by Vadim Slavin
However, with so many events happening seemingly every day in Silicon Valley, attending more than a few every month can be taxing. How does one maximize the utility of these events? Here are 6 tips to taking better advantage of networking opportunities.
- Know Your Calendar. Sign up for various event digests and newsletters to be in the know of what is coming up. Then carve out the time, make the effort to show up, and plan out your strategy for getting the most out of these events.
- Know Your Goals. Know ahead of time what you need to get out of the event. What is your value and purpose? Simply expand your network? or do so strategically? Once you identify your goals, try setting the action plan for reaching those goals. How many people do you need to meet to find what you're looking for? How many business cards you want to give out which will force you to interface with more people? How many follow ups are you hoping to make so that you keep in mind the level of familiarity you need to have with a person after your conversation.
- Know Your ASK: If you do find the right person - do you have your pitch and your ASK ready? Prepare a short intro to introduce yourself: something concise, precise, and memorable. Also prepare a few opening moves: questions to engage the partner in an open communication. Because time is of the essence, you need to be able to quickly figure out whether the person in front of you is the one with who you need to create a closer relationship. This includes figuring out what your new friend is there for. Lastly, have your "ask" ready. What do you need?
- Know Your Names. Get ready to remember lots of names. Wear your nametag, get creative, and help others approach you and remember your name. Think of the times you got that warm fuzzy feeling when someone you don't know called you by your name? Did they remember you from your pitch? Were you interesting enough for them to make the effort of writing down your name? Sure, you soon realized you are wearing a nametag... yet the importance of hearing one's name is clear. "Remember Your Networking Contacts" may be a lecture worth attending.
- Know Your No's. How do you get rid of pesky networkers? Suppose that you come across that dreaded person who just can't seem to get the idea from your glances over their shoulder, your nervous disengagement from the conversation, your vague hints at suggestions to move on. Just as important is knowing when your new friend is trying to move on and is sending you subtle hints. We will explore specific moves in the next few posts.
- Know Yourself: Know your weaknesses. Are you an extravert or an introvert? Do you have trouble clearly stating your pitch? Practice it. Do you feel lost in a big crowd? Come early and get comfortable before scores of people arrive. Do you have trouble remembering people's names? Come to the next Startup Social Party to hear the lecture by the U.S. Memory Champion, Chester Santos - "The International Man of Memory". He will give a lecture titled "Remember Your Networking Contacts" - this will surely come in handy.
This is of course just the beginning. We here at StartupMonthly have designed our social networking events to help you with all of the above. Keep track of our networking events around the world and come say hello!
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