A few easy questions to start and end a conversation
Networking is daunting when you don’t know where to start. The most important think is to be curious about the people you meet. Perhaps they aren’t the perfect connection, but maybe they know a restaurant you should try in a new part of town or they know someone else that could be of help to you. There are some basic questions you can use to get over the first conversation at an event.
Everyone else is there to network as well, but it’s hard to make the first move. I usually scope the whole room, then make it to the bar or food area – you can always use a drink or appetizer menu as an icebreaker, then dive into more professional topics.
My favorite way to start is:
What brings you here tonight?
Ask them if they’ve been to an event like this before: Example Women 2.0
Have you been at a Women 2.0 event before?
To keep it going…
How are you involved in tech?
Do you have a startup?
Are you new to the area? (This way you get their history)
The conversation will take off and you'll want to hang out, or if you need an exit or if the conversation has a lull.
Have you met any other interesting people here tonight?
They’ll point you in the direction of someone interesting or you’ll have a way out of the conversation.
“….Great, I'd love to check in with them. Thank you for pointing them out to me. It was very nice to meet you.” And you walk away.
"Ok, I'm going to see who else I can connect with here. It was very nice to meet you.” And you walk away.
There you have it. Go try it out!
Don't fall for FOMO
There are an incredible number of great events coming up in the cleantech space in the Bay Area over the next few weeks - so many that it's almost overwhelming. It's possible to triple booked at least once a week!
As I'm putting the list of events together, I can't help but have a Fear of Missing Out (FOMO).
The solution: Have a game plan.
When I see my calendar becoming impossibly full, I ask myself some questions:
What would I get out of this event?
Am I going the event to meet a certain type of person?
How is this event different from others?
It's much better to go to one event with a purpose than bouncing from one event to another without making any connections. Be judicious with your time and energy!
Stay in touch. I send out an email once in awhile.