S2E2: The Power of Networking and Emotional Intelligence with Dan Horwich from CAMP IT Conferences

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This is a podcast episode titled, S2E2: The Power of Networking and Emotional Intelligence with Dan Horwich from CAMP IT Conferences. The summary for this episode is: <p>This week we are joined by Dan Horwich, the CEO of CAMP IT Conferences. Dan's family literally owes its continued existence to networking and he's eager to share the story of his family, and his company, with as many people as possible. </p>

Angel Leon: Hello, everyone, and welcome to another edition of ASCII Anything presented by Moser Consulting. I'm your host, Angel Leon, Moser's HR adviser. In this week's episode, we have a special guest who will talk to us about the power of networking. With us today is Dan Horwich, who is the president and executive director of CAMP IT. He is committed to helping IT executives and their teams grow in their careers through education, networking and building win- win relationships. Dan is an advocate of the power of networking and has a great story to tell about why networking is important and how it connects to emotional intelligence. Since 1984, his company, CAMP IT Conferences has helped IT leaders progressed in their careers through education, professional networking and shared real- world experiences. Dan, it's great to have you with us today on ASCII Anything. How are you?

Dan Horwich: Good, Angel. Thank you for having me. I'm pleased to be here.

Angel Leon: Great. So Dan, tell us a little bit about your company, CAMP IT, and the work that you do there.

Dan Horwich: Thank you. So CAMP IT Conferences is actually a second generation business. My folks started this 37 years ago when my father was a corporate IT manager of Baxter Healthcare and wanted to improve the lives of IT professionals by giving them networking opportunities, continued education. Prior to that, I was a sales manager for a number of IT vendors and I took this business over roughly 20 years ago.

Angel Leon: Wow, that's such an interesting story. So I want to dive in real quick about networking because networking is a tool that might not necessarily be used by all the professionals out there. Right now, I think in today's world with technology, we have places like LinkedIn where people can go and meet. But I am a LinkedIn user and I got to say after that initial LinkedIn connection, unless you have a lot to do with my camp, with the things that I do, there's not a lot of networking other than that. So what can you tell us about networking and why it's one of the least used tools in a professional person's toolbox?

Dan Horwich: It's ironic, right? It's one of the least used professional tools but it is the most important professional tool. And let me step back as to why networking is important to me. Four years ago, I'm sitting down with my father and brother over dinner, and my father asked my brother if he had told me what they had found. And they found a suitcase, and I didn't know what they found, but they told me that they looked in the crawlspace, they found a suitcase. They opened up the suitcase, all the original letters that my grandfather wrote to escape the Holocaust were saved in a suitcase, in the crawlspace for 30 years. And there was the power of one person. My grandfather wrote letters when he was in Dachau. Before it became a formal concentration camp, it was a work camp. He went on a letter writing campaign. He was networking in the old school sort of way. And a gentleman in Chicago responded back to him and the short story is rescued and brought him to Chicago, introduced him to my grandmother and the rest is history. Without that kindness of one stranger, I wouldn't exist, my daughters, my brother, my nephews, my mother. None of us would exist. So my perspective on networking is about moving the needle forward for others. It's about changing the trajectory of one's life. You never know when you're going to meet that one person. We call it the power of one. And so let me take that and shift to current day, because my story, my family history is different than a lot of other folks, when you go to network, it's about giving. It's not about asking. So a lot of people think that they go to a networking event and they hand out a bunch of business cards and they want to meet 50 people, and that is probably the worst thing you can do. When you go to a networking event, your goal should be able to meet two to three people, have really good conversations with them, follow up with them afterwards whether it's a handwritten note or an email and start introducing them to folks in your network. You have to go into networking with an attitude of giving, of service. The reality of it is it will come back around but you shouldn't do it because it comes back around. A lot of folks think about networking is I help you, you help me. That's very transactional. The way a professional networker looks at it as I'm going to help out as many people as possible because I'm passionate about helping other people, either helping them get shots, help them get that promotion, helping them close a deal. I don't do it because I'm going to get something out of it. I do it because I want to help people. Now, the reality of it is you're going to get joy out of doing it. I called it the trajectory of happiness. The more people I'm able to help, my happiness goes up because I made a difference in someone else's life. But you never should be networking just with the end result of getting business or getting an opportunity. The idea is to go and help people. But the byproduct of that one is people will come back around because they feel appreciative and you never know when you're going to get that introduction. But networking has to be an act of service versus an act of taking.

Angel Leon: There's a lot to unpack in your answer and I'm going to take it by pieces. First of all, I want to ask more about your family story. That is such a wonderful story. I want to hear more about it. Can you share a little bit more?

