How can I help you today?

I went to a networking event yesterday. I had no agenda whatsoever: I’m not looking for work, I’m not looking to hire … I just went to network.

I’m naturally extroverted and enjoy going up to complete strangers. I’m happy to start the conversation.

How can I help you today?

We’ve all read how people like to talk about themselves. I’ve found conversation starters like “So, tell me about your business” to be particularly effective. I follow up, “So, if I were able to help you today, what would you ask of me?”

What’s more, it’s fun to actually mean it.

When I ask, “How can I help you,” it’s more than a ploy to get the conversation to come back to me. I actively enjoy thinking through my mental Rolodex, wondering who I might be able to put together.

Invariably, though, the recipient feels as though you’ve listen to them. They want to reciprocate and genuinely ask, “So, how can I help you?” And now, armed with some information about them, can tailor my response appropriately.


In each of the past two months, I met someone, moved on, and two or three connections later find a match. It’s awfully gratifying to introduce the two parties and see first-hand something come from nothing.

Today I visited the website of a startup Web team and took 10 minutes to critique it. She replied,

I can’t thank you enough for this critique!  I have been planning to revamp the website soon – based on your advice, I think we need a pretty major overhaul.  I really appreciate all of this advice!  I’ll let you know when the new site is up.

We are really good at computers and code, but we are definitely not marketers, so we are really grateful that you have taken the time to look over this and offer such thoughtful suggestions. If there is ever anything we can do to help you out, please
let us know!

I also sent two other people’s contact information to a recruiter and a potential hiring manager.


My take on networking? Give. Give freely and often. It’s good karma. And something may come of it … for them … maybe even for you.

So, how can I help YOU today?

Photo credit: JanRohwedder


  1. Hi Joe,

    So my question doesn’t have to do with networking, but I think it’s something you might know about. I’m working with a client whose product is geared toward members of the healthcare community, and we are going to be doing two press releases. Would you recommend using an online press release service, like, or would you recommend the more (now old school, I guess) traditional press release strategy of distributing the releases ourselves to targeted industry publications?

    I don’t know if there’s a quick answer to that or not!


  2. I don’t have enough information to answer the question since I don’t know the company. I want to ask my friend and PR agent Chris Gale to weigh in. Hold tight.

  3. Joe's friend and PR agent says:

    Joe’s right, it depends on the client and your objective.

    For instance, is your client a publicly traded firm? If they are, and the news is significant enough to move the stock, then it most certainly needs to be distributed widely and publicly.

    What is their past practice? Do customers, investors or other stakeholders expect news to show up across the web? You will need to take previous expectations into account.

    Is your objective to get a story, or to establish a record of a newsworthy accomplishment, or both?

    If you just want a record of your news to be online and findable, and you want to route a little extra traffic to your site, then PRWeb is adequate though it will not have the same reach as PR Newswire, Business Wire, Market Wire or similar more expensive services.

    If your objective is purely to get coverage, then you really don’t need a press release except perhaps to serve as a basis of agreement between you and the client on what the story is.

    If you’re just trying to get reporters to cover your news then call them up and email them your pitch. Inevitably you will find after a few conversations that your pitch will evolve, so a press release can be limiting from this perspective.

  4. Thanks Joe, and Joe’s friend!

    Objective is two-fold: We do want the news to be online and findable, and we do want to get coverage.

    Although the company and the product is new, the key players are not new in their fields or new to the media. I know that distribution with PR Newswire is warranted.

    Great tip regarding getting coverage. Direct contact with certain journals seems to be the appropriate route.


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