Silicon Valley is home to more than a million inhabitants and numerous startups popping up every day. It is often said the key to success in this valley is to meet the right person. The right person for funding your start up or that perfect engineer to complete your team. We call this networking.
Networking events pop up all over the bay area. Which ones should you attend? What should you wear? Do I have the energy? Although I consider myself an extrovert, networking events can be a little intimidating at times. Don’t you think?
I wanted to know from one of the best, so I went to the Queen of networking (in my opinion), a lobbyist. Michele Wymer is a partner at Kyle House Group. Kyle house Group is an international business and government relations consulting firm. They specialize in strategic relationship building, political and commercial advocacy, strategic communications, policy development and analysis.
I know what you are thinking… she knows how to network and has been doing so in Washington, DC for over a decade so she is bound to have great tips. After meeting with her, these are the ones that stood out for me.
Network like a Lobbyist
Relationship building (networking) is personal, so leave your agenda at the door. Go into the event to learn something new about a subject and enjoy meeting new people who share a similar interest.
Have three questions on hand to break the ice.
- Are you from the area?
- What did you think of the speaker?
- Are you in this industry?
Wear something that makes you feel confident.
If you enter the night confident in your appearance you are more likely to engage naturally. My takeaway- Stay away from high heels if you don’t wear them regularly, Clarks has alternative options for those that want to look the part, but are not ready to pull off a pair of stilettos.
Bring your business cards and always give them away!
If you are running low order now.
How to move onto the next conversation without feeling like you are blowing the person off.
- Grab something to eat or drink
- The Ladies room
- Excuse me while I take this call.
- Introduce them to another person.
If you are truly interested do you still follow up for coffee?
Networking is about relationship building. Drop an email and let them know you enjoyed talking with them and would love to continue the conversation over coffee.
The one move that can ruin the evening for everyone? Scoping the room while you’re talking with someone. It is offensive and makes the person you’re talking with feel terribly unimportant. Give whomever you’re talking with your full attention – they will remember you and appreciate it and you will feel the same when someone pays you the same courtesy!
Michele is based in Silicon Valley California and heads up Kyle House Group’s west coast client services, although her clients span the globe!
No, I did not forget to ask her about those hot “political shows.” Her take on ABC’s Scandal, “I have never seen it but my friends recommend it. It’s on my summer watch list.” Netflix’s House of Cards, “PASS.” NBC’s The Blacklist “That is a good one”, but her favorite is CBS’s Madam Secretary.
Keep coming back, next week I will show you how I put these tips in action!