ML159: Oli Barrett on Building a Better Network, The Principles of Effective Longshots and Staying Connected during COVID

Discover the 5 strategies for staying in touch with people, the principles of a good cold email or long-shot and how to create space for meaningful conversations online.

ML159: Oli Barrett on Building a Better Network, The Principles of Effective Longshots and Staying Connected during COVID

Oli Barrett is a connector of people and ideas. He was named "the most connected man in Britain" by Wired magazine, and has received an MBE from the Queen for services to business.

He brought the concept of Speed Networking to the UK and took it to over 50 countries and has organised trade missions, to the US, India and Brazil. He is also a podcast host and MC on the business circuit, interviewing global business leaders.

I met first met Oli around 4 years ago and interviewed him for the podcast shortly after - you can listen to our first conversation back in episode 93 where you'll learn more about Oli's backstory.

We stayed in touch and last year, we came together to work on his course Build a Better Network which I produced. The reason I was so excited to work on this project was because I believe networking is incredibly important - but most advice is transactional and manipulative.

Oli's approach is refreshing because it's about building genuine relationships for the long term and having fun along the way.

In this episode Oli and I apply the timeless principles in the course to the present context- lockdown in early 2021. We discuss a range of topics including:

  • The 5 strategies for staying in touch with people
  • The components of a good cold email or long-shot as Oli calls them
  • How to create space for meaningful conversations online

I've learned a lot from Oli in the last few years and if you apply a fraction of what he discusses here to your network, you'll be in a very different place a year from now.

Show Notes

  • Introducing Oli Barrett [00:36]
  • How do you reconnect with all the people in your network without talking to them individually? [03:42]
  • Oli answers some questions from the survey he sent to his friends at the end of 2020 [05:17]
  • Why is it important to talk about the future and upcoming projects when engaging with your network? [07:37]
  • How can you take advantage of the ‘gaps between the music’? What are the opportunities behind seizing those moments of transition? [09:09]
  • What are the projects Oli is focused on at the moment? [12:02]
  • What are the key takeaways from Malcom Gladwell’s bestselling book The Tipping Point? [15:46]
  • How can asking the right questions lead to insightful and fruitful connections? [18:01]
  • What are some of the things to keep in mind when reconnecting with people through different available communication platforms we have today? [20:27]
  • How has the lockdown affected our connections? What risk does the constant virtual communication pose to our networks? [23:03]
  • How can you get back in touch with people you’ve lost connection with without overwhelming them? Oli shares two practices that help when reconnecting with his network. [25:15]
  • What are the benefits of having agenda-less and impromptu conversations? [28:04]
  • Does the quality of a conversation depend on the medium it takes place in? What are things you can do to make more meaningful online conversations? [30:24]
  • What are the practices that make a conversation valuable for both parties? [33:00]
  • How has the pandemic given more success to long shot emails? [34:52]
  • Oli shares his thoughts on seeking mentorship opportunities and reverse mentorship. [36:49]
  • What are the qualities that make up a good event for both the organizer and the guest? What are the extra demands of virtual gatherings versus face-to-face? [40:07]
  • What is the concept of ‘kitchen cabinet’ and how does having one enrich not just our network, but our lives? [44:32]
  • How can narrowcasting be done properly? [48:34]
  • Closing remarks [49:20]


Follow Oli Barrett online

Build A Better Network Course | Twitter | Website