The Bristol Technology Festival is back for 2023. Headline partnered by award-winning UK software company, Ghyston, this is the largest and most connected regional technology festival in the UK.

As you start registering for activities and events happening across the week, remember that networking is a powerful tool that can open doors, create opportunities, and foster meaningful relationships in your professional life.

Whether you’re attending the Bristol & Bath Cyber Conference, or one of Ghyston’s Breakfast club events, effective networking skills are essential for making lasting connections. In this blog, we’ll explore five invaluable tips to help you master the art of networking and unlock its potential at the Bristol Tech Festival.

Be Genuine and Authentic

When engaging in networking at the Tech Festival, authenticity should be your guiding principle. Approach conversations with a genuine interest in getting to know others. People can sense sincerity, and building connections based on authenticity leads to stronger and more meaningful relationships. Instead of focusing solely on what you can gain, prioritize what you can offer and contribute. This mindset shift can lead to deeper connections that go beyond surface-level interactions.

Active Listening Is Key

Networking is not just about talking; it’s about listening and understanding others. Practise active listening by giving your full attention to the person you’re conversing with. Avoid interrupting and genuinely engage with their thoughts and ideas. This not only shows respect but also allows you to uncover shared interests and common ground. Active listening fosters deeper connections and helps you remember important details for future interactions.

Find Common Ground

Finding common ground is a powerful way to build rapport quickly. Look for shared hobbies, interests, experiences, or goals that you can discuss. These shared connections provide a natural starting point for meaningful conversations. Remember, networking is about forming relationships, and common ground creates a sense of camaraderie that can lay the foundation for a lasting connection.

Follow Up and Nurture Relationships

Networking doesn’t end when the event is over. Follow up with the individuals you’ve connected with to solidify and nurture those relationships. Send a personalised email or message expressing your pleasure at meeting them and referencing something from your conversation. Offer value by sharing an article, resource, or insight that aligns with their interests. Consistently staying in touch and providing value will help you maintain and strengthen your network over time.

Embrace the Power of Follow-Up Actions

Networking doesn’t stop at the initial introduction or conversation. To truly make the most of your connections, it’s essential to take proactive follow-up actions. After exchanging contact information and parting ways, ensure you follow up on any promises you made during the conversation. This could involve sharing resources, setting up a coffee meeting, or introducing them to someone in your network who could be of value to them.

Be a Connector

One of the most valuable roles you can play in networking is that of a connector. Actively seek opportunities to introduce people within your network who could benefit from knowing each other. When you connect others, you not only provide value to both parties but also establish yourself as a valuable resource and connector of like-minded individuals. This demonstrates your willingness to contribute to the success of others, and it can lead to a positive reputation as someone who brings people together for mutual benefit.

Being a connector also extends beyond just introducing people. Share relevant opportunities, events, or insights with your connections that align with their interests or goals. This proactive approach showcases your thoughtfulness and positions you as a reliable source of valuable information. As you facilitate connections and share resources, your network will naturally grow stronger, and others will be more likely to reciprocate by introducing you to valuable contacts or opportunities in return.

Incorporating the role of a connector into your networking strategy not only enhances your relationships but also amplifies your influence within your professional and social circles. By contributing to the success of others, you position yourself as a key player in a network of individuals who support each other’s growth and advancement.

Effective networking is a skill that can greatly enhance your personal and professional life. By being genuine, perfecting your elevator pitch, practising active listening, finding common ground, and nurturing relationships, you can master the art of networking and create a network of valuable connections. Remember, networking is not just about transactions; it’s about building meaningful relationships that can enrich your life and contribute to your growth and success. So, go forth with confidence, engage authentically, and watch your network flourish.

Shona Wright

Shona covers all things editorial at TechSPARK. She publishes news articles, interviews and features about our fantastic tech and digital ecosystem, working with startups and scaleups to spread the word about the cool things they're up to. She also oversees TechSPARK's social media, sharing the latest updates on everything from investment news to green tech meetups and inspirational stories.