Friday, February 8, 2013

Networking for Techies

The IT crowd, techies, coders... all words synonymous with the tireless thinkers who have revolutionized modern life. While some of their greatest achievements may have taken place behind the scenes, today’s emphasis on social media and networking is prompting more and more technology workers to look beyond the science of information to the art of conversation, as an effective way to advance their careers.

Even so, such soft skills can be elusive to some people who have made a career using technology to make connections. The good news is these skills -- mastering the art of conversation and networking -- are really much easier than many people think. Below I list three tips to help get you started:

  • Come prepared with topics. My first networking tip for anyone is to bring a variety of topics to the networking event, not just about code. Be prepared with some more informal topics, like what you enjoy doing in your free time. Current events are also good conversation starters, but avoid controversial stories that might lead to disagreements or unpleasant exchanges.  
  • Don’t try to sell anything.  When you go to a networking event look for connections, not sales. Most people don’t go to networking events to buy things; they go to meet colleagues and potential clients. Position yourself as a resource to others, and they will want to connect to you.

  • Explain how you help others.  Do you help them become more productive, or do you help the business grow their revenue? Do you help people save time, eliminate waste or use their existing resources better? By what mechanism do you help people achieve their goals?

Begin with these three tips and you will see a dramatic difference in the way others connect with you at company gatherings and networking events.

Master the art of conversation and you will see many benefits.

For more information about having Don speak to your group or at your event please contact him at:

Don Gabor
Conversation Arts Media


Pauline Kehm said...

This is an important topic even for non-tech types. We're so reliant on text/email/social media we're losing the art-and pleasure-of connecting in person, which is really the only way to build relationships, trust and/or business.

Don Gabor said...

Right, we're all becoming techies to one degree or another.

Vardhini said...

Dear Don,wondering if u had any advice for 'volume networking'.I recently shredded about 40% of the biz cards i had collected over 10 yrs of conferences,realizing i dont even recall who those ppl are(am sure they don't recall me either).Nowadays i only keep contacts who seem meaningful and last a while. Wish i could attend the NYC workshop,but too far away :( Thanks, Mala

Don Gabor said...

Alas! So many cards, so little time to follow up! I recommend: 1) Prioritize the cards you collect and respond to those people within a week of the networking event. 2) Put these people into your database of contacts (the NEAT scanner works great!) 3) Put all the cards in an envelope identiying the event and date and file away. When you go to a follow up event you can review the cards and remind yourself of the names of those you already met.