Last week Startup Grind London hosted an event with the Founder and CEO of Web Summit, Paddy Cosgrave. Speaking to a room full of startups and tech companies, Paddy shared the story of Web Summit, how he grew it from a team of three to over 100 in less than five years, and some of his business networking secrets.
With Web Summit 2015 fast approaching, his advice could not have come at a better time. It is just one month until 22,000+ tech entrepreneurs, founders, investors, and journalists all descend on Dublin for Paddy’s brain child: “the best tech conference on the planet”.
If you want to know how to stand out and maximise your impact, here’s Web Summit advice from the man in the know.
1. Manage Your Expectations
As with any conference, there will be a lot happening at Web Summit. Hundreds of exhibitors, 21 summits, over 1000 speakers, and countless pub crawls and meet ups at various hotels and bars around Dublin.
There is going to be so much thrown at you at once, and many distractions, so you must get your focus before you arrive.
Decide what you want to get out of the event, make your plans in advance, and stick to them. Keep your eyes on the prize.
2. Prepare, Prepare, Prepare
Web Summit publishes lists of attendees in advance. They want to make it easy for people to connect with each other, so take advantage of their resources. Research the lists and engage with the right people ahead of the event. Try to arrange as many private one-to-one meetings as possible.
Do this as early as you can. Those who have been to Web Summit before have an advantage. They’re booking meetings with investors and key speakers well in advance, meaning that the time these people have to meet with you is shrinking every day. Connect with your ‘hit list’ ASAP, or you may miss out on the meeting that could change everything for your business.
You should already know what type of investor your business needs so you can connect with them now, and have your pitch deck ready to show them at the conference.
3. Network with everyone, but pitch strategically
There is going to be a LOT of networking going on at Web Summit, and a lot of pitching. You need to know when it’s the right time for each one.
Networking is about meeting people and building rapport. It’s similar to dating. You need to get to know someone before you ask them to marry you, right?
Your pitch is for those people (unlike a marriage proposal, you are going to have to ask a few…) who 1) fit your criteria, 2) are interested in what you’re offering, and 3) ‘click’ with you.
Network, build rapport, and then target your pitches strategically so you don’t waste anyone’s time. Remember: People invest in people.
4. Hang out in the Speakers’ Lounge
Web Summit charges a hefty price for access to the Speakers’ Lounge – more than six times the price of a standard ticket. Why? Because there is a lot of value in hanging out with the people in that room.
If you want to cut through the chaos of the exhibition hall and get to most influential people, pay for access to the Speakers’ Lounge and spend your time there.
Don’t forget about the advice on networking though. Being in this space will increase your chances of getting high value meetings with the right people, but focusing on building rapport first is still essential.
If any of this seems too daunting, never fear, The Work Crowd is here!
Our platform can match and connect you to our best in class network of flexible freelancers in Marketing, Communications and PR to give you a helping hand. We’ll make sure you’re ready to do Web Summit 2015 the right way.
Give us a try today or call the team to find out more: +44 207 632 8815.
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