Community in the tech space flourishes because of the industry’s dedication to relationship building – we are more than machines, right?
The teams at Objective Paradigm and Talution Group are always looking for new ways to meet people face-to-face and grow our network. Whether an event is across the globe or across the street, here are a few of the things that we keep in mind as we look to maximize our networking opportunities.
#1 – COMMIT
You will get the most out of an event that you are committed to and prepared for.
This one is the easiest. You are either in, or you are not. Being ‘in’ and fully committed to a networking event includes rsvp’ing, researching sponsors, guest speakers, the venue – give them all a follow on social media, and while you are at it, set a goal. Event goals can range from a specific business objective like filling a critical position at your company to getting some real advice on office real estate in Chicago’s loop…psssst, having fun counts as a goal too.
Remember, the more you know about the industries represented and companies in attendance, the easier your conversations become.
- If you rsvp yes, show up
- Be on time & be present
- Do your homework
- Get to know people & organizations
- Send a Thank You message to the host
- Live Tweet about it
#2 – GIVE BACK
Giving back to your community is a ‘win’ whether you are making business connections or not. Teaming up with other tech or industry groups for causes you are mutually supportive of equals an instant bond!
Many non-profit organizations host events – get involved by working with other volunteers to plan and prepare for everything from food drives to foot races. Consider sponsoring galas and other formal non-profit events; in addition to raising critical funds, many of these events honor members of the community and are an inspiring way to support a great cause.
Don’t forget to offer up your skills where applicable – your expertise and mentorship to non-profit leaders and those they serve can make a huge ongoing impact.
You can give back in various ways – check out The Culture of Giving Back in the Tech Community from the OPrecruting.com news room for more ideas.
GIVING BACK SNAPSHOT:
- Invest time in charities and youth – set great examples
- Inspire others
- Apply your expertise
#3 – HELP OTHERS GROW
Find out where your advice can lead to long-lasting business relationships that lead to others’ success and help them grow.
Knowledge and experience are your gift to building and growing your network. Help others build theirs. That’s right, someone took the plunge and was your first client or first employee, and now it’s your turn. By actively participating in industry meet-ups and supporting local associations, your network is sure to grow. We have grown ours through hosting various technology-specific Meet-Ups along with our company’s active membership in the Illinois Technology Association (ITA).
The Human Resources Management Association of Chicago (HRMAC) has also provided a great platform for networking and relationship building. This group takes up a good amount of time, but it is tremendously rewarding. I am enjoying my second year as the Co-Chair of the Talent Acquisition committee with HRMAC where I get to interface with many talented HR and Recruitment professionals. As a team, we choose some of the most relevant topics to present on and then call on experts in the Chicagoland area to join and moderate our panels.
Lastly, perhaps the most fun of all my personal networking efforts is when I get to engage with some of Chicago’s most influential Venture Capital firms. Over the years, we have gotten to know some of them very well and more importantly, them us. Several of our growth stage clients were introduced to us from associates within this community. While it took years to establish the friendship and trust here – it has been most rewarding.
HELPING OTHERS GROW SNAPSHOT:
- Teach & train
- Leverage public speaking opportunities
- Go out of your way to make introductions and connect people – even if there is no immediate benefit
Networking is everywhere, full of energy and always ready to welcome new people. There are many ways to maximize your time and efforts – remember, networking is just a vehicle for relationship building.
Ryan Pollock is a Founder, President and Managing Partner at Objective Paradigm and Talution Group. For more from Ryan on HR, Recruiting and working in the tech space, follow him on Linked In.