I've posted a fair few articles on the topic of how best to network, over the last year. Here's our "Thursday retrospective", focused on networking.
The best article to start with is by Nathaniel Whittemore, whose argument added up to the idea that good networking is about finding a way to help the person in front of you. If you take just one thing away from this retrospective, take the habit of always asking yourself "how can I help this person?"
Pascal Finette wrote a post last year admonishing networkers to always follow up. I couldn't agree with it more. Although sometimes it can feel like drudgery to sit with a pile of business cards trying to remember what exactly you discussed with this person, and was it after your fifth or sixth pint, it's really worth it to follow up every time. You never know what might come out of it.
One of the things that you might do while following up is check out someone's social profile. And others might check yours too, so this article about how to appear more trustworthy on social media might help those for whom social media are new and strange.
Charlie O'Donnell suggested some very good practical tips for building a strong personal network. This is essential reading if that's one of your key objectives. Adam Rodnitzky followed up with an important tip: network towards the middle; in other words, aim to meet people who are on the way up, rather than those who are at the top already.
Four guest posts last year also covered networking. Jacques Mattheij offered up some advice about how to network without actually leaving your house, Iqbal Gandham covered networking, among other techniques, in the context of systematic lead generation, Paulina Sygulska wrote a solid article with 8 key action points about how to network effectively, and Kevin McDonagh, who is really quite a relaxed and friendly guy in real life, revealed his step-by-step, methodical, reliable technique for making the most out of expensive conferences by having a solid approach and follow-up.
One of the uses for networking, before you've even started your business, is to meet potential business partners. Jeffrey Talajic suggested networking as one of the key steps to finding a technical cofounder, and David Alison found the same is true for finding a business cofounder. You might also meet potential mentors and advisors, so if you do go out to meet these types of people, leave your startup gung-ho at home - an honest description of your startup and its issues will elicit more useful advice.
Finally, if you network a lot, you'll spend a large part of your time pitching your ideas to people, so you might want to read my article on the principles of pitching, to make sure you hone that skill.
I hope you find at least one interesting article that you'd missed in the above list. Thanks for reading!
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