Patrick Vlaskovits, founder of Superpowered.com, offers his views on the benefits of authentic communication for networking.
Patrick Vlaskovits is a NYT bestselling author and entrepreneur. His writing has been featured in the Harvard Business Review, the WSJ and The Browser. Patrick routinely speaks at technology conferences nationally and internationally, including SXSW and The Lean Startup Conference. Aside from Superpowered, a low-latency cross-platform audio SDK for mobile, he advises multiple technology startups and serves as a mentor for 500 Startups. He blogs at Vlaskovits.com and Superpowered.com.
Recently, YEC spoke with Patrick about his experiences networking, and his advice for others aspiring to improve their own experience. His best advice is below.
We built trust with a major customer to use our product because not only was our product great, but I also advised their staff on an unrelated matter. Seeing that I provided unbiased advice on a matter totally unrelated to the business between us built a strong trusting relationship on which we could do business.
Build Value for Others
Understanding how to build value for other people first by connecting people to one another, and only then considering your needs will help you build a strong professional network. The strength of your network is not in its size but rather, in its willingness to act when called upon.
To be a successful networker or connector, you need to have an authentic and genuine manner of communicating. Patronizing others or trying to come across as something or someone you are not will never work long-term. People are naturally attracted to authenticity, which means owning our flaws as much as highlighting our wins.
Create Your Own Events
Instead of being the honey bee that flits around all the time, be the honey pot that attracts the bees. Meaning, the best advice in terms of events and venues is not to wait around to attend an event, but to create one’s own events that attract great people to them.
Keep It Short
To simplify networking and follow-ups, use short, well-written emails intros that outline — with specificity — what each party needs.
Tell a Story
A quick and authentic story about yourself that isn’t egocentric can be a very powerful way to introduce yourself memorably to a potentially important contact. But watch out, egocentricity tends to be ugly and repellent.
Make Sure You Also Show Empathy
My biggest networking faux pas was not understanding the needs and desires — however illogical I may have thought them — of the people I connected with. As much as you can, try to truly understand the people you are meeting.
Originally published by StartupCollective.