3 Key Takeaways From Networking at TechCrunch Disrupt 2015

I love tech events! I love anticipating them. I love being there and I love meeting all their inspiring visitors! But not everybody loves them. And I get that. They can be quite intimidating, overwhelming and frustrating. After all, being at an event like TechCrunch Disrupt 2015 (San Francisco), requires you entering in a huge building with 5000 other people, all of whom seem to have cooler badges than yours and a better idea about the future of technology than you could imagine.

But getting over yourself and putting on the ‘super networker’ hat can bring you quite a lot of fruits and make every single moment of the conference worth it! In this article I want to share with you my top 3 tips on how to nail networking at a big conference like TechCrunch Disrupt.

But first – Why were we there?

Disrupt SF 2015 comes at a very special moment for Swipes. As you’ve undoubtedly heard already, we just launched Swipes for Teams, the first collaboration platform built on top of Slack, one of the most popular chat clients for companies.

We’ve always had the intuitive feeling that one day we want to – and we will – build a product that aligns with our vision on how strong & creative teams can do their best work. So you can only imagine our excitement when we saw the line in front of our stand at Disrupt SF 2015 made up of current & future clients who wanted to talk to us! But how did we handle all these people and made sure we created a lasting good impression? Here are my:

3 tips on nailing networking at a conference

1. Arrogance takes you down, helpfulness raises you up

First and foremost, remember that people at an event are NOT just a badge! They are a walking network of connections that you can either win an access to or close your doors to. This one seems so obvious but it is not to so MANY people!!! I saw plenty of ‘networkers’ doing the same mistake – reading a person’s badge, even before looking at that person’s face and discarding them as boring or irrelevant based on a single title on a label. Guess what? People have lived before and worked before the event. They do know other people whom you might want to know.

So don’t judge people based on their badge only. Welcome everyone who approaches you with interest and forge a positive relation. Even if you end up not being relevant for each other in this specific moment, take out your best pay-it-forward mentality and think of somebody else in your network that might be happy to meet this person. I’ve written tons of intros in the past days, connecting people I met at the event with others I’ve known from before.

Photo by Jeff Bottari. TechCrunch Disrupt SF 2015.

2. With a smile and high energy you can go a long way

Being tied to your booth can be really daunting! But after all, you’re there to talk to people: so do exactly that, with as much positivity as you can.

Try to reset for every new visitor who approaches you. It might be the 100th time that you have to say the same thing, the same pitch of what you’re doing. But every person who cares enough to ask about it deserves your best energy and full attention. If you seem bored of what you’re saying for the 100th time in a row, they’ll be bored the 1st time hearing you and you won’t get another chance.

Photo by Jeff Bottari. TechCrunch Disrupt SF 2015.

3. The illusions about meeting media & investors are only holding you down

Many of us go to big tech events to make meaningful and important connections. But who are those connections? I can tell you with a fairly high certainty that they are neither media, nor investors. Both of those groups are simply to busy to meet with you at an event. They have thousands of other options who to meet with, and unless your startup is a money teleport sending cash from the future into the investors’ pocket now, you will not get much of their attention.

Instead invest your time in meeting cool founders, the makers of the future. Learn what they are building. Try to help them. And I bet you – If you build a good relationships with any of them, chances are they will be happy to connect you and recommend you to their network of media and investors. This warm reference is much more likely to get you a meeting than a 10secs ‘hello-there’ chat at a conference where hundreds of others are waiting in line.

And a bonus tip – Have fun! Make most out of it! Even when the organizers tell you to kill your balloon because it’s forbidden to have it at the conference:

This article also appears on LinkedIn and is published here with the permission of the author
Title Photo by Jeff Bottari. TechCrunch Disrupt SF 2015.

Written by Yana Vlatchkova

Founder @swipesapp. Loves traveling, hiking and pushing the boundaries. Tweets about tech, startups and life in between.

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