Background – My name is Mark Wayman and for the last ten years I have owned an Executive Recruiting company focused on gaming/casinos and high tech. This year I placed six executives north of a million dollars. My last article was titled “What Josh Altman (Million Dollar LA Listing) Taught Me About Networking.” I’ll give you the conclusion to the Josh Altman experience at the end of the article. Today’s focus is on one of my primary business principles for success – SHOWING UP.

The Godfather Sit Downs – Many years ago I started hosting mixers in Las Vegas, Los Angeles and Palo Alto. Invite-only for my friends, clients and business partners. Guest list is “C” level corporate executives, entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, entertainers. Exactly one purpose – for my friends, clients and business partners to meet each other. Exactly one rule – absolutely no selling, marketing, promoting of soliciting. Just an OPPORTUNITY to meet 70 high quality people at an attractive venue with no pressure or agenda.

The No Shows – The most interesting part of my private events is how many people DON’T show up! Yeah, yeah, yeah, we are all busy, but you miss out on 100% of the shots you don’t take. Someone once said that “good luck” is mostly hard work and showing up. By ducking out, you accomplish three things. First, you miss out on meeting new people and creating new relationships. Second, you miss out on any opportunities that might present themselves. Third, you may not get invited back!

No Shows for Charity Events – Especially disappointing are folks that don’t show up for charity events. On several occasions I had people drop out after I paid $1,000 for their seats. Mediocre people are “no show, no call”. Good people will give you plenty of notice and offer to donate to the charity. Let me tell you what “no call no show” translates to, “Our relationship is not important to me. You are not important to me.” And that, my friends, is a bad deal. The host gets offended and certainly does not strengthen the relationship. Ten years ago my mixers had a 20% “no show” rate. Today, 3% because the “no show no calls” don’t get invited back.

My Favorite No Show Story – One of my favorite stories is about a CIO event I hosted at Hollywood Park. Of the 30 CIOs on the guest list, only 15 showed up. The day after the event, two of the “no show, no calls” sent me resumes and asked for jobs. Seriously? I have never met you, you don’t show up for an hour to meet in person and shake hands, but you want me to place you in a $400,000 job? I love that strategy!

Acceptable Reasons – Obviously there are emergencies and valid reasons for not having to cancel. Here are a few good ones:

  • Sick or Medical Emergency – Completely understandable. Things happen, and family always come first. But being “tired” does not count. We are all tired; we are all busy. I once hosted and Oscar Party for the Arthritis Foundation with a 104 degree fever. Five hundred people were counting on me, so I dragged myself out of bed and honored the commitment. My wife once attended a dinner party when she was REALLY under the weather. She made the best of it and had hot toddies all night.
  • Client Related – For my entrepreneur friends, if you don’t sell…you don’t eat. This one I am intimately familiar with. If you own the business and need to focus on a client situation, that is perfectly acceptable.
  • Work Related – For my celebrity friends, if they get a paid gig…they are out. For my CEO friends, sometimes critical issues come up and as the #1 in the company, they need to give it their full attention.

Not so Acceptable Excuses – There are too many excuses to mention. I have seen and heard them all. Here are a few common ones:

  • I’m Too Important – Yeah, I don’t know about that. The folks at my event are high profile, highly successful, and in many cases, high net worth. If you don’t show up though, you will never know.
  • Too or Busy – We are all busy. I get 50 phone calls and 400 emails a day, however if I make a commitment to attend, I keep it. For my personal event, the value proposition of meeting 70 executives is HUGE. Where are you going to meet 70 high quality people, all in one place, and all in one night?
  • Bigger Name on the Other Line – This is a hot button for me. You made the commitment, and now you have a “cooler” offer. Personally, I don’t do that. If I say I’ll be there, I’ll be there. OK, maybe if Jesus calls, I will need to duck out, but not for anyone else.
  • Sounded Like a Good Idea at the Time – This is probably the most frequent excuse. And when I look at my guest lists, I can almost always pick out the ones that won’t show. They are the people that drive you crazy trying to get ON the list…then don’t show up. All I can say is you are going to miss out on many, many opportunities.

So Josh Altman and I were supposed to meet prior to my last Los Angeles event. He emailed me just prior and said he had another commitment. Don’t really know him, and I’m sure he had a great reason. That stated, he missed out on an opportunity to meet an executive with 5,000+ executives in his rolodex. Next!