Dan Horwich: Yeah, so my grandfather came from... My Grandpa Joe, my mother's side, came from an affluent inaudible family in Vienna, Austria. And when things were starting to take a turn for the worse, he and his family were going to... They were put in Dachau, which ended up being a concentration camp, but it was a work camp. But at that time, they had a little bit of lateral movement. So he went to the American consulate and was going to write a letter to everyone in the phone book. He was going to write a letter to everyone with the same last name, Rosenfeld. But that page was ripped out. Someone else clearly had that same idea. So he went to the Chicago phone book and wrote a letter to everyone with the same last name, Rosenfeld. A gentleman by the name of Harry Rosenfeld writes a letter back to him. His sisters who was in the camp with had mentioned he got a letter from your Uncle Harry. My grandfather thought, " I don't have an Uncle Harry." And then it dawned on him. They went back and forth until they became pen pals. Then Harry did an about face. And Harry said, " You know, Joe, I decided I'm not going to be able to rescue you because my mother- in- law passed away. It's a trying time. I don't want to get in trouble with the unions. My best wishes to you." My grandfather wrote back another letter, here's the power of empathy and emotional intelligence. He writes back to Harry, and in the letter, he said, " Harry, I'm very sorry for the loss of your mother- in- law. I can only imagine it's a challenging time. I'm sending you my best wishes as you navigate, as you move through this very difficult time," showing empathy. Then he pivots and he says, " But Harry, at the same time, I'm going to ask you to rethink your decision because if you don't, I will not survive. You're my last chance." Final letter comes back December 1938 where it's addressed to my grandfather, to Joseph Rosenfeld. It says, " Dear friend, just go to the American consulate. Here is all the documents for you to come to the United States. Let me know when you're leaving. Yours truly, Harry Rosenfeld." That letter, in addition to the money he had to put up enabled my grandfather to have his passport, come to Chicago. Just as a reminder, he came from an affluent inaudible family. Hitler took away everything. So he came to Chicago on very humble circumstances, end up developing glaucoma, losing much of his eyesight. But through the kindness of a stranger, he was rescued, introduced to my grandmother. For me, networking is very different than for other folks, and I'm sure there are other folks out there that have similar stories. But it goes back to this whole power of one. And if we all take the mindset of moving the needle forward for others, great things can happen. I think the trick that a lot of salespeople get into is if they meet something, if they go to an event, if they go and network and nothing happens, nothing transpires, they think it isn't worth it. It's like planting seeds in the garden and watering them. And how you... That's the analogy I give. You can plant the seeds. You can meet a lot of people, but how do you get your own professional network and professional garden to grow? You have to keep watering it. What does that mean? It doesn't mean you call them to sell them. You keep calling them to sell, no. You go out and you keep helping people because now, you're building trust. The key to any of this isn't winning minds. It's winning hearts and then winning minds. You want to make it as a friend of mine, Larry Kaufman states, you want to make yourself indispensable to other people. That doesn't mean that you're the greatest supplier by two related solutions or whatever you sell. What it means is you're helping them personally. You find out that a relative of theirs is sick and the person is struggling to find a doctor, you help them find a doctor. You find out that their kids are playing baseball, you check in to see how the baseball game went, no ulterior motive. Network is about building relationships and helping others. That will fulfill the end goal of getting business but if you do it just to get business, that will be transparent and no one will believe you. Network is really providing a service to the community.

Angel Leon: I agree with everything that you mentioned because I am of the belief like you are that networking is not just a sales pitch and we're done. It is a growth of a relationship and nurturing of that relationship to make sure that it goes from point A not just to point B but to point Z, all the way to the back of the alphabet because... I've never been to sales. I've never been somebody that's in that realm. But you'd see it every day. You see it when you go to an event, even when you go buy a car. That relationship, when you're buying a car shouldn't be relationship A to relationship B where you're getting out of the dealership with a car. It should be building a relationship where the individual that's buying the car trust that brand to come back to say that dealership and get serviced there. And maybe eventually, you grow old. You have kids. Your kids can go there. And they know that Will Smith helped me buy my first car here, or et cetera. And then their children can go there and that builds... I think I'm going on a tangent here, but that builds a little bit of trust for the brand, for the individual itself.

