Effective networking while at an event

*This post was inspired by an “effective networking” panel appearance I had at the AccelerateAB conference

Networking – the type you do when building relationships – rather than connecting wires and routers – is an investment.  Time spent building these relationships pays dividends some time after the investment is made.  Right or wrong, business is often done with your friends and people you know and trust.

I’m not going to quantify the value of this investment in this post but rather make a fe w notes regarding things you can do while at a networking event.

1.  Resist your introverted temptation to stay at home and hack.  It truly does pay off.

2.  The goal of the event is to go home with a handful of contacts that you genuinely want to go for lunch or beer with … not a pocketful of biz cards from faceless names.

3.  Ask them “what’s your story,” rather than “what do you do / where do you work?”

4.  Stay in touch with Facebook rather than linkedin.  Facebook allows you to start building a real relationship with someone.  Linkedin allows you to view their resume.  Nuff said.

5.  Humility goes a LONG way.  No one wants to get to know the blow hard know it all.

6.  Have a story and passion, even if you’re faking it.

7.  If you can get em to talk most … you’ve won.  That’s like dating women.

8.  Organize an event (poker night, pub crawl, tech talk).  People will come to YOU and think of you as someone who has their sh$it together.

9.  Share your thoughts on their business, connect them with others that may help … but dont try to solve everyones problems.  Face it … you’re guessing just like they are (and everyone else in the room.)  If you do try … you WILL be that blowhard know it all.

10.  Recognize Malcolm Gladwell’s Mavens.  Get to know them, their value and network can literally be 1000X anyone in the room.

11.  But don’t ignore the geek in the corner of the room.  They could be your best contact you’ve ever made.