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Asking Effectively and Networking - May 2015


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Networking, influencing and getting the meetings and other stuff you want.

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Asking Effectively and Networking - May 2015

  1. 1. Networking, influencing and getting the meetings and other stuff you want Colette Ballou May 21 2015 @balloupr @coletteballou #digitalk2015
  2. 2. Culled and consolidated from a series of articles and conversations with journalists, investors, founders. And more than a little personal experience.
  3. 3. The people you want to connect with, the ones whose advice or input may really make a difference for you – they are busy people. Really busy. And they have their own jobs. But most are good people who like helping others, and who remember what it was like to need help.
  4. 4. This is not an all-you-can-eat buffet. You don’t just join the ecosystem and start asking for favours from everyone you meet. (Well some people do and it’s not cool)
  5. 5. Remember: every time you ask something of someone, you are taking their time. Their private time. Time they may want to spend with their family, their company, working out, or maybe just catching up on sleep
  6. 6. So the biggest rule?
  7. 7. Respect
  8. 8. Myths about networking 1. It’s about meeting people so that they can do things for you 2. It’s about power, influence 3. Others?
  9. 9. Myths about networking One of the most important things that 90% of people don’t understand: to be effective, networking must be a two-way street. Don't do it just to get something out of it. Successful networkers give back to the ecosystem, and people who do nothing but take are identified quickly by the herd. And marginalized.
  10. 10. Rules for networking 1. Have a very specific “ask” 2. Keep it short 3. Be direct and honest 4. Always give an out/no option 5. Make it as little work as possible for the person you are asking for something 6. How respect the other person’s time constraints 7. Understand that you are adding to their plate 8. Give something back (or at least offer)
  11. 11. Keeping these points in mind when talking with founders, investors, journalists, and others in the technology scene is incredibly important to growing your network and being respected.
  12. 12. Some examples of how to make this work for you (including epic fails)
  13. 13. Examples of how not to ask for things “Can we meet for coffee so I can pick your brain?” “Can you read our business plan and tell me what VCs we should approach?” – do your own damn work Followed by “Can you make introductions to the VCs you suggest?” “Can you introduce me to your media contacts who might be interested in my company?” Or worse: The Bad Networker – the person who gets your card and then endlessly asks for favors or volunteers your time to others to make themselves look helpful.
  14. 14. Great resources
  15. 15. Ask for introductions effectively Most people will introduce you to someone they know if they know you and/or if it’s going to be of interest to the either party. Roy Bahat of Bloomberg Beta wrote a great post on this (@roybahat) forward-intro-email
  16. 16. Specifically: investor introductions Do the work upfront. Don't ask me to identify investors for you, or to write the pitch email. Hunter Walk of Homebrew wrote a great post on this (@hunterwalk) other-vcs-unless-you-follow-these-steps/
  17. 17. The forwardable email for an investor introduction (can be modified for other purposes) If I’m excited about the product, founder, and industry, I will forward this email to whomever I’ve been asked to do so and tell them why I’m excited.
  18. 18. The forwardable email for an investor introduction SUBJECT LINE: Intro to X at [company name] Hey Y, I would like to get in touch with [X] from [company name]. They have a very strong portfolio of on-demand mobile services such as[insert company names here] and would be a great strategic fit with my company, [enter your company name]. Below is a quick blurb you can forward. ********* Insert short description about you/your company. Show traction/reason for requesting the meeting, have links – to AngelList profile, etc. Traction: - $XM sales run-rate in Y months - Growing X% month-over-month - Average transaction size is $X We are raising our seed round and would love to talk. Thanks, [You}
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