Dan Horwich: Yes. I'm glad, Angel, you brought it up. What I tell folks is, and that was going to be a presentation of a virtual conference several months ago. And the thing that I'd mentioned that resonate with your audience was that it doesn't matter what you sell. It really doesn't, because whatever you sell eventually will become commoditized. But whatever becomes commoditized is the relationship. You're going to have unique relationship with folks. But you don't want people to ever feel it's the only reason you're interested in them is because you're going to get business out of them. That may happen a few different times. But those people that can discarded very quickly, the folks that really are successful long term know how to build those relationships. Obviously, they have a goal of trying to attain but the goal should be to build as much good rapport with as many people as possible but not have it in when they're buying products. Stay in touch. Celebrate the good times. Support them in the bad times. That's a true relationship. I think one of the series of books that I found to be extremely helpful are Bob Burg's books, The Go- Giver, where they talk about giving, giving and giving to build that relationship. But there is a caveat to this. And that is, because Adam Grant has a wonderful book as well about givers and takers. I think that's the title, I could be wrong. If you look at the sales leaderboard and the difference between givers and takers, at the bottom of the sales leaderboard are the givers. They're always giving, giving and giving. The people in the middle of the sales leaderboard, at the middle part, maybe near the top end, but most likely just the middle, who can never really quite make it are the takers. But who's at the top nailing the numbers? It's the givers. And why are the givers at the bottom and the givers at the top? Let me give you an example. So let's say, I say there, " Can you help with me this?" You say, " Sure, Dan, it will be my pleasure." After I ask you to help me in a project, I come back and say, " That was great. Thank you. That was really helpful." And you say, " No problem." That's not what you should say. What you should say is, " I was glad to help you. I know you would do the same for me." Now, you're sending a message. You're sending a message that if there's a little bit of give and take here. So it's a matter of knowing when to pivot. In networking, you want to help and also realize that there's an investment of time with these folks, but you also have to know when to pivot, when it's time to ask, when you've built what I call that social investment where you have that, you've put in enough deposits, well, now you can make out a withdraw. In real life, you can't go to a bank and withdraw if you haven't made a deposit. That's the same thing with networking. You have to make as many personal deposits as you can and at some point, if you need you, you can make a withdrawal. The more good you put out there, the more you're helping other folks, it'll come back to you. And I'll give you a case in point how it's helped me. So COVID for the event business was probably one of the most difficult things. We made it through. We pivoted early. I pivoted second week in March last year, we're now at 58 virtual events. I spent a lot of time helping folks moving the needle forward. At any given week, I'm getting 10 to 20 introductions from other folks, sometimes three or four a day, of people I haven't met. Now, will they be the perfect fit for my services? Not all of them. Maybe 30% but they were called connectors like me. They have a network and they'll connect me with other folks. Even this morning, I had three networking calls. They are all going to generate to each of those folks introducing me to four or five people. So the more you put out there, the more you're going to get back. But I will say the one thing is you also can't play the game of tit for tat. You can't measure how many introductions you've made for someone and depended on to make the same. You don't want to keep a scorecard with networking, with professional networking. You want to connect with as many of the right people as possible but act as a connector and introduce them to folks even if it doesn't have anything to do with you because that will create a gravitational pull to bring people into your network. And those folks that are brought into your network now want to help because they've seen you helping them.

Angel Leon: Yeah, and that makes sense obviously. The keeping the scorecard piece is interesting because quid pro quo, tit for tat, name your line here but that's an interesting take because sometimes we think on transactions just like that. We're thinking about doing these meetups. And I'm not so much talking about networking but just in general. Like the example that you said earlier about if you're asking me for help and I said, " Yeah, sure, and I'd help you." And then in the end, you just give me thanks and let me go. Now, I feel like in the future, I might be able to say, " Hey, Dan, can you give me a hand?" Again, we're going back to that back and forth, that tit for tat. But when you build that rapport, when you do the example different like you explained where instead of just giving thanks and letting me go, you give thanks but also say, " I'm sure you would do the same for me if you need help." So that is something that then kind of strengthens that relationship?

Dan Horwich: Yes.

Angel Leon: And builds on it.

Dan Horwich: It does, but it also shows to the person you're not going to be taken advantage of either. Because there are people out there that we all know, we come across these folks, so the people that will take advantage of, people that will constantly ask for something, that keep coming back to the well because they think they can. I had a neighbor that used to do that and when he would constantly ask for a favor and inaudible definitely have to shut it down in a polite way. But I would also say with networking that the best networkers know never to burn a bridge. Even if you have a bad experience with someone, you don't want to be in a situation where they're put off or whatever. You have to handle any of these with... You have to be delicate and you really have to handle it with care. The beauty of professional networking with what I've seen especially over the last year and a half is I've surrounded myself with some great folks. I've really sort of insulated myself with a lot of other pay- it- forward networkers. And we're always there trying to help each other out. So, not only do opportunities or leads come but you have more joy doing it. But you're also able to sift through pretty quickly the people who are really in it for long- term relationships versus those who are just takers. You'll learn to spot a taker a mile away. Sometimes, someone may come into your network and you don't feel great about them, but when you develop an attitude of service to others, it brings in other people. You end up surrounding yourself by proxy really with all the people that have that same mindset and that truly care. And slowly but surely, you end up making the world a better place. Now, I don't mean to be cute by saying that but it really happens. Through network over the last year, I was able to get four senior level IT professionals jobs just by position, just by introducing them to six recruiters that I have great relationships with. There was nothing there for me. There's no financial gain, but there was joy. And the more you help others, the more personal joy you bring to your own life. I call it the trajectory of joy where someone said to me about a year ago this time, " How's COVID treating you?" I said, " Well, it's a challenge but I'm happy than I've ever been." And that person said, " What are you, crazy?" And I said, " Why?" And they said, " This is the most challenging time." I said, " Yes, but it also presents a great opportunity to help others," because if you help others now, you're planting the seeds and those relationships will blossom and people generally will remember who was there for them in the most difficult times, in the darkest of days, and they don't forget that. Now, you shouldn't do it. My point is you shouldn't do it because they won't forget it, but you end up building your own personal brand where you become indispensable to people because you care about them personally as well as professionally. If you care about them just professionally, you can become dispensable because they can always find another supplier that can provide more value or sell them something at a lower cost, or has a unique idea for them. But what's unique is if you provide personal value to them, if you win their hearts by doing things that could help them when they're in a personal jam, those folks don't forget that and that cements the relationship.

