Samuels: [00:22:19] So, I don't want you to go to events every day of the week. I don't want you to go to events four times a week. As an extrovert, I have the ability to do that. It doesn't mean that I'm going to do better at this than you because I'm not doing the prep work before each of those meetings, I'm not doing the follow up if I try to go to too many things in a week. So, I would say be selective about what you're going to, know why you're going, and make sure it's for you and not just because someone told you to go. Like you've got a center this for who you are and see value in the experience. So, you're going to not bring yourself presently into that room and engaged with people.

Robbie Samuels: [00:22:58] One hack that I shared with people, and I got written up in Lifehacker is about writing your follow-up email draft before you go to the event. And by doing that, it's giving people an opportunity to really think through why this event, who do they want to meet, what do they want to learn, what inspiration they're looking for, and what can they offer. Now, you're not sending this message, right? You haven't met anyone yet? But it does kind of get you in the right mindset. And then when you go in, I'm telling you that if it's like a three-hour event, you could do an hour, you could be there for one hour really consciously ready to, like, meet your goals of meeting certain people, connecting with certain people, and then leave with your head held high like you did it as opposed to like slinking away.

Robbie Samuels: [00:23:46] You know, I don't know how to leave after an hour. I'm such an extrovert. Like I stay until the very end because there are still people. I've learned how to stack all kinds of chairs because if you stay to the end, they make you clean up. But I'm like, "But there's still people here, so I'm going to stick around." But that's not necessary. And it's not always beneficial. If you can go meet the right kinds of people, track the more, you know, priority cards that you collect or people you've met.

Robbie Samuels: [00:24:12] And then, I think the last thing here is to set up a time after the event on your calendar to do the follow up. Make sure that's on your calendar before you leave for the event, so you know that you pre-wrote your message, you've tracked the kind of cards that you know you want to follow certain people, and then, you know, you have this times set aside within a day after. The likelihood of you following through now is like 80 plus percent. And I think that's the point of networking, is to meet people and stay engaged. If you can put a reminder of 30 days later to follow up again, like even better.

Andy Molinsky: [00:24:46] What's the goal of following up so many times? Won't I just annoy the other person? I'm not saying—I'm not—I don't necessarily believe that. I'm just—one—that may be something going through someone's head.

Robbie Samuels: [00:24:56] Yeah, yeah, I know. I love that you're advocating for your students this way. I'm a really busy person. You're a busy person. So, the first message I may not even respond to. You know, we are only the main character in our own play, which is a fact that my mother told me when I was 12. And it was kind of devastating. But as an adult, it's a little bit freeing too. It means that, you know, no one's actually going to notice the little things that we do that are odd, but it also means that we have to put a bit of effort into this to really get on someone's stage. Like your best friends, you're never going to forget, but didn't start out as your best friends. They started as strangers. And eventually, they found their way onto your stage.

Robbie Samuels: [00:25:34] So, sometimes, you meet someone in an event, and you send them an email, and nothing. And then, you hit reply a week later or three, four days later and nothing. And I think at that point, you know, you might try a third time but, really, you got to get in front of them again because you just have it. You got to follow them on social media. You've got to comment on their staff. You didn't get a show up enough ways that they start to recognize your name and feel good about it.

Robbie Samuels: [00:25:59] So, sometimes, the follow up is that you're just trying to engage this person because you want to get on stage and be more memorable. But also, it's about a relationship, not a transaction. So, you're not walking into the room looking for a job. You're not walking into a room looking to like raise money. Those things happen over time.

Robbie Samuels: [00:26:19] Dorie Clark is a mutual friend of ours, has talked about, she doesn't want to, you know, asked for a big favor from someone until she's known them for a year, you know. And it's not just that you know them for years. It's that you've been offering other things of value yourself for a year. It's like you've been supporting them, checking in, you know, sending them little things that you think that they'd be interested in. When they write something online, you're sharing it. Like there's a lot, now, ways to, like, support people who are influencers, or thought leaders, content creators by just commenting on and sharing the content that they create.

Robbie Samuels: [00:26:56] It's one thing just to know as an author that people bought our books. It's another when someone leaves a review on Amazon because, now, it's like it's not just people, plural, like in a stat's kind of way, but as a person who took the time to write a review. And so, same thing for a podcast. You listen to a good podcast. You're like, "That was a great show. I really like the guest." Reach out to the host and the guest. Write a comment on Facebook or on LinkedIn and, like, share it with your community. I think that's part of this. It's like not just that you email people constantly. It's that you start to nurture the relationship in like a a wide range of ways.

Andy Molinsky: [00:27:36] That's helpful advice. And as you were talking, I was actually thinking of another concept. And it's actually a concept that Dorie Clark talks about too. And it's this concept of personal branding. And I imagine that people listening to this episode, well, many people have heard of the idea of personal branding about, you know, maybe with reference to a product or a service. But, also, nowadays, people try to cultivate their brands. But I also know that students, young professionals, sometimes, feel uncomfortable about thinking about themselves as a brand or advocating for themselves as a brand. What's your take on branding, especially for young professionals? Because I imagine that's part of the networking process.

Robbie Samuels: [00:28:22] You know, again, Dorie, I'll refer here. I did a personal branding session for an executive group at your alma mater, actually. For me, I was looking at a quote that she said where it's like it's personal branding. It's what people say about you when you leave the room. So, it kind of lines up with reputation. You know, what do people think of you? What other people say when they're referring to you? That's your personal brand. You have one. Whether you have cultivated, or thought about it, it's conscious, everyone has one already. So, it's question really not about whether we have one or not, it's about whether to take ownership of it.

