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How to network effectively in a tech event?

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Anonymous User at Taro Community8 months ago

I am a mid-level developer. I am attending a tech event for the first time. Could you provide some tips on how to network effectively in the event? I feel like I don't have anything to talk about. Mostly my mind goes blank.

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(3 comments)
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    Tech Lead/Manager at Meta, Pinterest, Kosei
    8 months ago

    You don't need to have something to say. Just ask good questions.

    • Do some research on the people or topic being discussed at the tech event, and ask a question about that.
    • Ask how people discovered the event and what motivated them to join.
    • Ask what people are hoping to learn from the event.
    • Ask about changes: what has changed about a person's job/company/setup in the past 6 months or year? How will it change?

    Once you've networked with people , make sure you follow up. Send personalized messages and add people on LinkedIn (and share your Taro profile if you've answered questions!)

  • 7
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    Tech Lead @ Robinhood, Meta, Course Hero
    8 months ago

    As an introvert, here's some tips for professional networking I've learned across many years:

    1. Find the other introverts - It's easy to tell who they are as they're also the people not talking to anyone 😂. They'll usually be happy to have someone to talk to, and the conversation should go well, boosted by the solidarity of both of you being introverts.
    2. Make it your goal to learn about them - The best conversations are those where you're listening more than talking, ideally because you got the other person to talk about something they're very passionate about in some way (it can be both positive or negative). People like it when others express a genuine interest in their lives. Do that and strive to plug in where you can to add value (e.g. they're ranting about a super tricky Python feature they're stuck on and it turns out that you have built that feature before or at least worked on Python a lot).
    3. Talk about the tech - If you're going to a tech event, I assume it's about a certain tech stack/language/framework. This is essentially "free" solidarity - You can anchor your conversations off that, and it will naturally have a high chance of landing. For example, if I were to go to an Android conference, I would ask folks "What does your Android stack look like? What libraries do you use?"
    4. Farm LinkedIn connections - LinkedIn connections are both cheap to acquire and extremely valuable. Literally every person you talk to, even if it's just for 5 minutes, ask to connect on LinkedIn.

    I hope these resources help as well:

  • 13
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    Senior Software Engineer [5A] at Uber
    7 months ago

    As someone who has networked not just at random tech events but also at Bazelcon (hosted by Google), Droidcon, Gradle Productivity Conference, and even some investment conferences like Berkshire Hathaway Annual Shareholder's meeting and Beard Group's Distressed Investment Conference, the biggest barrier I've seen for new engineers (and new people in general) is bringing something to the table.

    What do you know that someone else does not? What may interest someone? What work have you done that makes you see the world and other work in a different light? What results can you share with people?

    Networking is just business: it is a give and take relationship. Its about trying to meet people who will give you value or may give you value in the future. This means that you must be able to sell your skill, brand, and knowledge in exchange for someone else's. Time is limited and not everyone you meet will be able to make your time worthwhile. So it is important to show you are worth someone else's time.

    I disagree with simply asking questions. People don't always want to answer questions, particularly if the questions are naive. The questions you ask also reveal who you are just as much as they probe because they operate from a set of assumptions.

    Since this is your first conference, I recommend bringing a prop: a project, metrics, or perhaps some code you can share with other people. Not only does that allow you to show you have something of value but it also allows you to demonstrate it. A picture is worth a thousand words.

    As an example, I was networking with people from Spotify regarding their Bazel migration and we had a different view of how to do their migration. I talked about how we were doing ours (dynamically) and showed them some of the metrics we were tracking to do so and why we disagreed with their approach. We had a great 3 hour conversation afterwards that spawned into both engineering and non-engineering practices.

    Simply put, be prepared with knowledge that can be contrarian and genuinely insightful to others and be prepared to back up those. You will find people who are similar and/or have expertise in that field. You can then compound that knowledge over multiple conversations and conferences.