Angel Leon: Yeah, I was going to say two things. Number one, I would definitely agree that neighbors are some of the biggest offenders when it comes to taking and taking and taking. But I do want to say and ask you specifically about last year because... Well, actually, I had three points. The second one is asking you about last year and those relationship building moments. Because as you said, last year and even through this year or two, was one of the most challenging years especially for what you do, for conferences, for events. So I can only imagine what it must have been like with you, as you said, having joy in helping others but also going through your own struggles within your industry. And so tell us a little bit about that, and then I'll go into my third point here in a second.

Dan Horwich: Yeah, so I pivoted early and here's why. So I was hosting an event in Enterprise Architecture, March 5th of last year, I'll never forget. The day before the event, one of my sponsors called up and said, " Our engineer doesn't want to come because of COVID." I thought, " COVID?" Because at March 4th, we didn't know how bad this is going to be. We had some inkling that things weren't going right, and we're trending in a certain direction. But March 4th out there with the exception of maybe certain scientists, certain physicians, none of us really knew how bad this is going to be. So I said to the salesperson, I said, " Tell your sales engineer to come to the event. Let's not worry about it." He shows up to the event, 88% of my registered attendees showed up which we always have a high attendance rate due to the quality of the programming. I went to the sales engineer and I said, " What's with this COVID thing?" He crossed his arms and he looked at me, and he said, " My mom worked for the CDC for 35 years as an executive. This is going to be one of the most horrible things this country has ever seen." So I couldn't ignore that. I wanted to ignore it, but sometimes you get a piece of information that seems incredible, I was chewing on after a day or two. Fast forward a week, March 12th, I was supposed to do an event. The day before starting 1: 30 p. m., 35% of my attendees started canceling right away. So I had to pull it on March 12th. We all know March 12th, March 13th was when kids were being sent home from school, companies were closing their offices. I'd say two days will always stay in my mind, March 11th and September 11th, the two 11ths that will always remember where we were sadly. I have had other times in business where the economy goes down, the first time they cut are our budgets for events. So having enough experience, I didn't panic. I just said, " I got to put together a plan. I got to figure this out." I had never hosted a webinar. So I pivoted. I had to pivot quickly because having gone through other challenging times where there's a financial crisis of 2008, 2009, where there was 9/ 11, all those things had an impact obviously on the conference business. And you can get jarred by those things. But the key to remember in any of these situations is not to panic. You just have to put your head down and leverage relationships. I pivoted, hosted our first webinar on March 26th. And I came up with really four flavors of events: Virtual boardrooms where I put together a room for sponsor of a lot large enterprises on a shared topic of interest, panel- moderated webinars, standard webinars and full day virtual events. As of last Thursday, that was our 58th virtual event in 16 months. But it goes to the power of networking. There are a lot of folks due to my relationships and due to the trust they had in me, they're willing to take a chance on me and take a chance on CAMP IT versus taking a chance on other organizations. And a lot of it is because some of these salespeople, I helped them get jobs. I helped open up doors for opportunities that had nothing to do with the events. I was there beyond doing the full service and walking attendees over to sponsor's table at the events, or on the side helping them connect with a decision- maker someplace else. There was so much good well- built in that that's one of the things that helped me. Now, that wasn't the only thing. We had to work quickly, but also, I've got a lot of business with folks that I've helped over the last 15, 16 months. I helped them land a job and they got involved with the events for sponsorship perspective. So you sort of feed your own funnel by helping folks but it should be you're doing it because of it. It's like when people say you should do something to help someone because it's the right thing to do, to me, that's a crutch. You should help people because you're passionate about it. And when you're passionate about it, that inspires other people and my argument on that is the only thing that should have been contagious the last 18 months was kindness and empathy. And that's really what's helped build professional networks. I now am networking regularly with people around the world because of Zoom, because of other tools. These are folks around the country that because of my event in Chicago, I never would have had the chance to network with, but good folks find other good folks. And pay- it- forward connectors find other pay- it- forward connectors. So by building those relationships and that rapport, that helped us move the needle forward and right now we're having a successful year because of all the seeds that have been planted years past.

