So you want to grow your network and are prepared to travel for it – or the other way around – you are travelling to a remote place and you see this as an opportunity to network and grow your base.
You will be town for a day or two, maybe a week maximum, and you want to see how to find the right people and the right event to get on your agenda and make the best out of your trip.
This article is for you.
What I will cover here is just how to prepare the networking itself – filling up your agenda – not necessarily the logistics of travelling or using your travel as part of building your brand – that will be for an other article.
This is also not an article on sales technics. If you do not know how to approach people, check this article.
Ok, back to our concern, filling up your agenda.
Stripped down to the bare essential, you need to:
- Find interesting events – signup and go there and meet interesting people
- Find interesting people and set up a meeting with them
Find interesting events
Define interesting first.
Once you know what interesting looks like, translate into keywords.
Entrepreneurship, design, Startup, Tech or anything that you are into, be it social activists gathering, or business breakfasts for HR leaders, just find your thing.
Then go to a place where you can look for events:
Just check which one works best for your needs. Meetups are pretty common in most area I have checked, closely followed by EventBrite, but I have had nice surprises on Facebook too.
Doorkeeper seems to be hot in japan. Funzing have a surprisingly good hebrew interface, Citysocializer is a more about big towns in the world. Reddit has a bunch of local subreddits for towns.
Whatever site you want to use, just pick a few events to go to, and use this as an opportunity to shake some hands and get a feel of the place.
Now that let’s keep filling up the agenda with some in-person meetings.
For this part, you need interesting individuals (I will leave you to decide what interesting means.)
So here are some tips on how to get to them:
1. Reverse engineer your events
In the previous steps, you have selected a bunch of events you like, right? Well, chances are that, depending on the even site you used, that you can see who else is coming at this event, or even who is coming regularly.
In which case, grab yourself a coffee and let the digging start:
- check the profiles
- google their names
- find them on linkedIn, or on twitter
- maybe they have personal website with a contact form
- or they work at some place and you can contact their secretary…
Then get in touch with them, present yourself and ask for a coffee.
2. Ask for introductions
Introductions can be awesome. You can ask people you know, but you can also use twitter to reach to some people you know have a large network and they will simply retweet your request and some people will reach out to you.
You might be surprised…
3. Use the company registers
Depending of the kind of people you are looking to meet, checking the company register of the area can be a good idea if you want to find founders or CEOs of companies within your vertical.
Obvious, but under-used. Just go to advanced search, and select the place in which you are searching.
Again, here I am not giving you much help on how you can sell them why they should meet you, and I know it can be hard to figure out how to approach people, but really you should keep it simple and say straight what you want from the go and if they are cool with that, then they’ll meet.
It does not have to be super complicated – you are in town and you want to meet interesting people, you like their company, or their book, or the industry in which they operate, and you want to have lunch with them or get to know more their company or their ideas on something or whatever… just be you and meet people who will take you as you are.
If you really need some help, check these out:
- 10 ways to approach strangers on twitter
- Networking guide for bloggers
- How to approach people on LinkedIn
A few more tips
1. Don’t forget to send a confirmation the same day or the day before
We all get busy, and forget things from time to time. A quick email/tweet to tell them you cannot wait to meet them will be appreciated for sure.
2. Be the one who move
Avoid setting up meetings where you have to wait for someone to join you at some place. It is better if you are the one who comes to them. Find an excuse to pick them up, or meet them at their office, this kind of things.
This will just prevent you from getting dumped. Because people get lazy, and skip meetings. They just do. Why getting out in the cold if they can just forget about you and keep doing what they are doing anyway. Nothing personal, just more convenient this way. But if you are the one to meet them, they don’t need to leave the warm environment of their office and you increase your chances of not being cancelled.
Of course it is not always possible to get such a set up nor is it always necessary but always good to keep this in mind.
3. Think about the day after
Networking is great but very often people do not keep in touch after they discuss, and not because they don’t want to, it is just not as much a priority anymore, life goes on and you forget.
Building a network takes time and require regular communication. This is why be ready for the follow up, simply thanking them the day after for giving you some of their time, either by email or on social media.
It is a simple thing to do. Just to do not forget to do it.
Not much more to say actually. You now know where to look for people and events, you even got a few links to tip you on how to introduce yourself.
Now, it is your turn to work. Take the time you need and fill up this agenda.
Of course, all this research and all this work is quite time-consuming, but hey, no pain – no gain.
Like you expected something else…