I got invited to a networking event in NYC this week. I decided it might be a good opportunity to gain “networking experience” and make some new contacts. I would not be representing the company I work for - Ill be representing myself. This event is geared towards starts ups and independent developers. I have some project experience that might be useful for projects in alternative energy/ engineering but I don’t have a particular project I am working on right now nor do I have my own “start up” (though that would be nice). Ive gone to networking events before through my University, though they were usually research presentations and networking was an afterthought. I have never been to an event dedicated to networking directly so I don’t know what to expect. Does anyone have any advice besides the usual dress nice, have a resume, etc?
My advice would be to avoid being a wallflower. No point in going if you aren’t willing to put yourself out there and actually make new contacts.
Don’t be afraid to speak your mind either. I know many people have a tendency to keep things to themselves for fear of looking stupid. Fuck that, no risk no reward.
However, I wouldn’t correct anyone if they’re wrong either… It’s a tricky balancing act.
I fucking hate networking, fwiw…
Good luck. I hope you get something out of it.
Thanks, it happened Tuesday night. The place had about twice as many people as expected so it was packed to the point where there was barely any standing room. Of course when I left (around 9pm) the Grand Central terminals cancelled all outbound trains due to a fire. I didn’t get home until about 4 am that night.
Overall the experience was valuable. There is a lot of potential in these networking events. I think coming prepared with presentations and a concrete idea or business pitch will get you the most success. Some people were “winging it” and you could tell - they had only vague ideas of what they waned to accomplish. As a result they did not come off as serious. Most of the participants were in the IT, healthcare, financials, or marketing fields. I met about 3 people who were in the hard sciences. I still managed to get the attention of quite a few people for not going out of my way to engage anyone (generally due to feeling shy since this was my first time and not finding many people in my field). I got about 5 business cards.
What I liked the most was the energy. There were a lot of young people putting themselves out there trying new things. Yes, some were cocky, but I respect that they are taking a chance and pursing their dreams. It was great to get away from a crowd who is OK with the status quo.
For anyone interested, Id say:
- come prepared with a specific objective in mind
- dress nice
- be confident but not cocky
- be approachable, don’t turn anyone away, but recognize you have a finite amount of time to network and you should seek out people that might maximize the likelihood of completing your objective
- Bring business cards, resumes, presentation, specific data to back up what youd like to do
- Have some liquor lol. I had 2 Gin and Tonics and 2 shots of Whiskey on the rocks over a 4 hour period.
- Don’t be judgmental. Give anyone a chance to convey their point. I was talking with someone who was nervous and unprepared. He clearly had some work to do but I gave him some of my time anyway, thinking that with some work and focus he could have potential. Later on that night he unexpectedly help me find an alternate route out of the city. Giving people a chance can pay off!
I’m glad it worked out for you.
That fire was crazy… Our corporate HQ is in the City and I know a lot of our folks had a rough travel day as well.