Angel Leon: Yeah, that's a great story because as we mentioned during the episode, the seeds that you plant, again like you mentioned earlier about how to water that and watch it grow, not just want some sort of instant win if you will. So, I'm glad to hear that all of that happened throughout last year for you. But then my last point that I wanted to ask you about is something that you mentioned earlier about, how do you specifically note somebody who's a taker, note somebody who's going to be there on a network with you because they want to take, take, take?

Dan Horwich: That's a great question. That would have been the harder question for me to answer 18 months ago. When you're with the pay- it- forward connector, you're competing with the other person to see who could help the other person first. So for instance, I'm on three calls today and two of the calls, the person said, " Dan, who can I introduce you to?" I said, " Well, thank you, but I already asked you that five minutes ago. So, I first want to take care of you first before you take care of me." If I'm getting a network call, I go with the whole idea I want to help someone else out. Will they help me? Maybe, but I don't go in because they're going to help me. And how to circle back on that, the person who's offering to help you, connect you with people and connect you to a few different people and now they ask you for anything right away, you know they're not a taker. If you're in a meeting with them, they say, " Who can you connect me with? Who can you connect me with? We got this great solution that," will go into things, they're thinking only about themselves. If they're asking for something first, you know they're a taker. If they're offering from a place of kindness, you know they're a giver. Now, it would have been a harder question to answer a long time ago, 18 months ago because I didn't have as much experience with all this virtual networking. But if you develop a reputation of giving, giving, giving, you're going to attract some of those other folks. Now occasionally, you're going to find a taker. I've had people that have reached out to me. They heard I helped someone and they've said to me, they called me. They have the guts to call me and say, " I heard you helped someone. Can you help me?" I'm like, " I don't know you." "Yeah, but you helped that other person." " Well, okay, but you have to develop a rapport with me because I don't know what your intentions are." So, you have to develop. Obviously, you have to have a backbone to begin with but do it with kindness and be firm. But it's always about developing trust and if someone is offering to help you and you can tell it's coming from a genuine place of concern, of support, then 9 times out of 10, they're not going to be a taker. If someone is coming to you right away or ask me to do something for them, 9.5 times out of 10, they're going to be a taker.

Angel Leon: Interesting. When you mentioned that earlier, that caught my attention because we run across that all the time. And in many industries, not just this one or yours but anything. I was using the example, the car buying experience. I do want to go back to that for a second because some of the things you mentioned about building that trust and seeding that ground, I experienced that all the time by then, because of the place that I go to and it's because while the salesmen that sold me my car is no longer there, the people that services are there. And so last Friday, I had an experience where the dealership was cool. There was a lot of people having a service, and I was standing on a corner. And this young man approached me and he started having a conversation. And he noticed that two of the different repair folks came by and said hi to me. And he said, " Boy, you must come here a lot." And I said, " Yeah, I do, but it's because of the service. It's because of the way they treat me as a customer, and so they know who I am." But I've built that rapport in that over the last five years, I have gone there. I have chatted with them. I have built that relationship through... Obviously, it's a business. It's a place of service where they provide a service to me but I don't feel like when I go there, I'm getting a service. I feel like I'm actually going someplace that I feel comfortable with. And I don't mind waiting an hour for my car to be ready for whatever it is that it's getting done.

