Startups · Entrepreneurship

How can you make the best out of a networking event?

Fatima Asad Freelance Writer at Freelance

September 10th, 2016

Many times I‘ve heard the best founders are the best networkers. Any tips on this front on how to make the most out of every single networking event?
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Chris Owens

September 10th, 2016

Fatima,

Good question, though the first thing to know is that the real WORK in networking happens AFTER the event, not at the event itself.  Unfortunately most people go to events, give their elevator pitch, collect and give out cards, go home and put those cards on the corner of their desk, maybe send out some Linkedin requests and that's it.  They stall right there.  But the follow-up is where a real network of valuable relationships is built.  Without that, you just have a contact list, not a network.

I actually write and speak about this subject quite a bit.  There are two specific blog posts of mine I'd recommend for you first, to help get you into the right mindset for being successful at this:

http://blog.lincsphere.com/2016/04/should-i-keep-this-persons-business-card-or-toss-it-understanding-why-you-network/

and

http://blog.lincsphere.com/2016/05/3-stages-networking-relationship/

And when you're ready to get your network of contacts and follow-up actions well organized, you might want to check out our app: www.lincsphere.com

Asier Azaceta Entrepreneur @techabout

September 12th, 2016

Hi Fatima (et al)

Regarding REAL networking I've greatly enjoyed @Christopher Owens answer and links, thanks Christopher, and I also agree with many other answers.
I guess networking is a very subjective issue and no matter what approach or tool you use, your millage may vary.
Though I'm not a great networker myself, I would, as others, summarize it as:
- Do you homework PREVIOUSLY
- Don't be shy but neither too aggressive, respect others time and space
- Follow up not thinking only about your 'sales' (maybe funding, maybe plain sales) but also about helping the other party and starting a relationship. Win-win relationships exists, really, they are not just buzzwords, but you have to work them out.

Trying to keep the sales pitch out of this post, we have built a product for helping in the previous phase and in the 'shyness' phase of networking at events. It's called Meetabout (http://www.meetabout.es/) and we have had surprising networking results. But then... you have to follow up... that's your work ;-)

Good luck.
Asier.

Michael Hartzell Entrepreneur, Addicted to "Yes" - When Everyone Wins

September 10th, 2016

Avoid random networking.  
Attend with intention. Your goal is probably related to:
Learn, recruit, support others in need, connect with prospects.

Elizabeth has great points about trade shows - which is full of networking opportunities:


If you attend a networking event where the attendees are made public in advance (such as on :Meetup.com or Eventbrite.com), you will have more effective convertsations by doing homework.

The most important part is..... follow-up.

The networking event master -
  1. Does the homework
  2. Attends with intent
  3. Follows up to continue conversations.
Networking is not just showing up and shaking hands. :)

Rochelle Kopp Japanese business culture expert and cross-cultural communications specialist

September 10th, 2016

This article has some good tips on effective networking, with a Silicon Valley focus   http://www.siliconvalleyspeak.com/?p=1129

Eula Ignacio --

September 10th, 2016

I heard this story from my professor in college before and base on my experience also. A rich man asking a poor man what he would do if he has a 200$. The poor man answer 200$ to buy a suit and coat and attend an event. The rich man is curious why the poor man would want a suit instead of food. the poor man answered that so he could build connection and connection is equal to building network. 

Dave Molander Authors and Educators to Families and Professionals- HeartfeltMemorialServices.com: Creating Meaningful Experiences

September 10th, 2016

My low tech way of organizing and storing business cards by category is with clear page protectors that are designed to hold business cards.

In the upper right slot I put a category idenifier card for that page, such as china sourcing.  All contacts that primarily deal with that go in that page.

Now many folks have a broad range id resources and connections. This is where I use my Cardmate card cutter to create blanks to include other areas that person can help me, my peers and the people i care about.  A relative of the contact may be the person i want to meet now or later for professional or personal reasons for my self or someone I care about.

I the course of a conversation it might be revealed that a primary hobby is Englisg sports care rebuilding. Now that is a unique bit of resource to keep track of and pass along to someone important to my journey.  I'll put that in my cars page.

Dave Savage - reource for inventors and proiduct developers in Atlanta.
If you're in the area, call me to arrange a visit.  DaveSavage.com 

Rod Abbamonte Co Founder at STARTREK / @startupHunter / @startupWay / @CoFounderFound / @GOcapital / @startupClub / @lastminute

September 11th, 2016

More important is the commitment, the real involvement. More important than know hundred of people is know well and establish a deep relation with some.

Keith Brooks Increasing B2B Engagement via Technology Evangelism ☆ Product Marketing ☆ Technology Evangelist ☆ Trainer

September 10th, 2016

Know your goals for the event. pre plan who you must find and talk to or just want to meet because you know them online only. practice your elevator pitch. don't waste their time. Also don't waste your time if you meet people who are not in sync with your need. Be nice and social to the people but you have an agenda to keep to.

Kennedy Brooks COO/CLO at Colbrook Kitchen

September 10th, 2016

Checkout Susan Roane s book "how to work a room" Thx. Kennedy@Colbrook.com M: +1.650.222.0903

A. Andrew Chyne

September 12th, 2016

Everyone can get the best out of every networking event. Here are few points that one needs to be aware:-

1. Introduce and interact but don't sell yourself or don't pitch your idea. 
2. Professionals and Investors attend a networking event to absorb knowledge but not to listen to ads or promotions. 
3. I would like to emphasize deeply on interaction. Nothing works better than interacting with people around you irrespective of the profile and designations that he or she is holding. 
4. Interact to attendees around you as any other guest because man by nature is a social being. Interacting with guests based on designations is a waste of time. If you are entrepreneur, I am certain that you won't like to play with time. 

Networking events keep on happening regularly and hence, there are always possibility of meeting more people. 

Good luck. 
"Interact but don't sell"