Jordan Harbinger has spent several years abroad in Europe and the developing world, including South America, Eastern Europe, and the Middle East, and speaks several languages. He’s also worked for various governments and NGOs overseas, traveled through war zones, and been kidnapped — twice. He’ll tell you the only reason he’s still alive and kicking is because of his ability to talk his way into (and out of) just about any type of situation. At The Art of Charm Jordan shares that experience and the system borne as a result with students and clients.
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3 Key Points:
- Explore productivity techniques and try each one until you find what best works for you.
- Get ahead of the game by connecting with people prior to that actual first meet up—whether it be an event or dinner.
- Making your side events fun will leave a positive impact on people.
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Time Stamped Show Notes
(click the time stamp to jump directly to that point in the episode.)
- [01:02] – Jordan was on EOFire 430 episodes ago
- [01:48] – Jordan has been shifting and trying new things
- [02:26] – One BIG and Unique Value Bomb: A lot of people have different productivity techniques, but Jordan likes to make sure that every 15 mins of his day is planned out. Everything Jordan has from 8am to 8pm each day is not flexible and has been planned weeks ahead
- [03:25] – This technique is very useful for Jordan
- [04:21] – JLD and Jordan talked about Parkinson’s Law
- [05:25] – Jordan speaks at a lot of conferences
- [05:50] – If you’re not a speaker, it’s harder to get someone’s attention
- [06:41] – What Jordan does is he checks who’s in the line up before him and sends them emails or LinkedIn messages before the conference
- [07:09] – Connect with the speakers without sending them requests
- [07:38] – Jordan starts conversations around common things or things the person he’s contacting is interested in
- [08:17] – Connecting prior to the event is useful because they’re already expecting to meet you
- [09:34] – “Don’t wait to knock on that front door”
- [10:54] – Jordan talks about his side events for connecting with people
- [12:00] – People want to meet new people in a group
- [12:41] – Instead of just sitting down at dinners, ask the group some fun questions
- [14:05] – The problem with attending dinners is sometimes you sit down and end up talking to the person next to you the entire time
- [14:42] – JLD shares a quick story of a mastermind he did in San Francisco
- [18:42] – At a recent conference in San Diego, Jordan organized an escape room
- [18:59] – An escape room is like bringing a video game experience to life
- [19:43] – Escape rooms bring out peoples’ competitive nature and cause people to work as a team
- [20:31] – What’s interesting is the feedback Jordan receives at the end of the games
- [21:22] – Escape rooms are so much better than ice breakers
- [22:01] – JLD also used an indoor mini golf course for a conference in San Francisco
- [23:14] – Jordan loves getting people to listen to his podcast!
Jordan: Oh, you know it, man.
JLD: Jordan has spent several years abroad in Europe and the developing world including South America, Eastern Europe, the Middle East. He speaks several languages and he works on his Chinese two hours a day which is crazy. He's also worked for various government groups and NGOs overseas, he's traveled through warzones, he has been kidnapped twice, and he'll tell the only reason he's still alive and kicking is because of his ability to talk his way into and out of just about any type of situation. At The Art of Charm, Jordan shares that experience – this system born as a result – with students and clients. Jordan, catch us up with what you've been through over the last 430 days which is when you were on EOFire last. What's been going on, brother?
Jordan: Well, tell me you didn't – did you make that calculation by looking at the number of episodes?
JLD: I do math.
Jordan: That's it?
JLD: That's it. You were 430 episodes ago.
Jordan: That's so funny because I was like, "Oh, he looked at the – Wait a minute, there's a trick here going on."
JLD: Yeah, that's me.
Jordan: That's so funny. Gosh, that has been a while. Holy cow. Man.
JLD: Yeah. Well, we've seen each other at conferences since so –
Jordan: Well, yeah.
JLD: – we've been hanging out but it's been that long since Fire Nation has heard us hanging out.
Jordan: Holy cow. Because I've had you on before that and I just figured, "Oh, we probably did the same thing at the same time – did a little show –"
Jordan: No, that's cool. Well, good. I'm glad to be back, man. I don't want to spend too much time rehashing the old stuff because we're into the new stuff now but, yeah, I've been – A lot – what hasn't happened in the last couple of years for everybody, right?
