The Best Way to Network
In my first year of university, I was the eager kid that went to every networking event, conference, and hackathon. I was naive back then. I heard that networking was productive and so I did a lot of it. I cringe when I think of the word networking. It elicits thoughts of inauthenticity and transactional relationships. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Here’s one networking technique that I proved successful for me:
Build something spectacular.
When you build something spectacular, you gravitate towards interesting people. Better yet, it becomes an asset that attracts interesting people and opportunities to you.
This was the case when I lead the Canadian Undergrad Tech Conference a few years back. Through that event, I got to meet some incredible people. It’s been three years since I lead the event, and I’m still benefiting from it. Directly or indirectly, many of my friends and opportunities I got though CUTC. Here’s how it helped me:
Working with the Best People
My first objective was to recruit a team. I saw this as my excuse to talk to the best people I know. I then asked my friends who are the best people they know and got to meet them too. Some say find the smartest room and figure out how to get in there. I created that room and got to work with them.
Throughout the event planning process, I became friends with many event organizers and entrepreneurs. Many of the problems and challenges we faced, not many people could relate to. We were all running through the gauntlet and we could all relate to each other. Additionally, I got to meet many interesting people. From key decision makers at large universities and thought leaders and executives at tech companies and startups.
While organizing the event, I built a domain expertise on uWaterloo’s ecosystems, the student landscape, and student events. This domain expertise became my reputation and my reputation lead to an introduction which lead to an opportunity at Human Capital. There wasn’t an open role for this position, the CEO just wanted to learn more about the student ecosystem at Waterloo and I was uniquely positioned to help him out.