Guest post by: Aurora Klæboe Berg, Dirtybit
In this guest post Aurora Klæboe Berg, Business Developer at Dirtybit writes about the power of networking and her personal tips for becoming an effective networker. DirtyBit, the Norwegian mobile game company has had great success with their real-time multiplayer game Fun Run.
Through my sales work for a previous start-up in Norway and Boston, and as Business Developer for Dirtybit, I have used networking as a tool to get in touch with specific people, companies or industries. In Silicon Valley we were able to use networking to, among other things, getting introduced to someone at Apple who is working with games at the Apple App Store.
First and foremost, I must have a clearly defined goal for attendance at networking events, which can be anything from conferences to meet-ups. If there is a list of participants to the event, I go through it to see if there is anyone relevant for what we are trying to achieve with Dirtybit. Then I do due diligence on those people to prepare a small talk while I learn their name and faces.
If there are name tags at the event, I write e.g. “FUN RUN” on mine. This makes the tag eye-catching and also creates an icebreaker for people I talk to. Many people approach me to ask what Fun Run is, or some because they have heard the name before or have played our games. The name tag should always be placed on your left side.
During the event, I try to mingle with as many people as possible. I always try to get the other party to talk about themselves and their own interests before I give my mini pitch. If my goal is to get an introduction to someone at Apple, I make sure to ask directly: “You don’t happen to know someone who works at Apple?”
It is wise not to spend a lot of time with only one person. You should move on when you feel that you’ve received the information that is relevant to you. Norwegians often feel that ending the conversation is hard. My tip is to end by thanking the person, exchanging business cards, summarize potential follow-ups, and wish him or her future success. I list all keywords from the interaction on the business card I receive. After the event I add most of the people I spoke to on LinkedIn. Then I write a short personal message together with the invitation, and mention any follow-ups that we might discussed. That way, I increase the likelihood that they remember me if they suddenly should come accross someone who can bring us closer to our goal.
I want to wrap up with emphasising on follow-up with your connections. Unfortunately there’s a lot of people with bad email habits and no inbox zero. Therefore it can be hard to get their attention due of their LIFO-email-stack. So don’t hesitate to send a nice reminder if there is no answer within a week.
Good luck and network on!
- Specific goal: Individual, company or industry
- Due diligence on participant list
- Create an eye-catching name tag
- Ask: “Do you know anyone who works at Apple?”
- Share business cards
- Summarize any follow-ups
- Write short keywords on the business card you receive
- Add on LinkedIn: Personal message + any follow-ups. Send a reminder if necessary.