JLD: So true and one thing that I really realized is that you've kind of been shifting, you've been trying new things and I always keep my eye on you because you're a pioneer in this industry – you were here long before EOFire and, let's be frank, you'll probably be here long after EOFire, too. You're just kind of one of those people who will survive any kind of nuclear holocaust –
Jordan: Like a cockroach?
JLD: Well, I wasn't going to say it but I'm glad you came out and said that. But what would you say right now; today – because I know this has shifted over the years – is your area of expertise? And then, from within that, Jordan, just kind of give us one thing that might blow us away – a tip, tool, or tactic that we should probably know but we don't know.
Jordan: One of the things that I really like to do is – and we just sort of mentioned this earlier, pre-show – but a lot of folks have different sort of productivity techniques and things like that. And, of course, you do as well in the mastery journal that's coming up. But I like to make sure that every 15 minutes of my day is planned out in my calendar. And I know that sounds insanely anal retentive and weird but I don't mean that everything is blocked off into 15 minute blocks – I just mean that, since that's the calendar default, everything I have from 8:00 a.m. probably until 8:00 p.m. is not flexible very much. It can be if it needs to be but, like you and I both work, we don't want – I don't want to put out fires. I want to do stuff that matters. I want other people to have to put out fires.
So I have everything from after I brush my teeth and take a shower in the morning – and you know how that goes, some of those things can be optional on somedays but – on everything I've got – I've got my Chinese lessons, I've got show blocks, I've got email blocks, I've got my lunch block, I've got everything – every call is on there – and I find this to be very useful because a lot of entrepreneurs, especially when we're first starting, we think, "Oh, I work from home. It's great. I have all this flexibility." What happens is you wake up late, you go to the gym, you come back, you eat, and then you do a little bit of something something and you're like, "Holy crap, it's 5:00." And you do that for years and you wonder why you're not getting ahead.
And I plan out these days or weeks in advance and that's very important because that means that I've already decided what's important – I don't have to decide on the fly based on how hungry I am, or how much I think I need to get done that day, or how much I got done the previous day. I can just stay heads down. And, over time, you come to realize that you have to build in breaks into your day at certain times, how much work you're able to get done, and things like that. And, of course, you've got to be able to build in flexibility to maybe take a break if you get sick or something like that but, otherwise, everything is on the calendar and that's been a huge gamechanger for me.
JLD: Yeah. One thing that we actually talked about when I was on your show was Parkinson's Law which we just both know is so true – tasks will expand to the time allotted. So, if you don't actually set a specific amount of time for a specific task, Fire Nation, then of course you're not going to accomplish it in any meaningful timeframe because it's just going to keep expanding, and expanding, and expanding because you're always just going to keep shuffling in new things that may or may not make sense.
Now, Jordan, one thing that you've done really well – and this is something that we've been able to experience together at a few conferences and I've been able to really see you in action, so to speak – is you really make the most out of conferences, these in-person conferences you go to, you do a lot of things right. So we're going to take some time here today to talk about how you figure this out, your psychology behind this. So let's start off with how people today approach speakers. Like when they're an attendee, they're going to a conference and they just approach these speakers in very inefficient ways. What have you seen over the years – what do you do differently? What do you want to share with Fire Nation in this area?
Jordan: Sure. So I speak at a lot of conferences and, of course, when I speak at conferences, I like to hang out backstage and things like that because every speaker has to go through that backstage area in order to go speak and then you can kind of catch them when they come back from their talk and they can't really avoid you – which is funny – because they've got the VIP Speaker Dinner but there's always two or three guys that can't make it and blah, blah, blah. It's good to be there. But, if you're not a speaker, you might have trouble because you're waiting for JLD to come offstage and then what happens? 48 people are like, "Oh, I listen to your show. I wanted to talk to you about this random thing. I have this idea to pitch you."
JLD: Hey, it was 49 people, Jordan – let's be honest.
