The tech industry offers a number of great opportunities for networking, making connections, and sharing best practices. There are various community and meet-up groups in cities all over the globe, meaning you’re more than likely to find something that suits you regardless of your role, industry, company size or level. However, it’s important to remember there are certain do’s and don’ts for networking at tech events.
As we’ve previously mentioned, the tech community is always ready to share experiences, knowledge and skills. Many people we have spoken with through our multiple Q&A series, make a point of mentioning the fantastic community that a career in tech provides.
Networking at these events will allow you to make meaningful connections with new people, as well as reconnecting with familiar faces. However, sometimes networking can be easier said than done, so we’ve outlined a few ‘do’s and don’ts’ which will help you to become a networking pro.
Prepare your pitch. Be concise and accurate when describing either yourself or your business. Make sure to engage the person you’re speaking with from the get-go and make your conversations memorable.
Stand up tall. There’s no benefit to sitting in the corner by yourself. Don’t be afraid to speak to people around you. Chances are, they’re just as nervous as you. Ensure you work on your posture and smile, and don’t be afraid to get noticed.
Questions, questions, questions. Anticipate the kind of people you’re likely to meet based on the topic of the meet-up or event. Before you’re due to attend, have a think about what you’d like to ask them or what you want to learn from them. This way you have some structure to your conversations – helping you to be less nervous.
Patience is key. Don’t expect to reap the rewards of networking immediately. Attending just one event, won’t ensure that you’ve made lasting relationships with your peers. Use your personality to develop a rapport with your peers, this way people are likely to remember you and it gives you an excuse to contact them to arrange a more formal meeting at another time. Combine professionalism with personality
The 2 L’s: listen and learn. As much as it’s important to talk about yourself and have questions to ask, it’s also key to take the time to really listen to the people you speak with and learn from their experiences.
Be afraid to ask questions. Asking questions will make you appear interested and engaged, not ignorant as many people might be afraid of if they ask too many questions. Many people, especially in the tech community, will relish the opportunity to share their knowledge and expertise, so make sure you ask as many questions as you need to in order to learn.
Overdo it on the self-promotion. This tactic is definitely more likely to annoy the people you speak with rather than provide valuable conversations and build long-standing relationships.
Overindulge on the freebies. As tempting as it might be to tuck into the free bar and give yourself a little confidence boost, always remember not to overdo it and keep it at just the right level. The same goes with food, you don’t want to come across as the person that attends meet-ups just for the free food and drink.
Be selfish with your own knowledge. Always go to these events armed with your best pieces of advice and any learning curves you can offer your peers. Never expect to get something without offering anything in return. Think about what you can offer in return at these events.
Forget to follow up. This one is key! Don’t play hard-to-get, business contacts need nurturing in order to build long-standing and rewarding relationships. Also, what’s the use of meeting people if you don’t get in touch afterward?
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again, it’s important to attend as many events as you can in this ever-expanding community. At your next event remember to practice some of these do’s and don’ts to ensure you’re a networking pro. However, always remember to be selective and try to only attend those events that you believe will teach you something and benefit your career.
Finally, remember networking is all about developing strong, long-standing relationships with your peers in the tech industry and this, naturally, can take some time. But you certainly won’t regret investing the time to foster these relationships. These people can help you to develop your career and teach you things you may not have learned on the job or through study.
If you’re looking for a tech community meet-up and are based in London, Germany or New York, check out our Eventbrite page and come along. We’re always happy to see new faces and offer events on a range of topics.
For a confidential conversation about your tech career, and to hear about our latest roles, get in touch with our specialist consultants today!