Many domain conferences have networking sessions or opportunities to take some time to mingle with others. Many of you are old pros but for those that are first timers, here are ten things that I found worked for me when trying to meet new people.
1. Ask yourself “How can this person help me in my business” You are going to have to quickly guess what category this person fits in to. Possible friend, possible vendor, possible client, possible partner. It’s tough to know this in just a few minutes but you can take a guess
2. Wear something a little crazy. Something that will make you stand out. If you are super ugly, super hot, or you have a very unusual name like Hugh Jass, then you are already set and can pass on the elmo shirt. Chef Patrick was the master of the outlandish shirt
3. Take their card and label it. You’re not going to remember everyone but I write down yes or something that will identify that person on all the cards I receive. You may have to explain you were the guy with the elmo shirt, but I promise your standing out followed by a fresh email will help you in your first contact. Of course, do this when they are not looking, nobody likes to be judged after two minutes.
4. Reach out quickly before you forget. A nice simple email reminding them of who you are after the conference goes a long way
5. There is a big difference between boasting and telling a little about yourself. Your personal possessions should never be used when describing who you are. Saying who you worked with in the industry may be helpful as long as those people would say the same about you. Networking is a win win and nobody wants to work with someone who appears as if they are doing you a favor by talking to you
6. Throwing out a hobby you enjoy could spark a similar interest that may build relationships. In the past, being a good golfer would get you more interviews, more meetings, and more respect. I find that running and biking tend to be common interest for many people I meet
7. Create a model home. In our industry you can make a name on one domain, one website….if its exceptional. You may be known only for that but it may be good enough. Strawberries.com put Steven on the map and he has gone on to do great things since but he will always be known as the kid with Strawberries.com Have something to showcase when you meet someone.
8. Don’t take things personal (burn any bridges). There are guys that will ignore you. They are not there to meet anyone. They are there to promote themselves. Be professional and courteous and concentrate on the people that you can do business with in the future. Don’t be an ass and burn a bridge you may need later.
9. Smile. I have no idea why but there are less smiley people at domain conferences than any conferences I go to. The girls all seem to smile. Andrew Rosener and Frank Schilling always seems to be smiling. People feel more comfortable around you when you’re smiling. As long as it’s not that “I’m crazy and insane” never ending smile.
10. Save it for after a few drinks. The good stuff comes after the drinking starts. Everyone opens up after a few cocktails. Some of the best conversations I’ve ever had came past midnight. The barricades and walls seem to come down. It’s the time to take the conversation a little further. It’s not time to pick someone’s brain and try and get secrets but it’s the perfect time to share things that you don’t have time to share during the day.