Dan Horwich: Let me sort of add on that because I love that you brought that up. It's building rapports, it's building relationships. But I think there's another component of it and that what I find in a lot of pay- it- forward networkers is that they live a life of gratitude. They're thankful for what they have. They want to achieve certain things. They're appreciative of what they have. They're appreciative for their health, for their family, for their kids growing up if they have kids. They're appreciative for the connections. The true pay- it- forward networkers live a life of gratitude. For me, I'm an entrepreneur. I'm thankful for that. I'm thankful I've got a beautiful wife, beautiful daughters that support me. I'm grateful that the four grandparents are still with us. I look at everything through the lens of gratitude. Some people may focus on what they don't have. I focus on what I have and that sort of levels it. And when you have that attitude, and most pay- it- forward networkers, you're going to find to have that, They're appreciative of what they have. They're appreciative of the power of connection. They're appreciative that people are willing to help them out. And most pay- it- forward networkers are very, very humble because it's not about them, it's about everyone else. So, I would say that even with our conferences, it's not about CAMP IT. It's certainly not about me. It's about how do we enable others to live their best lives? How do we help folks professionally improve in their careers so they could achieve what they want personally? And that's really my motto, is when I meet with folks, when I'm networking. I always tell everyone on the call... They'll confirm this if you talk with anyone I'm networked with that I want to leave them in a better place than they were 30 minutes ago, never assuming anyone is in a bad place. But even while we're on the networking call, as we're about to finish the call, I'll type up three email introductions while we're on the call, so it hits their inbox at the end of call, they're like, " Oh, my God, I've got stuff to work at." So that to me is always thinking about someone else, putting other people's needs first because that's really how you build it. It's not that it's difficult. It's just difficult for some people to do, meaning the thought process behind it, it's not rocket science. I never claimed to be rocket scientist. It's more about how do you put someone else in a better place, in a better frame of mind. How are you there for them in the good times and the bad times? Are you there for your customers even if there's no deal on the table, even if there isn't commission for you? Are you there to be a friend? It's about being kind. It's about being grateful. It's about having an empathy, and it's about moving the needle forward for others. Some people get it, others don't, others never will. And that's okay. The world would be a place if everyone else got it but the reality of it is for those people that get it, they're going to scale beyond their peers because really that that's what's going to make the difference in terms of who buyers want to buy from. But I think what's most important is that the more people develop that mantra, that attitude of enabling others, you don't happen this is going to scale. There's nothing like... When we were kids, I remember at holiday time, my parents would always say it's better to give than to receive. And as a young kid, I'm like, " No, I want the presents." For Hanukkah, " I want presents. I want all the stuff." My friends who weren't Jewish, " I want all these presents for Christmas." But as you get older, you realized the joy you put on your own kid's faces when you give them something. I think even just taking a step further, if you can put a smile on someone's face, if you can introduce them to new opportunity whether it's a sales opportunity, a decision- maker, or getting a new role, if you can help someone, being there for someone maybe who's gotten a divorce, whatever it is. There are so many different permutations to this. But at the end of the day, it's more about helping others and living a fulfilling life.

Angel Leon: Absolutely. Those are great words to live by. And Dan, I want to do a pivot here to talk a little bit about emotional intelligence because I know you do handle a lot of that. And here at Moser, we have a learning practice where we do both internal and external trainings. And one of the things that we do a lot is work with emotional intelligence or EQ. Can you tell us a little bit about how you apply the concepts of EQ to your work in networking?

Dan Horwich: Yes. I can give you a very clear example of that because, and I'm so glad that Moser is doing that because there are not too many organizations that have emotional intelligence practice, and that really for anyone who's listening, really puts this organization further ahead. By you doing that, that's very progressive. A lot of people talk about it but seeing that you're actually doing it, hats off to you. When we talk about emotional intelligence, you have to step back and realize that 99. 9% of the time, if you've done nothing wrong and you get negative response from someone, that's their issue. The problem is a lot of us internalized it, " What did I do wrong? Did I catch him at a bad time?" You start second guessing, especially the younger salesmen. As they get older, people develop a thicker skin. But you have to separate it out. It's understanding that it's not us versus them like when you're cold calling or if your boss gives you an attitude about something. It's that most people don't know how to control their emotions. I think one of the biggest challenges professionals face is human beings overall respond emotionally first, logic second. What I state is that there's probably only three times in life where you should get highly emotional. When you propose to your significant other or make a commitment to a life partner, if you decide to go down the path and are fortunate enough to have children, and sadly losing a loved one whether it's a close friend or family member. Those are three times where you're making decisions based on emotion. Most of the time, your decisions need to be based on logic. And why I mentioned that is nothing good generally comes from being super emotional about something. It's logic that really helps guide our path. Emotion tends to cause... The piece of advice I was given from my father who started this business was the day after a conference, when you're riding on a high and you're exhausted as well, never make any sort of life decision because you will make the wrong decision because you're not thinking clearly because emotion or exhaustion is clouding your judgment. When you're dealing with people... And let me circle back for a second about 99% of the time. Someone comes at you with negativity. That's their negativity, don't let it be yours. Problem is we get sucked into it whether we have a narcissistic manager, whether we have someone that's having a bad day, always try to step back and take a deep breath and say, " God, it must be very difficult to be in their life right now. They've got to have something going on." If you see someone who is constantly boasting or someone who is putting other people down, that's just a cover. They're just trying to make other people feel bad and bringing them down to their level. So, I'd say in terms of emotional intelligence, and they always talk about EQ versus IQ. EQ, the emotional quotient, is a much higher predictor likelihood of success and happiness in life than IQ is because it's about relatability. It's about having empathy. It's about being able to connect with people. So, is it impacting me? Maybe 10 years ago, I used to get more frustrated if things didn't go my way. But now I say, " Okay, that didn't go my way. Something else will." It's about reframing it in your mind. It's about someone comes at you with negativity, you have to sort of position your mind, visualize that. You pivot. You visualize yourself pivoting and say, " Whoa, that was close. That negative energy is like an arrow. They just went past me. But I'm not going to let it suck in. That's their issue. That's not mine." Then you're able to break it down. The other thing I would say is if... What I was trying to explain to folks is that when someone comes at you with such negativity rather than being a part of letting it affect you. Take that negative energy. Turn to positive energy by going to help someone else out. Why? Because it diffuses your hurt feelings, or it diffuses your frustration or anger and you're redirecting the energy. Call someone that you know is in a less fortunate situation and offer to help them. If you see someone struggling and also the person down the street and you noticed to be more mindful and offer to help them to cross the street or offer to help carry someone's grocery, whatever it is, or offer to help someone get a job. Take the negative feelings, the negative emotions being directed at you and pivot because the person that's being negative either doesn't have an understanding of the situation or understanding of their own emotions that are at play or the things that were instilled in them early on where there were some baggage they're carrying. When we're dealing with human beings, it's always about kindness and empathy, but people who don't know how to demonstrate that end up pushing people away. You pull people in with kindness, with empathy, with love, with everything else and people would be more motivated to do things when you take time to understand as a person but also correspond with them in an appropriate way.

