Business Networking : Up, close and personal
Networking is the much used word in the entrepreneurial circles (I am sure it is as common in all the other circles too). So while I attended the two-day NASSCOM event this year I made some interesting observations.First let me begin with myself to set the tone of this article. I feel and many around me feel that I am very good at networking! Not a bad observation given my ability to perpetually smile. But time, being a great teacher, has made me realise that actually I sadly lack the right skills for networking. For one, I get bored quickly. I have realised the futility to reach out to someone to whom I know I don't matter at all (after many rub downs you start to know). Of course many people around us have still not honed their body language, while they may be all charming talking to you, their eyes keep wandering in search of someone better and resourceful (though not a clairvoyant I can quickly detect this) and this puts me off immediately. And, adding to all this is when you see a sea of people around you, then you don't know whom to go to and everything becomes a musical chair.
Anyways let me move beyond and share my observations on networking.
I think most among us are always chasing mainstream media at events in the process making the few media guys feel on top of the world all the time (no offense to anyone here as I have had my share of been there and done that) and media is always looking for the next Big Story (which unfortunately you can't be!! if you are chasing media),point to ponder is then whom will they chase?
Birds of same kinds will always flock together in an event—the biggies will be with the biggies, the accented will be with other accented and then there will be the rest. How do you get to these few guys is the challenge of startups at most events. Also taking networking one notch higher is the closed door event within an event or by invite-only sections. Having witnessed one such event yesterday I realised such exclusivity makes networking for startups even more difficult and an unending pursuit to get invited.
Mentally Sorted Kinds - There are those who quickly scan the audience and do a mental mapping of who matters and who do not matter at the events, once they do this calculation they navigate smoothly.
The world will come to me kinds. There are few who are sure of themselves (and I am jealous of them), who know their self-worth and know that they have to just lift their eye brows and the whole world descend to them, so what do they do at events? Have their own den and people just follow there.
My oft-repeated question to my fellow entrepreneurs remained: Does networking at events help? Many answered yes. In the long run, you establish contact and eventually you work on it. Many said you get to meet a lot of people and it can do no harm, but then there is a bunch of new breed who have evolved into focused networkers. They come, they see and then they conquer. This breed is of most interest to me as they are the evolved specimens of skilled networkers.
One such lady entrepreneur I met yesterday ensured that by the end of one hour session she knew everyone that mattered, at least to her. She timed herself very well, pitched herself even better and circulated with utmost confidence. She was not mentally shy, intimidated with a vast gathering and was on a rampage.
Coming back to networking, I still believe in the good old world charm, a basic thank you and appreciation still makes me very happy, someone who treats everyone big and small with equal candour makes me even happier and someone who gives me undivided attention for atleast 5 minutes at events makes me go "wow."
While I go and brush my networking skills as I have my own event lined up on 23rd November, let me acknowledge NASSCOM Product Conclave for giving an opportunity to so many to network!!
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