Just the sound of the word makes me feel yucky.  If the word “networking” feels forced and insincere you are not alone.  Yet, what if I told you that I have networked with well over 2,000 RTPeeps in the last 4 years?

Its true but I have to profess I have never “networked” by the classic definition.

Is it time for you to get out there and network?  Here are a couple tips that will make this a positive, life-affirming moment instead of the scary, personality-scarring event that we all fear.

Lets start with the first step – asking for the meeting.  I am from Philly and lived in DC and Chicago, which means I can be, lets say, crusty at times.  Here is a little secret from my 8+ years in the Triangle – people down here are nice.  I often say everyone will take your first meeting.  Just ask!

Second step – tell your short story in less than 2 minutes.  There is nothing that makes me regret taking the meeting more than when someone tells me their entire biography over 10-15 minutes.  I really need to hear about that promotion you got when you were assigned to the sales team back in the early 90’s?  The rule of 3’s applies here – tell me 3 things that you want me to remember.  If you tell me 30, you risk the opportunity for me to pick which 3 I will remember if I remember anyone of them at all.

Lastly, be clear about what you are looking for.  Again make it short and concise.  A single action item left for your new professional friend enhances your chances that they will do something on your behalf.

Try this one for size:

Hi, my name is Chris.  I have spent the last 30 years working primarily in software technology businesses in a diverse set of roles from programmer, to product manager eventually to CEO.  I am currently a co-founder and Managing Director of an early-stage seed fund making 10-14 new investments per year.

I am currently looking for software startup entrepreneurs, experienced mentors and angel investors all of whom make my business operate.  Do you fit any of those labels?  If not, please feel free to evangelize on our behalf.  What are you looking for and is there any way I can help?