Angel Leon: Yeah. You bring a very interesting point to light against that. Obviously, emotion is going to suck you in no matter what, whether it's good emotion or a bad emotion. And I think that you mentioned something that's really key in this conversation and it's that when you're presented with an opportunity with a negative emotion towards maybe, if I'm a salesman and I tried to sell something to you and you decline but you sent negative energy in my way, it's really easy for anybody to just go down that rabbit hole just right behind that no and that reason why and just go down the rabbit hole. And you don't know where you're going to end up. At the same time, it's really easy as you mentioned when you're feeling that joy, that greatness, that goodness for an action that you just did to get yourself build up in that as well. So, can you talk to us a little bit about that? Because I think it is important for people to know when they're about to go down the rabbit hole.

Dan Horwich: Yeah. It's a trigger. It's a trigger of not getting approval. So, let's say you cold- call someone and candidly, I don't do as much cold calling. I really don't because for me, networking is a much better path because it develops trust faster. But if you're in a certain industry segments where there are so many vendors, it's hard to get through on cold calls. But for anyone else who's listening, remember that when you're making a cold call, you're interrupting their time. They don't know you, so they're not upset at you. They're just upset at the situation that their time is interrupted, or it's just another salesperson calling. So, it's hard to do because you have to diffuse it. They don't know you. You haven't offended them personally other than taking up their time. Two minutes later, they're going to forget even who you were because maybe you're making much of an impact or they just don't deal with sales, whatever it is. A lot of times people internalized, it's a rejection of me. You have to sort of figure out where that comes from and a lot of times whether it's psychological training or people need to go to therapy. Whatever it may be, your buttons are being pushed. The key is to stop your button from being pushed. That person who inaudible, okay, they're probably having a bad day, diffuse it. They're having a bad day and diffuse it. You have to work the muscle in your brain. When you get a signal that comes on, they talk about what the autonomic nervous system, whatever it was years ago we studied in school. A signal comes on and you're going to react right away. You want to get before you react. You want to say that's why you insert logic because like I was saying before, humans respond first to emotion, logic second. So, the key is instead of saying, " Oh, that guy, I can't believe he didn't take the call. All my day is shut," you may not be saying those words but in your mind, you're deflated for like next however long. You know what? He's probably in a bad ... He or she who answered the phone is probably in a bad place. They're probably overwhelmed with stuff. Maybe their management, their executives are giving them a tough time right now and this is one more thing that happened where the reaction was not apportionate to how we approach them. Sometimes, people overreact. So then you realize those folks may be unable to handle their emotions either. So, I think if you're doing the right things and you're acting appropriately and you're acting professionally and you get a negative response, or someone is nasty or someone is... They may be feeling stressed and they don't want to deal with another person and they're not trained emotionally. If you're trained emotionally to break that down and focus on logic, you're ahead of the game. But you have to keep reworking the brain. You have to keep repeating to yourself, " This isn't about me." This is maybe they're having a bad day or maybe they got too many salespeople calling them. And when you can go down that path of saying, of looking at the lens of logic. " Okay, well, maybe that wasn't the best way to reach them, we'll figure out another way to reach them. Maybe I know someone who knows them that can put another call for me or can connect me or whatever." The more emotion you can pull out of the situation, the more they'll your own behavior less erratic and you'll be able to respond appropriately to someone who says x, y, and z. For instance, I had someone cold call me last week trying to sell me something for my website. I had no idea who they were. And I replied and said, "I'm not interested," and they said, " But you need to listen to me." I'm like, " Well, but I mentioned I'm not interested." I was very blatant. I was staying on the call just to see how this person was responding. I was really sort of curious because you always want to learn from others." But sir, you don't understand how we can help you." And I said, "Well, I'm really not interested." " But sir, you could show me the respect to give me your time." Well, I didn't need to do that and I wasn't going to give the time and this individual, well, she approached it the wrong way. " So, well, this is what we do. Would this be of interest..." " No." She can move on but continue to fight, all of a sudden, you annoy people more, and I can sense the agitation in her phone because she's probably getting pressured trying to sell as many people as possible for whatever website service they had. Sometimes, you need to cut your losses well but think logically. Think and act logically. Never respond emotionally. But you have to sort of interject logic. Once you see that anxiety coming on and that stress coming on, insert logic where emotion resides.

