How to network like a pro at The Pitch 2024

It’s time to polish off your networking skills for The Pitch 2024. Networking is a crucial part of any event, especially at The Pitch where you can make lifelong connections with founders and investors across various industries. 

According to Forbes, networking is a vital step of entrepreneurial success for 78% of founders. Networking builds a foundation for your startup – the more connections you make, the better chance of your startup being seen by the right people.

In this article, we’ll explore networking, why it’s important and how you can leverage your skills to build your contact list to its fullest potential.

What is networking? 

Networking refers to building a list of professional connections. By building a bigger and stronger network, you’ll set the foundations for your startup. There are various ways you can network, including in-person events and online but we’ll come back to that later.

Why should you network as a startup founder? 

Networking as a startup founder will be your secret to success. Whenever you’re facing a problem or just need some advice, put it across to your network. Chances are, someone will have experienced something similar and may even have a solution to your problem.

Here’s a few ways you’ll benefit from building your network:

  • Access to a wealth of knowledge and advice 
  • Establish credibility in the industry
  • Develop relationships with key stakeholders
  • Build connections with potential customers
  • Market validation and feedback 

Tips for building your network at The Pitch 

Events like The Pitch are a great opportunity to meet other founders as well as investors, experienced business owners and others within the small business space.

We’ve put together a few tips to help you better prepare for networking at The Pitch this year, so you can develop the right skills to build your network with ease. 

1.Develop your personal branding

Before you begin your networking journey, it’s a good idea to develop a personal brand. This will put you on the map before you reach those networking events.

Not sure where to begin when it comes to creating a personal brand? We caught up with past pitchers to explore how developing a personal brand has helped them throughout their journey of running a startup. 

Check out the full article: Founders’ guide to personal branding: A step-by-step process for building and profiting from your social media following.

2.Don’t forget to follow up and nurture your relationships

The first thing you’ll want to do post networking is follow up. Doing follow ups is an important part of networking and you should aim to do this within the first day. This will ensure that people remember you and allows you to continue building that connection. 

A good place to start is connecting on LinkedIn and sending a quick message introducing yourself again, explaining where you met and that it was great to see them there. Better still, if you’re able to reference something you discussed, you can pick up where you left off.

3.Prepare some conversation starters

There’s nothing worse than heading off to an event unprepared. Take some time to find out the types of people who will be at the event and the industries they’re from. This will help you prepare for the event, feel more confident when chatting to people and put your mind at ease too.

Here’s a few conversation starters to help you break the ice:

  • Introducing yourself – Hi, I’m [insert name] and I’m from [insert company name’]
  • You guys look like you’re having a great time, mind if I join your conversation?
  • While I’m here I might as well introduce myself
  • Is this your first time at the event?
  • Are you here to see anyone in particular?

4.Ask questions & listen

A crucial step to any interaction and you need to be prepared to ask questions and actively listen to the people you’re networking with. It might seem obvious but a lot of people tend to get caught up in the moment and forget to ask questions. 

To ensure you don’t freeze up on the day, you could prepare a list of questions to refer back to before you approach people. You’ll want to cover a few different aspects: start by getting to know them and their industry and then move on to more specific questions.

Here are a few questions to help you get started: 

  • What brings you to this event? 
  • What do you do and how did you get into this field? 
  • What’s one piece of advice you’d give to someone who’s heading into a similar field as you?
  • How do you overcome the challenges?
  • What do you consider to be the most rewarding aspect of your current role?
  • How did you progress from where you started to where you are today?

5.Try to steer clear from sales tactics

There’s nothing more off-putting than hearing sales tactics at networking events. People will want to get to know you as a person, so steer clear of selling techniques and just be yourself. You can still sell your vision, just use a more personal approach! Sales can wait until you understand more about your connection’s challenges and motivations. 

How do I find a networking event near me?

When it comes to business and networking, there’s a lot on offer. In recent years, we’ve seen a big rise in networking dedicated events. We’ve outlined a few of the ways you can find networking events near you below.

Where to find networking events: 

We’ll be hosting The Pitch in locations across the UK, so you have a chance to come along and network with founders from various industries and backgrounds. Keep an eye on our socials where we’ll be sharing our competition locations and exciting opportunities for our community.

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Author
Karina Kundzina
Karina is the Content and Marketing Assistant at Inkwell, the company behind The Pitch.

Applications for The Pitch 2024 are open!

The Pitch returns for another year of supporting startup founders with free advice, mentoring, investor introductions and opportunities to network with fellow founders.

The competition is completely free to enter so if you’re a UK-based startup who has been trading for 4 years or less then why not maximise your potential? 

Submit your application today to be in with a chance to win.

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