How to Network at SXSW
Are you at South by Southwest Interactive this weekend? It’s easy to have fun, but if you’re not sure how to maximize your time from a business perspective check out these tips from ReTargeter’s managing director of East Coast Operations, Jeff Riddle.
Always Go for the Meeting
Business cards rarely lead to business. Relationships lead to business. Always go for the follow up meeting in your interactions with potential customers. Its as simple as this: “How about we jump on the phone when the dust settles to discover if there are any synergies?” However, in order to get to a point where asking that question makes sense, you must first build a relationship.
Help Others Make Connections
“The fastest way to get what you want is to help others get what they want.”
Introduce people you meet to your own connections whenever you see a benefit. This is one of the easiest, most powerful ways to build value around your company and your personal brand. The added bonus is that humans are naturally inclined to reciprocate. If I say “Good morning”, youll respond “Good morning”. If I say “Good morning, how are you? youll respond, “Good morning, I’m great. How are you?” If you help people out by making introductions at parties or events, they will do the same for you when the opportunity presents itself.
As previously mentioned, the best way to get to business is to build relationships. The next step is to deepen relationships. When you meet people, be sure to ask questions, and really get to know the person. Don’t focus exclusively on business, and make introductions whenever possible. These few things will do the trick.
Focus on Others
The most powerful person in the room is the one who makes everyone else feel the best about themselves. You can make a splash by making sure people walk out of the room feeling like a million bucks! Focus on others rather than going on about yourself, ask questions, and get to know everyone!
Make Connections on the Fly
SXSW is not your typical networking event. You never know where youll meet your next important connection, so dont discount seemingly random interactions at food trucks, at happy hours and at parties. Those could turn out to be the strongest and most meaningful relationships you develop.
Be the Host with the Most
If you are hosting an event, make sure that everyone is included, taken care of, and feeling comfortable. Look for attendees who may not know anyone, walk right up, and introduce yourself. Have a conversation, get to know who they are, and make an introduction to other people who might benefit from knowing them. Presumably, anyone coming to your party knows and likes you. If they bring up how well your business is doing, feel free to ask them if there is anyone you should meet and add value to.
Do your best to add value in all your conversations and focus on making lasting connections. It all pays off in the long run. And if you are in Austin this weekend, don’t forget to look out for ReTargeter!