Networking – No one is interested in everything
This week, Walid O. El Cheikh shares his perspective on effective networking.
The key to efficient networking is preparation, timing and understanding the target audience.
In my opinion, the most common mistakes of a networker are 1) having a shaky pitch, 2) approaching people at the wrong time or approaching the wrong target audience, and 3) talking more than listening.
Perhaps, most importantly, remember that no one is interested in everything!
When meeting investors, buyers or managers in events or conferences such as Slush, networkers should take the most advantage of the receiver’s readiness to listen to an obscene amount of pitches, while at the same time asking them the relevant questions and listening to their answers. Preparing a pitch is crucial simply because it is the message that will make or break the conversation. It must be the base for all communications.
Customising the pitch is even more important since networking is about meeting many people. And people are different. My recommendation is to create interesting pitches that could range from eight seconds to one hour.
The ideal scenario is to engage the listener within seconds, but, most importantly, the ultimate goal of a networker should always be to convert the seconds into hours. This requires practice, confidence and patience from the networker. The networker should focus on getting more time with the recipient over coffee, lunch or in a meeting room, and not rushing them to make instant decisions.
Finally, it is highly unlikely that someone will succeed in all their networking attempts, so it is okay to be sometimes rejected. And while at it, a networker should be themselves and give others a chance to get to know them.
People tend to outlive their business ideas, so try to be as humanly memorable as possible.