Listen and be open-minded
One of the best pieces of advice I’ve ever received came from Susan Hyatt, “When you’re networking make sure that you CHECK YOUR INTENTIONS.” If you walk into a room wondering what they can do for you, then you are approaching networking and meeting people in absolutely the wrong way.
The better way: walk into every networking event asking yourself, “what can I do for others?” By looking for ways to ADD value to the room, by having fun and contributing to the energy of the room, and ultimately, by refusing to allow yourself to be fueled by the fear of not getting your return on investment, which comes from a scarcity mindset, you will have a better chance at making unique and inspiring connections.
“If you want to do it the hard way, try doing it alone or from behind your computer,” another Susan Hyatt gem that is a great reminder that you can’t do anything alone. So many events at SXSW are specifically designed for networking and if expanding your network is your goal, make sure you attend as many as you can. Spend some quality time over the event listening to others and learning about their experiences and interests. You never know where a new connection may lead and by meeting as many people from different backgrounds and industries, showing interest in others, and spreading some good will and open minded energy around, I promise you’ll meet some amazing people. I know from experience!