Sunday, February 28, 2010

Effective Networking Tip: Find The Odd Person Out

Here's an effective networking tip for events; talk to a person standing by themself.

I went to a party recently and a very famously angel investor named Ron Conway was there. Ron was surrounded by groupies and wannabe entrepreneurs. Could I get Ron's attention? Sure! What was the chance that I'd few meaningful minutes to myself with him? Nil. At that same party I met a guy in a suit standing by himself. I almost walked by him, but I decided to say hello; he liked that I introduced myself. It turned out that he was CEO of a startup that was hiring. We talked, hit it off, and then did business together.

It's actually pretty easy to get face time with high profile people at public events. My trick is to wait patiently in a room while a high profile person is being bombarded with attention, then I just follow them out when they finally decide to leave. I'll talk to them in elevators, on the way to their car, or sometimes even over beers. Not only do I get their attention, but they remember me because I talked to them alone and when they weren't expecting it.

Here in Silicon Valley, Guy Kawasaki is pretty well known and time with him is hard to get. So what's the best way to get his attention? Track him down when he's interviewing someone more famous! I just remembered this event in 2006 where Guy interviewed Steve Wozniak of Apple fame. At the end of the event, everyone was lined up to get Steve Wozniak's autograph, and I spent 20-30 minutes talking to Guy as he sat by himself on stage.

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