As the founder and CEO of OneIMS and Clickx, Solomon Thimothy has built his career around his passion for helping other businesses grow an online presence and thrive in the digital world. Solomon works with clients big and small to develop uniquely customized and highly-effective marketing strategies that meet every company’s individual goals. Follow him @sthimothy.
Recently, YEC spoke with Solomon about his experiences networking and her advice for others aspiring to improve their own experience. His best advice is below.
Get in Front of as Many People as Possible
Give more than you can take. Get involved in as many things as possible. Meeting new people is key.
I used to go to as many national marketing events as I could. It’s a big undertaking. You have to fly somewhere, cancel plans and make schedule changes to fit the event into your week. But after many events, year after year, I kept going to them. I’ve made many great life-long relationships. I know all the tools and technologies that other companies were using. And I’ve done business with many of those companies since.
The No. 1 quality a successful networker can have is opening up to strangers. It’s obviously difficult for certain introverts to feel comfortable in these situations. But in networking, there’s no introverts or extroverts. You have to make great connections and that requires sharing things that are deeper than surface level. The more genuine you feel the connection is, the harder you want to work on retaining it.
Take It Slow
Go to any event where there are other like-minded entrepreneurs. It doesn’t have to be anything big or expensive. It can be a local meetup or a conference happy hour. It doesn’t take a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to meet great people. If you don’t know of any meet ups, then go to any and all conferences related to your business.
Be yourself. Avoid trying to be overly aggressive. There’s nothing I hate more than being pitched to at an event even before I know what the other person does. Give more than you’d ever ask someone. Buy them a drink. Offer to meet for lunch. Be thoughtful but don’t ask for referrals the first time you meet someone. They’re not likely going to remember you the next day.
I use Evernote to keep tabs on personal relationships. There’s even a way to scan cards with Evernote. I also keep connections in a CRM tool like Salesforce.
Stay Away From Potential Sensitive Subjects
You never know what the person you’re talking to cares about the most. So you want to be cautious of making any comments about topics that could be sensitive. Personally, I want to get to know the other person as much as possible. So give them your uninterrupted attention. That is hard to get at any networking hour.