By Christina Gunarto (Strategic Alliances Manager, Smaato) What I get from my friends when I tell them I’m going to a networking event is “Oh, God, I hate those kinds of events”. I ask them why and the answer is always the same, regardless of whether they’re an extrovert, introvert, or somewhere in between -- They hate the awkward conversations about pretentious topics with strangers.
I've been going to a lot of tech industry events, conferences, and networking happy hours since being hired by a mobile advertising startup. Part of my job is to meet people from other companies and assess if there are opportunities for us to work together. It's also my personal goal this year to overcome my fear of networking with a room full of strangers and come out alive!
One thing I’ve learned as I go to more networking events is I actually enjoy them. There is so much positive energy that I always come back invigorated and motivated to create something. In fact, I had such a great time at Founder Friday San Francisco this past week at Press Club that it inspired me to write this.
10 Reasons Why Networking Is Better Than Dating
- It is okay for you to network with multiple people at the same time :D
- The more people you network with, generally the better your reputation.
- Meeting your two new connections at the same place, at the same time, will not result in a drink thrown in your face.
- Researching your connection’s background on LinkedIn before going to the event is not considered stalking.
- If they don’t email you back, it’s really because they’re busy.
- Even if they’re busy, it is acceptable to keep contacting without seeming desperate.
- Your connection will not get mad at you if you forgot the first time you met.
- Networking will never lead to heartbreak.
- Less cheesy pick-up lines, and more elevator pitches.
- In the long run, too much networking is never really a bad thing; it adds value to your professional life and can be handy for you in the future.
There is a similarity between dating and networking in that both of these activities are processes in which you are trying to figure out what is out there.
However, dating is not really something that you want to become an expert at. Presumably, the end goal is to be in a committed relationship with one person.
Networking, on the other hand, is quite the opposite. You want to be an expert, “see” as many people as possible (even simultaneously), and have a huge rolodex of names and phone numbers that you can call on anytime. And one key advantage of networking is your connections benefit as you meet more people.
This is probably a topic that warrants a longer discussion than a blog post, but to summarize -- you have my top 10 list above on why networking is a much better investment of your time than dating.
Photo credit: Erica Kawamoto Hsu of Kuishimbo Editor's note: Got a question for our guest blogger? Leave a message in the comments below. About the guest blogger: Christina Gunarto is a Strategic Alliances Manager at Smaato, a leading global mobile advertising startup. Previously, she co-founded Dogopolis, a startup focusing on unique, creative and fun ways to enjoy life with your dog. Christina enjoys meeting new people and learning about innovations and ideas in tech. She graduated with a degree in Architecture from UC Berkeley.