search cancel

10 Ways To Actually Meet The Right People At SXSW

Question: What’s your best tip for a founder who wants to attend big events like SXSW and actually meet the right people?

 

 

SXSW - Day 7

Learn Who’s Attending Ahead of Time

AlexandraLevitavatar-1“Check in with people you want to catch up with to see when they’ll be onsite, and get on their calendars in advance. Once the event starts, send them a quick text or email to remind them about your meeting. Large conferences are too chaotic to ensure that you’ll just casually run into people. You have to make a concerted effort to ensure that the most innocuous of gatherings actually happen.”

 

ALEXANDRA LEVIT
Inspiration at Work

Don’t Listen to the Talks

EmersonSpartzavatar-100x100“Most speakers are covering material that can be found all over the Internet. If you want to meet people, hang out in the lobby and the hallways. Strategically position yourself in places that everybody has to walk through, which maximizes your likelihood of bumping into the right people. If you have friends attending, ask them for help with intros to the right kind of people. “

 

EMERSON SPARTZ
Spartz

Stop With the Startup Conferences — Find Your Customers

derek Shanahan-100x100“Quit spending valuable time and money attending startup events just because you’re a startup founder. Unless you’re selling to startup founders, get your butt to the events that your customers attend: trade shows, industry conferences and the like. Trust me, you’ll get invited to SPEAK at startup events the second you get a long list of paying customers.”

 

DEREK SHANAHAN
Playerize / SuperRewards

Leave Room for Serendipity

thursday bram“You’ll want to line up some meetings ahead of time, but don’t forget to leave room in your schedule for grabbing lunch with the people you just met or sitting down for an impromptu talk. The benefit of being in the same place as a bunch of interesting people is that you can get very lucky and meet someone without any planning.”

 

THURSDAY BRAM
Hyper Modern Consulting
Follow @ThursdayB

Partner With Connectors

aaron schwartz“The best way to meet interesting people is through a warm introduction. There are two ways to find introductions at events: through individuals or through brands. Figure out how to add value to an individual so he or she will take the time to make introductions. Similarly, you can volunteer to help a brand at the event so you will be around when others contact them. “

 

AARON SCHWARTZ
Modify Watches
Follow @ModifyWatches

SXSW-675x320

Get Exponential Introductions

NeilThanedaravatar“My strategy is to always meet a few awesome people early and ask them for the best one to two people they know that I need to know. Meet new people, then repeat this process as often as possible. With the right seed connectors, this can last through the whole event.”

 

NEIL THANEDAR
LabDoor

Book All Your Essential Meetings Ahead of Time

Michael-Costigan-100x100“When we send employees to a conference, we often have up to 25 meetings set in advance for them, along with specifically tailored agendas for each contact. By doing an aggressive email campaign before the conference, you can often confirm meetings well in advance so all you have to do once you’re there is go from appointment to appointment.”

 

MICHAEL COSTIGAN

Youth Leadership Specialist

Go Without a Schedule

Andrew Angus“I have settled on the opposite of strategy — I just go and see what happens. If you go with a plan, you’ll struggle at SXSW because there’s no way you’ll stick to it. There’s no point in setting goals you can’t meet. SXSW is a week of serendipity. Who are the right people? You don’t know yet. Random meetings turn into meeting the right people.”

 

ANDREW ANGUS
Switch Video

Be a Good Date

LaurenPerkinsavatar-100x100“There is a preparation process every time you’re about to go on a date: time, place, outfit and even a prospective conversation plan! That’s true of conferences as well. See what events are happening and who will likely attend in order to plan your agenda for a big industry conference. Select a couple of key events, meet some out-of-town business prospects and let the conversations start!”

 

LAUREN PERKINS
Perks Consulting
Follow @laurenperkins

Forget Going to the Conference

MattWilsonavatar-100x100-2“If you are seriously interested in only meeting people, forget the $600 conference badge — just go for the weekend to hang out. You don’t meet many people sitting and listening to talks, but if you know how to work the room over cocktails or know someone to get you into the right parties, then you will have accomplished your mission. “

 

MATT WILSON
Under30Experiences

 

Photo Credits

startupcollective | Luca Sartoni

Author : Young Entrepreneur Council

The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world's most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched StartupCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.

Share This Post On