Jordan: 49. At least. Minimum. I'm filling a bottom bar here. And they're trying to pitch you and so, even if you get through all 50 people because you're generous that day and, for some reason, something else got canceled and you don't have anything else going on or whatever or you're just being generous with your time, even by No. 2, you're like, "Oh, please don't pitch it – Email me this. Da, da, da." And you're just – everybody starts to blur together. You probably don't remember every single individual person because it would be almost inhuman to be able to do that and that's a problem. So you end up kind of knocking on the front door when you're trying to get someone's attention and it can be really tough – there can be a huge line of people to do that.
So what I like to do is I like to figure out who's in my lineup before the conference, email those people and maybe even send them a LinkedIn message because those tend to go to actual email addresses for a lot of folks and they tend to go to corporate email. The spam folder might not be catching it because it's LinkedIn and they can't really differentiate between that and everything else. So, unless they have those turned off, they'll get the message. A lot of people log into LinkedIn every day. And I comment on something that's of personal interest of theirs and I think this is really important because if you're like – if I see an email that comes in that says, "Podcasting," I'm like, "Okay. You're going to ask me about podcasting. This is going to get backburnered until I have fan mail time because I don't really want to – I know this is a request of some kind."
But, if somebody writes in and they're like, "North Korea Photos from My Trip," I'll be like, "Oh, I'm going to flag that for later. That sounds interesting," because they know what I'm interested in personally. They've done a little bit of research or they listen to the show and I figure, "Oh, okay. This is probably more interesting and possibly more worth my time. And so I start to set up things with speakers based on those conversations. And so I might say, "Hey, I noticed you're speaking at X, Y, Z event in a couple months. I'd love to meet you there." They're going, "Oh, yeah, great."
And I might even write, "Hey, I know there's going to be a huge line to go and talk to you. What do you think is the best way to meet you outside of that? Because I don't want to rush you when you're slammed for time and you get rushed by the stage." And then they're often like, "Oh, this is my personal email," or, "Here's my cell phone number. Please don't give it out," or, "I actually am having a dinner with a colleague – " it depends on the stage of relationship that you're in – they might even say, "I'm having lunch with a colleague if you want to join us," if you've been going back and forth and that happens all the time. And that's really, really useful because, by the time that you do go up and meet them, you say, "Hey, I'm Jordan. We talked via LinkedIn or email." "Oh, of course. Yeah, I remember you," and then they're expecting to meet you there – they're primed for that.
And you can also, if you've gotten a lot of back and forth from that same person, you might even be able to set something up like, "Oh, I know you're vegan so I'm going to make a reservation on Thursday or Friday for a really good vegan place. I'm going to bring my wife and I know you're bringing your wife. Do you want to meet for that?" And they might say, "Well, I'm not really sure," and you can even call out the elephant in the room and go, "Yeah, I know. You really have no idea whether or not I'm not a huge weirdo so why don't I backburner or table that for now but we can make a decision closer to the time?" "Okay, sounds great."
That way, if they do a little bit more back and forth with you, they might say, "Yeah, that vegan dinner on Thursday does sound great," and you can say, "Yeah, if you want to go without me, here's the place, here's a map. They tend to be busy on these nights." And that's something a lot of these folks will really appreciate because, if you find the good sushi place, you make the reservation, I'll probably show up and do it. And I do similar things with speakers and other folks when I'm at events if you're interested in hearing about that as well.
JLD: Well, I'm very interested in hearing about that because I've seen you in action do just that. And so, real quick, to recap what he's just talked about so far, Fire Nation, don't wait to knock on that front door. That's just inefficient because that speaker's going to be getting mobbed, they're already going to have their energy worn down because they probably just gave a talk so they want to probably go to the bar and get a drink – let's be honest – and you're going to be pitching them ideas.
