Day 76: Network Hard

This is more of a continuation of the same.

Yesterday, I went to the last day of Chicago Startup Week.

Usually, I’m shy when networking with strangers. But so are most people. To move the pressure off myself, I shifted my focus from myself on to the other person. How can I make them comfortable?

After many of the presentations, I ran up to catch the speaker. Calmly and confidently, I thanked them, Then I asked them questions I thought they might be able to help me with. Additionally, I complimented the presenters I enjoyed when I didn’t have a question to ask.

On Twitter and LinkedIn, I posted quotes and tips from the speakers. Speakers love to be acknowledged. Many are more nervous than they look! It helps them to know when they did well, because they can’t always tell.

So this was both a selfish and selfless act. Selfish because I built my reputation and connections to others. Selfless because I showed appreciation for the speakers and provides value to my followers.

Meeting With A CEO

I followed up with the CEO I contacted about apprenticing them. We met at a cafe.

It’s nerve-wracking to talk to someone in power, but I remembered that there’s nothing wrong with messing up. If I say something stupid, others’ don’t think about the stupid thing you said. More likely, they dwell on how they responded awkwardly.

Everyone is so focused on themselves. Just be kind. Give value. Have good intentions. Focus on helping the other person, even if they’re in power. Everyone likes to be helped! Whether tactically or emotionally. You can help them.

I’m really glad the CEO wants to mentor me in so many of my interests. People warned me that I could get taken advantage of doing an apprenticeship. But as long as I’m direct about my feelings, it will work out.

Honesty and directness are key always. And I can always leave on good terms if I’m not feeling it.

Focus on helping and learning. Give a ton, take a ton.

Next Time

I did a great job of putting myself out there. But I focused more about my needs than the needs of others’.

Next time I network, I should provide an opportunity for the other person to ask me for something. I could say, “Thanks for helping. Is there anything you’re looking for that I could help with in anyway? Anything at all?”

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