Robbie Samuels: [00:28:57] And so, earlier, I was saying if someone's known for something, then you could send them articles, right? It's like when you're a kid, and you're known for collecting a certain kind of stuffed animal. And so, every time, you know, you have a birthday, your family, your extended family, like, sends you that kind of animal. I collected seals when I was a kid. And so, I had seals stuffed animals, and candles, and crystal. So, people knew I was into that. So, you know, from the age of like 8 to 12, that's what I got from everybody. I was known for that. That was my personal brands. I've never talked about that. So, I think that not wanting to always be known for that means I had to take control of that and become known for other things or, still, to this day, people will be sending me seals, and that's less of my thing now.

Robbie Samuels: [00:29:46] So, it's really about what do you want to be known for. And it's hard in your 20s because you're just trying a lot of different things out. So, it's maybe less about what you're known for, like in an expertise kind of way, but maybe it's more like the values you present to the world. It's the attitude that you're willing to bring. You know, it's the enthusiasm. It's the can-do spirit. It's the team building. It's the way that you're very encouraging to other people. So, even being known in that way, that's personal brand. And people want to be around people who are really positive. So, cultivating that, and making sure that's really clear in everything you do, that would help people both remember you and root for you.

Andy Molinsky: [00:30:30] And do you—how do you do that? I mean, one thing that pops into my mind is I know on LinkedIn, there's a place to describe yourself. And I suppose you could describe yourself in the way that you'd like to have your brand be, assuming that it's consistent with who you truly are, then that could be one way. Is that right, or are there other ways, or tell us? I mean, how do you do it?

Robbie Samuels: [00:30:52] Well, yes, obviously LinkedIn, but also this little spot on Facebook. And there's always places online for that. But I think there's a question that always comes up with networking, which is, what do you do? And I think students often just say, "I'm a student at blank." And like, that doesn't really lead to a further conversation. But if you could really think about like, what are your passions, and what are you enthusiastic about, and why are you doing this degree, and all—like kind of that, like the peel it back a couple of layers.

Robbie Samuels: [00:31:27] If you have a job, it would be like, "I helped blank to blank," or "I inspired blank to blank. I worked with blank to do blank." So, like, I work with associations to create lifelong membership and inspire them to think of this as the must-attend event," that's the what I do, but it's not just like I'm a speaker. Like if I was like, "Hi, I'm a speaker, I'm a consultant, I'm a coach, like I'm a lawyer, like none of those things really lead to further conversations.

Robbie Samuels: [00:31:55] So, think about how you want to present yourself in response to that question, like what do you do, so that people can see it as a starting-off point to a deeper conversation as opposed to checking a box, like I've asked you that question, you've responded, and doesn't really go anywhere. So, that's something to play with. You don't have to be static about it. You could try different things out.

Robbie Samuels: [00:32:19] I also put things in my email signature. So, I'll play with different phrasing in my email signature as well, partly for other people to see but also to help me stay in like thinking about it and keep toying with it a little bit. So, have fun with it and don't feel stuck because it's not like you're adopting something that you have to stick with for 40 years. It's like try it for a little while, and then see how you might have to tweak it.

Andy Molinsky: [00:32:45] Yeah, don't feel stuck, experiment, and try again. This is great advice. Thanks so much for coming on today. What amazing nuggets of insight you have for folks. And as we're talking, as you can tell, I was putting myself in the shoes of students, our young alums I work with. And, you know, really, everything you said was so useful. So, thank you. How can people find out more about you if they're interested about your podcast, about what you do, about your coaching?

Robbie Samuels: [00:33:15] Awesome. I love it. I wanted to say I'm offering a gift to all your listeners. It's called 10 Tips for Conference Connections. And it's a three-page PDF. So, that way, then, you can quickly review on your way into an event, so you kinda get the right mindset. It's concepts from my book, which is also a fairly quick read, but more than three pages. And you'll find that at So, is where you'll find that. is my website. You'll find my podcast and my book there, are all kinds of resources. I also do a series of free master classes if people are interested in hosting their own podcasts, or writing a book, or my networking strategies. I have a lot of free content on there as well they can check out the resource section. So, I want people to engage with me. I love for people to connect with me on LinkedIn. So yeah, I'd love to hear from your listeners.

Andy Molinsky: [00:34:07] Awesome. Great. And we'll include that in the show notes as well. And so, thank you so much, Robbie, for coming on. I really appreciate it.

Robbie Samuels: [00:34:14] Absolutely.

Andy Molinsky: [00:34:18] Thank you for listening to From the Dorm Room to the Board Room. If you're interested in learning more about the work that I do in helping people step outside their comfort zones and transition successfully into the professional world, please visit my website, That's A-N-D-Y-M-O-L-I-N-S-K-Y dot com. And also feel free to email me directly at with any feedback or ideas for guests for future podcasts.

Andy Molinsky: [00:34:49] This podcast is brought to you by Brandeis University's International Business School. By teaching rigorous Business, Finance, and Economics, connecting students to best practices and immersing them in international experiences, Brandeis International Business School prepares exceptional individuals from around the globe to become principled professionals in companies and public institutions worldwide. Thank you so much for listening.