That's not the right time to do it, especially when you don't have an initial connection already in place. So what do you do? You do things like you find them on LinkedIn; you reach out to them with something personal. If you know Jordan likes North Korea, then, if you have something relevant to say, well, maybe that's in the subject line. Comment on something personal like Jordan – Quick story – I was talking about "Joe Versus the Volcano" on a podcast episode a couple weeks ago because I just love that movie and I had five or six people subject line "Joe Versus the Volcano –"
And I was like, "Of course I'm going to read that because I want to know what they're going to say about that," because they were listening to the podcast, they commented on something in a personal manner, and it just made it worthwhile to read – that is huge, Fire Nation. So, Jordan, as you kind of mentioned and you kind of alluded to, you set yourself up at conferences to make sure that you meet the right people and something that I've also seen you do that you haven't talked about yet is the side events that you do. The dinners are one thing but you go kind of above and beyond those dinners – kind of talk that through so Fire Nation can get some ideas from the inside mind of Jordan.
Jordan: The basic idea is this: you're at a conference, there's a bajillion people, you want to get to know some other folks pretty well so a lot of folks are like, "Oh, let me invite a couple people to dinner." Good idea, however, what I've been doing is setting up dinners and even non-dinners. I like escape rooms and things like that and I'll set that up outside the conference. We'll find a place to do that and I'll invite a few people. But one of the things that I like to do when I set these side events up – Setting up side events is great, it works really, really well but, if you ask the people that you invite to bring one or two other people – and obviously to let you know in advance how many people they're going to bring and try to keep their group small – then you can do this really well.
So, if you invite four people and each of them gets to invite one more, you have kind of a big dinner but not totally unmanageable or you have a big escape room but not totally unmanageable. And, ideally, they bring someone that you haven't met yet so you could even say, "Bring someone that you think would want to be introduced to the group." So, even if there's a little bit overlap and you do know, maybe, the majority of the folks, there'll still be a bunch of new people and you get to hang out with the people that you wanted to invite in the first place.
So it becomes very good because, at conferences, what a lot of people don't want to do is they don't want to go, "Oh, yeah, I'll go out to dinner with you even though I already know you and the other two people going." They want to meet new people so you kind of let them merge one other person that they want to meet into the group, that way, they don't have to plan the event, they don't have to worry about logistics, and the carrot for the person they're inviting is, "Yeah, I'm going out with these four other people and this guy Jordan's organizing it," so it's not just, "Oh, you want to go do something with me?" They get to invite someone into that group and it makes them look good that the other person's interested in going. So it's really a win on all fronts – you get to hang out with your friends, you get to meet new people, and every person that's new gets brought into the group and gets to handle that as well.
And then, at the dinners, instead of just kind of sitting down and doing this, when I run things, I like to have something where I'll ask the group a question like, "Hey, what's the first-time you guys got arrested?" This is a bunch of good people with businesses, and kids, and stuff, and they're like, "I've never been arrested," and I'm like, "Yeah, you've been in trouble with the police at least once in your life – literally everybody has. Right? It happens, even if you're 14." And you start hearing about how some straight-edge professional speaker that's graced thousands of stages got arrested in high school for smashing people's pumpkins on Halloween or something like that.
And it just ends up being hysterical because good people, for the most part – currently good people, I should say – their stories are usually pretty silly. Or, "What physical ability do you have that nobody else can do?" and you'll find people can wiggle their ears or flip their eyelids inside out. And you're looking at someone who's got grandkids and they're like, "Hang on, let me show you this," and you're like, "Oh my god, we don't want to take you to the hospital." So you got to be careful with what you do but the stuff ends being really funny instead of just like, "Tell me about your business. Oh, that's interesting. Here's what I do. Here's a business card." You end up making it informal and fun and people go, "Oh, yeah, that dinner that we did with those people was super funny," or, "Oh, yeah, remember when we did that escape room with those guys? That was super cool and weird and I haven't done one since." That stuff makes it more memorable which makes you more memorable so it works out really well.
JLD: So the problem with not doing what Jordan's talking about, Fire Nation, is sometimes you get to these dinners and you're excited because you're like, "Oh my god, all these great people are going to be there," – and they are – but then you sit down and you just end up talking to the person next to you the whole time.
