Networking Tips for Entrepreneurs

Jun 29, 2010 1,732 Comments by

Ten Tips on How to Make it in the Meet-up Scene

The technology meet-up scene is an odd co-mingling of entrepreneurs, engineers, social media mavens, service providers, and up and comers.  Here are ten actionable tips to make the most of your meet-ups.

Meet More – the key to any meet-up is first to meet others.  Seems like that would be rather self explanatory.   But inevitably most meet-ups end up resembling a junior high playground where the 3 people that know each other stay huddled in a corner, wondering why the other kids are having more fun.  The biggest mistake most folks make is that they don’t meet more new people. Make it your goal at every meet-up to approach 10 people you don’t already know.

Get Business Cards, Don’t Give Them – when you meet new important contacts don’t bother giving them your business card unsolicited, they’ll just end up in business card purgatory.  Do make sure to get their contact information and right then and there send them a follow up email, facebook/linkedin request, twitter shout out and you’ll meaningfully increase your odds of staying in touch.

Be the Connector – there is great value in positioning yourself as the person that can connect people at networking events and meet-ups. Take the time to introduce people that might be able to work together, are looking for jobs, or could be co-founders.   By positioning yourself as a connector at meet-ups you’ll find your professional/social credibility climbing steadily.

Do Favors for Others: the law of reciprocity dictates that people want to help other who help them. Most folks at meet-ups spend most of their time talking about themselves or seeing what they can get out of the situation. By being the person that focuses on helping others you’ll instantly stand out among the crowd and will build a bank account full of goodwill that you’ll be able to repeatedly withdraw from in the future.  For more on this watch my video on How to Persuade People

Make Sure Others Know What You Do – how many times have you left a conversation with a long winded person, still having no idea what they really do.   Make sure everyone you talk to knows what you do, and could easily explain it to anyone else at the meet-up.  Your goal is to have lots of people talking about you, and it starts by having others easily be able to communicate what you’re all about.

Social Proof is Key – don’t make the mistake of telling others how great you are, get other people to do it for you.   Having someone else at the meet-up point you out or suggest that you’re an important person to get to know, is infinitely more valuable than anything you could do to talk yourself up.

Don’t Talk to Anyone for Too Long – the purpose of a meet-up is to meet as many people as you can, and likely no meaningful business will get accomplished there. Your goal is not to have a very thorough conversation with one person, it’s to identify as many people as possible that you might be able to work or connect with in the future. Have lots of short, to the point, relevant conversations and you’ll open up the most opportunity.

Set Up Meetings Outside of Meetups – you can do everything right at the meet-up but if the connections end there, it’s all for not. Make sure to set up follow up 1 on 1 meetings where you can really sit down and get to know someone and build more meaningful relationships.

Be the Organizer – there is a lot more value being the organizer than the attendee, mostly because everyone knows the organizer.  It may be more work up front, but the professional dividends that pay out over time make it well worth it.

Don’t Spend Too Much Time in the Meet-up Scene – even a good thing can be taken too far.  Some folks seem to be at every meet-up and are always the last to leave, but don’t necessarily seem to be getting anywhere in their professional career.   If you find yourself associating with the same people at meet-ups time and time again, none of whom are making meaningful progress on a new venture or job, it might be time to do more doing and less meeting.

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How to Make it In the MeetUp Scene

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About the author

Jason is the Co-Founder and CEO of Docstoc.com, the premier destination to start and grow businesses, offering the best selection of documents and content resources. Jason is also the creator of Startups Uncensored the long running and most widely attended tech mixer in Southern California. Before starting Docstoc, he was a partner in a venture consulting firm in Los Angeles where he worked with dozens of startups. Jason holds a BA from UCSB and his JD/MBA from Pepperdine University, where he was the Student Body President of both Universities.

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