Hard to believe, but networking is still an underestimated success factor for founders. Networking events are part of daily business in the startup scene – and rightly so. Contacts open doors. Advocates and vitamin B bring more than the perfect vita. Not to forget the synergies and opportunities for cooperation that open up here. But proper, targeted networking is a thing in itself. Here are our top 5 most important networking rules.
Relax and be yourself
Pretending is rarely a good solution. Only those who feel comfortable in their own skin also appear likable. So there’s no point in dressing up just to make a good impression. Freshly showered and combed is enough. On the other hand, it shows little authenticity to put on the uniform Berlin startup style, i.e. hooded sweatshirt plus hipster beard and horn-rimmed glasses, on Krampf. If that’s not really your thing – yes: so what? Be yourself. Because that’s the best way to flirt. The networking event is nothing more than a blind date – just without kissing.
Get to the point – be ready – make your pitch
Set yourself a specific goal before the event: How many contacts would you like to make that day? How do you want to bring your idea to the man? Then prepare yourself and get to the point. Anyone who spends hours lecturing about their CV and plans will perhaps stick in someone’s memory – or bore them to death.
Instead, you should be able to focus on the essentials. So always be ready for the elevator pitch . 30 seconds – and go. Important: Pick up your contact directly – on an emotional level, with rhetorical questions, with pictures, comparisons and very important: with simple language. There are still some who believe they can impress with fluffed up, stringed together foreign words and startup speech. But even if the release is financed from the current cash flow after the proof of concept and the first fundraising successes promise an early break-even point, it is much more sympathetic to formulate it clearly and to the point.
Communicate at eye level
Don’t be afraid to talk to industry giants, journalists, or potentially important investors. It’s completely natural if you’re excited, but also consider: Your conversation partner has also started at the beginning and can empathize with your situation. Instead, concentrate on what you have achieved so far, your strengths and your goals: how to be remembered, make new contacts, be invited to the pitch.
But: Stay realistic and don’t exaggerate: even if you are 100% convinced of your idea and assume that you have the world’s best product in the drawer. With choice of size and sentences like “We are the new Twitter” you only trip yourself up.
Me, me, me – this is boring
Anyone who only talks about themselves and their ideas and plans forgets the actual purpose of networking events – and misses a lot. After all, you are here to “get to know” new contacts. You would like to explore possible similarities and cooperation opportunities. So take a break and give your counterpart a chance to introduce themselves. Of course, if you listen carefully, you will also learn something. So don’t talk without a period and comma. Listen, ask questions and benefit from the industry know-how, which is useful in most cases, and the experience of your conversation partner.
Of course networking is important. If you don’t go outside, you can’t expand your network. However, if you dance at every wedding, you no longer get to the essentials: your own business. Instead of taking every startup event, no matter how insignificant, concentrate on your goals. And plan a few months in advance: three to five events that fit into your agenda are quite enough.
Also Read: How To Make A Business Plan In 7 Steps