JLD: And, guess what? That person's probably cool and awesome and you probably had a solid conversation but there might be 10 or 15 other amazing people at that dinner – why not include everybody in all the conversations so that we can all benefit? Don't be afraid to play musical chairs and say, "Okay, everybody, I know you're in the middle of a conversation but get up, move three seats to the left or this way, whatever," and just mix things up to make it more fun.
And I have a quick story about your asking personal questions. I think this might make some of you squirm, Fire Nation, I'm not sure, but I did a little MasterMind up in San Francisco about a year and a half ago – maybe two years, now – and I'll tell you – because Andrew Warner is just so good at doing what you're talking about, Jordan – he's a natural. And we all got together at this dinner and it was Jadah Sellner from Simple Green Smoothies, Tim Ferriss, Scott Dinsmore, Rick Mulready, Greg Hickman, myself. And we were just hanging out and we were having some fun and then Andrew just kind of leans in and he goes, "Alright, everybody's having their own conversations, I know, but I want everybody to go around and talk about your first sexual experience." And we were just all like, "What? We haven't even got appetizers yet." It came out of nowhere, everybody blushed, and we're like, "Are we really going to talk about this right now?"
And I will say that he pushed it, and we did, and it was just this really interesting experience to kind of open up the rest of the night like we're all now like best friends from high school and we all knew things about each other, and it was this and that. And it was kind of this really kind of squirmy question that he had to really be bold to do but it was a game changer for the night. So, Fire Nation, I'm not saying ask that question – Andrew Warner, he's a pro, he's got 1,000 episodes under his belt – but the reality is that you can find a question maybe a little more PG that opens things up and have some fun. And, speaking of PG, Fire Nation, we are going to thank our sponsor so don't you go anywhere and we will be right back.
[Audio pauses and resumes]
So, Jordan, we're going to end strong here, as we always do and, again, you've just crushed the number of conferences. Can you maybe talk about one story that you have from a conference – you don't have to use names if you don't want to – but conferences that you've been to in the last year or so that you really liked for any number of reasons and how you successfully did this so we can start to really put some real experiences with your strategies?
Jordan: At a recent conference in San Diego, I did organize an escape room with – because my wife loves, loves these – we've gone to almost 100 around the world.
JLD: And let's explain that to just if someone doesn't know what –
Jordan: Oh, an escape room? Yeah, yeah, of course. Sorry, I've done so many I forgot it's not something a lot of people do. So, basically, these are popular – it's basically trying to make a video game experience in real life so it'll be like, okay, you're trapped in this mafia don's bar and you've got to get out because you're trying to find evidence for a federal agent or something like that. So you've got to escape but you've also got to get evidence. And you're in a bar and it's like there's a menu and the menu numbers are a code that you've got to decipher. And then you're searching the place and there's different color liquids and, when you mix them together, they change to a certain color and then that amount of liquid is the weight that you've got to put on the scale and you put it on the scale and it opens up the cash register and there's a certain amount of cash in there that's a code for a lock on a safe and so forth.
And so it's really interesting and it's really fun and you've got to use brainpower but it also – people's competitive nature comes out but you want to help – you're all on a team, you're not really competing – so you're competing against the clock. So people who handle stress poorly and stuff, their true colors come out but everyone's having fun because you've activated all these kind of primal urges in people rather than, "How long is this dinner because I'm getting tired?" type thing.
And she organized this and we had people in there that really didn't want to go. They were kind of like, "Oh, I guess." They wanted to go to dinner. They tried to bail on the escape game. We talked them into going and it was really hard and we made it out and, at the end of it, the people who didn't want to go were like, "Hey, are there more of these? I want to do more of these." And we did another one the next day and then we got them hooked on it. And what was really interesting about this was, if I'd been at dinner with this same group of people, everyone was tired. Before we left, so many people were like, "Yeah, we're this close to not coming. We're exhausted. How long is this?"
And you know you hear people in groups mumble like, "Oh, I don't know if I want to do this," or, "Can we leave early?" And people were even asking during the instructions, "I may have to leave early because I'm just not super – I'm pretty tired. Is that possible?" and they're like, "I guess." At the end, everyone's like, "Let's go for a drink. I want to talk about what you guys saw versus what I saw." And the next day, at this conference, we were all high-fiving in the hallway – because you make a team name. And I all still remember all those people – I guarantee you they still all remember this.