Angel Leon: I agree. That definitely is a great example of having somebody that responded emotionally to your response about not being interested on a product. Everybody gets those calls on a daily basis, not just from salesmen but insurance companies, et cetera, just trying to give you something and trying to show you how they can help you. Dan, this has been a great conversation about EQ and about networking. But I'm going to ask you three questions that we usually ask our guests towards the end of our conversations. So, here comes the first one. What's a commonly held belief about your expertise that you passionately disagree with?

Dan Horwich: A commonly held belief about expertise that I passionately disagree with, that I know every single person out there. And the key to networking is understanding you're never going to know everyone. You can't. People come and go. People pass on. People move into other industries. I get that phrase that a lot of people have said that, " You seemed to know everyone." Well, that's very kind but the response to that really is, " Your network was only as good as it was yesterday. Today is a new day." And that's what I tell everyone on my post on LinkedIn every Friday when I do the pay- it- forward Friday post. " Your network was only as good as it was yesterday." Things can dry up. So, you can know a lot of people. You can be well- connected but if you're not constantly working your network, you're not going to grow. It's going to become stagnant. And sooner or later, it's going to dry up. So, everyone has to be on what I call perpetual networking where they have to constantly be doing it, but doing it for the right reasons.

Angel Leon: Interesting. What's something that everyone in your industry space should start or stop doing?

Dan Horwich: They should stop trying to focus on features and products and start focusing on building rapport with people, getting to know them personally and understanding them a bit emotionally like what the triggers are, but more probably helping them in their career. I always say it's time for folks to focus on winning hearts, not just minds. And instead of pushing on features and products, how great this product is, like I said before, product, solution, services over time they're going to be commoditized, but what never gets commoditized is the relationship.

Angel Leon: That's great advice. I agree on the start, looking at hearts, not minds. So, last question. When you first started in your business or your expertise, what was harder than you expected?

Dan Horwich: When I took it over after my father had a fantastic run for 17 years, and when I took it over after being... Before I took over the family business, my folks started in'84 and my father was a corporate IT Manager of Baxter Healthcare. So, he came from an IT practitioner role, I came from the IT vendor role. I think the hardest thing for me was really revamping the business. We had a general IT show. We had exhibitors on one side of the building, attendees on the other side. And I had to really reformat, rebuild it where sponsors and attendees are in the same room together. And I can't put a different really unique format. So, I think the hardest thing was to check my ego at the door to know that I had a lot to learn, to know that even though I had several years of sales and marketing under my belt, I still have to continue to grow, and really have a growth mindset. I think a lot of the challenges that people face are it's not that they necessarily become arrogant. They may think that they know everything and there isn't much to learn, but it's a process of constantly learning, constantly challenging yourself, having an informal board of advisers, people that you can talk to, run ideas against, and listen. I think the most important thing that people miss is just listening. I have sales friends that spend 80% of the time talking. And I've seen it, 20% of the time listening. It should be flipped around. Just listen. People want to be heard. And the key to developing rapport in relationships is first you listen. You seek to understand before you seek to be understood.

Angel Leon: That's a great advice. I used that every day. I work in HR, so it's a key part of my job every day. So that is great advice. Dan, this has been a great conversation. I'm going to steal a line from you that you said earlier. Hopefully, folks found over the last half hour or so whatever time we spent together. Hopefully, they come out better than they were when they started listening to this.

Dan Horwich: Yeah. And that wasn't copyrighted or trademarked, and so feel free to use that any time but I appreciate your generosity of time allowing me to share my thoughts. It's really heartfelt coming from me because given my family history and everything else, so that if I can help others move the needle forward and help them progress in their careers, I think my late grandfather would be looking down with a smile on his face.

Angel Leon: Absolutely. Dan Horwich from CAMP IT. Thanks, Dan.

Dan Horwich: Thank you, Angel.

Angel Leon: Thank you for listening into this week's edition of ASCII Anything presented by Moser Consulting. We hope you enjoyed listening into our conversation with Dan Horwich from CAMP IT on the power of networking. We'd love it if you would join us next week when we continue to dive deeper with our resident experts and what they're currently working on. If you have an idea or topic you like us to explore, please reach out to us through our social media channels. In the meantime, please remember to give us a rating and subscribe to our feed wherever you get your podcast. Until then, so long everybody.


This week we are joined by Dan Horwich, the CEO of CAMP IT Conferences. Dan's family literally owes its continued existence to networking and he's eager to share the story of his family, and his company, with as many people as possible.

Today's Host

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Angel Leon

|Director of Personnel

Today's Guests

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Dan Horwich

|CEO of CAMP IT Conferences