In the early days of our startup, as one of the co-founders, I was eager to meet people. I noticed some things that were consistent in all of the so-called networking meetings I went to.
I was always arriving early with scripts ready for 1-minute, 3-minute introduction of self or the nature of my business. Unfortunately, I always felt I have wasted my time. I doubted myself for not doing it right.
Columbia Business School did a study of networking events. The movements of the attendees were tracked by the badges they wore. 95% of the executives present averagely engaged with one-third of the people they knew with half of their time at the event.
The most successful networker at the event turned out to be the bartender.
Exchanging pleasantry and few words to describe my business were not getting me anywhere.
I agreed with sociologist Brian Uzzi. He said, “Potent networks are not forged through casual interactions but through relatively high-stakes activities that connect you with diverse others.”
What are high-stakes activities? 1. Join a table tennis club. 2. Be part of a NGO program. 3. Join a religious community. 4. Be part of a fundraising drive. In short, something that is more than self, that has a bigger purpose more than self for people when they come to meet.
I found I made more lasting relationship and eventually they bloomed into dynamic working synergy that we could leverage on each other for each of our business expansion.