JLD: Of course.
Jordan: And we're all even texting like, "Oh, are you going to the Con next year?" "Yeah, we got to do an escape game." "Oh, I heard they have a new one." So you build these little subteams of people that you've never met before and it's actually quite powerful because it's just so much better than an icebreaker or, "Yeah, we got lunch at this conference, now we're best friends," which is, obviously, not how that works." So it was just a really very interesting interested group and you can turn even the most sort of bah humbug folks into fans. Maybe not an escape room, but find something other than a meal. Meals are easy. If it's your first time, try a meal. The next time, try mini-golf – that's my other one, I'm happy to share these with you – so mini-golf, escape rooms, I love them. And, if you hear of a group going to do mini-golf at a conference, you better look for me. I'm probably there.
JLD: Jump on-board. Yeah, speaking of that, if it happens to be in San Francisco, we actually did that as well afterwards. Shockingly, this was Andrew – are you and Andrew secret best friends? Because he's like, "Let's go to this indoor miniature golf course." It was so cool. It was actually funded by a Kickstarter campaign and there are 18 holes and every one was created by these engineers – these aeronautical engineers. It was crazy what would happen. The amount of work that went into one hole was like, "Wow. This is what a miniature golf experience was meant to be like." And, again, that was two years ago – I can picture every hole, essentially, and what happened when you got the hole in one because you hit the right levers, crazy fun stuff.
And, Jordan, I feel like every time I'm on your show – you've had me on a few times – about a year ago, you had me come on so I could talk about setting and accomplishing goals and I mentioned the Freedom Journal and the Kickstarter campaign I did then. And then, just recently, you had me on to talk about the Mastery Journal which is my next project about mastering productivity, discipline, and focus in 100 days. I'm not going to lie – I'm an entrepreneur, I'm a business guy, I have products, I have services and I promote them and I sell them – but I never feel like, when you come on my show, that you have anything to talk or to promote. And I'm not trying to force you to do that but what's going on in your world?
Jordan: Yeah, I just love getting people listening to the podcast because we talk about persuasion, influence, mentorship – things like that – all the time. I live, eat, and breathe attraction science, body language, nonverbal communication so I just love getting people on-board with that. We have our school in LA where people come in from all over the world to learn this stuff directly from us during our kind of week-long residential programs but I just figure, look, it's a privilege to address your audience – you've got a lot of people who are interested in moving forward – and, rather than be like, "Go buy this thing from me right now," I'm just like, "Look, you're already listening to a podcast. Search for The Art of Charm or go to theartofcharm.com and check it out."
I guess, if I got to pick something, I would say they can text the word "charmed" – C-H-A-R-M-E-D to 33444 and we have a 30-day challenge which is fixing up your nonverbal communication, getting you out of your comfort zone a little bit, and creating networking connections for business and personal reasons. And that's texting the word "charmed" to 33444 in the States or just go to theartofcharm.com/challenge and you can sign up for that. And it's fun – it's really fun. I'll just throw that out there.
JLD: Fire Nation, you're the average of the five people you spend the most time with. You've been hanging out with JH and JLD today so keep up the heat. And head over to eofire.com and type "Jordan" in the search bar. His show notes will pop up as well as his other show notes page from the last time he was on, 430 episodes ago. So, if you want to hear more about his story, his worst moment, his lessons learned, his a-ha moment – that light bulb that happened in his head and how he took action on that – and, of course, the lightning rounds, it's all there as well. So just type "Jordan" in the search bar.
By the way, I have the best show notes in the world – and I'm talking with Jordan on the line here, I'm proud enough to say that – these are timestamps, there are links galore, Fire Nation, but don't forget to head over to theartofcharm.com/challenge or just text the word "charmed to 33444 to start that 30-day challenge. You won't regret it. And, Jordan, thank you, brother, for sharing your journey, your story, your insights, your strategies with Fire Nation today. For that, we salute and we'll catch you on the flip side.
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