5 New People

I was in the ATL last week for the latter half of Atlanta Tech Week. It was a blast. So, good to be back in the City I love, hanging with my “people”. The energy in ATL and the tech scene is vibrant. I went to 3 to 4 events per day – I went to some FinTech events, startup events and some Tech Talks. As well, as doing as many one-on-one meetings with old friends just to catch up and see what’s going on. The events were packed and incredibly diverse: all ages, all colors, all genders, all religions, all sexual preferences…. exactly the ATL everyone has been working hard to build .

It struck me on the way home that I broke most of my “rules” for Networking.

As an introvert, yes – I am an introvert. I need rules to be successful at networking.

1.) I need a weekly plan. I need to know what my week looks like, and plan for some downtime in between events. I did this fairly well, I left time in the morning or afternoon to take a power walk each day, and time in the evening to spend with just a close friend or two. This is really about managing my energy.

2.) I need an event plan. I need to know what I hope to achieve at any specific event. Who do I hope to meet? What do I hope to learn? I’d give my self a “C” on this. My first appointment on my first day got messed up, and that threw off my whole day. I ended up attending an event that I did not plan to attend, with no plan. I was able to see some old friends; but, I only met one or two new people.

3.) I need to meet 5 New People (at each event). This is where I failed – “F”. The way I got good / comfortable at networking was by gamifying it. At every event I go to, I “have to” meet 5 new people. Once I meet the 5, I can go hang with old friends OR go home. It’s my out, for when I don’t want to go… just go for a few minutes – meet 5 new people. I stole the idea from a personal trainer I once had… who encouraged me to go to the gym, even when I didn’t feel like it, and get on the treadmill for 5 minutes. Typically after 5 minutes on the treadmill, I was committed enough to finish the workout. 5 new people works exactly the same way.

Despite “failing” to meet my 5 new people, it was amazing to be back in the ATL. If I missed you this past trip, I’ll see you shortly… 😉

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