A company may be an entity of its own without affiliation to any one individual but it is people who build great companies. To find great people who will build a great company, you need to meet lots of new people and interact with them. Networking comes in handy to help you meet potential partners, employees and others you could work with. So if you’re out to make solid business contacts, you are better off at a live event.Allow me to objectify networking; making the contacts that you’re going to need in the future. And networking at events becomes essential if you’re a startup or looking to startup. Here are 7 tips for effective networking for you:
1. Stop being shy
Indian’s and more specifically techies are painfully shy! Relax! The best bit about these events is that everybody is here to network; they want to meet people like you because you want to meet people like them! So loosen up, wear your best smile and say Hi! Besides, what’s the worst that can come out of it; no one is going to penalize you for talking to them!
So don’t let your shyness come in the way of the contacts that your business deserves!
2. Don’t be intimidated
Being shy is the first problem. The next one is getting intimidated. There is no need to get intimidated because you are a student. Entrepreneurs have larger than life images so that might add to you getting intimidated especially as a student. As long as you stick to being yourself and are open to conversations there is no need to feel intimidated. It may be easier said than done. So in that case, be a good listener. If you think someone else might know more or that you know less then make it an opportunity to learn more.
3. Don’t be fake
A lot of the time, people pretend to be people whom they’re not. This is usually because they’re trying to emulate someone whom they think is a good at making contacts. Remember, you are the best at being you! By being yourself, your mind doesn’t need to worry about how you’re speaking and can concentrate more on what you’re speaking.
If you’ve got an idea that you know is worth something, speak about it without insecurity; if the listener doesn’t like it, it doesn’t make your idea any less awesome. Be yourself and speak business, because 9 out 10 people can tell if you’re not being yourself.
4. Have a sales pitch handy
When asked about your business, you do not want to be found looking for words! Make sure what you say about your business to others conveys exactly what you’re doing. Beating around the bush and not being concise about your work, like everyone else, is not going to help in people remembering you!
Have a couple of sentences (rehearse it even), which explains what you do and why you do it. This saves people from assimilating your ummms and eerrrmms!
5. Have a business card
This might seem like a difficult proposition as a student. In the world of entrepreneurship, your business card is your identity. People remember your face by your business card. If you are serious about entrepreneurship then a business card is the first thing that you need to have on you.
6. Don’t be selfish
Yes, it is understood that you are networking for your business, but a certain level of empathy towards someone else transcends the line of being a contact and opens the gates to the realm of friendship. It is as important to listen as it is to talk. Furthermore, if you think you can help the other person, offer your suggestion to them. Don’t be condescending about their inferior knowledge (we all tend to do that), rather offer your help and expertise.
In the quest for objectivity, little attention is paid towards the intangible aspects of communication, but these soft skills are the X factors that set you apart from a mere contact to being a friend.
7. Maintain a relationship and follow up
Now that you have made a face to face contact, leverage the larger online networks to keep in touch and maintaining a relationship. Do not forget a person that you met at an event; you never know who your business will need! Find them on a social network and maintain a relationship with them. Make the contacts you made more than just a name on a visiting card and someone who can potentially be of help to you someday. An occasional ping or a phone call can do a world of good to your relationship with your contact.
These are 7 very basic points you should take care of. How about trying them out at Techsparks?