Freestyle networking is a way of meeting new people—and staying in touch with them—that’s flexible and fun. It’s great for busy professionals who want to build relationships with others in the business community. Freestyle networking can take place anywhere: at a conference, on the job, in the neighborhood bookstore…wherever! There are no rules when it comes to Freestyle networking, but there are some guidelines that will help you get started and make the most out of your free-spirited approach to connecting with other people. RestartUtah is designed with Freestyle networking as a central part of building the Utah business community.
Set an intention.
Freestyle networking is a way of expanding your network, building relationships, and getting more opportunities by simply talking to people.
It’s not just about talking to people though; it’s also about being open to new ideas or ways of thinking that can change your life forever. For example, you may meet someone with a perspective on your industry that reshapes your company’s mission and goals. You may also learn about a product or service that is instrumental in your business. Whatever your intentions are, be open and ready to explore new concepts with your new connections.
Be where you want to be.
You need to be where there are people you want to meet. It can be tough to find your ideal prospect in a sea of 600 people, but RestartUtah makes it easy to meet everyone you want to meet in just a few days. Every company present will have a designated place for you to find them, and you can seek them out there.
Since Freestyle is not as structured as the Rotation, the connections you want to build might not be found at the booth. Hang out near the common areas like the snack table and chat with everyone who stops by. You can also wander the floor and mingle, or just hang out at your booth and wait for opportunities — But we all know opportunities rarely come knocking!
Ask good questions.
The key to successful networking is asking good questions. You want to ask questions that are relevant to the conversation, will get you the information you want, and are open-ended so people can answer in as much detail as they’d like.
Some examples would be:
- “How did you get involved?” or “What do you do at company X?”
- “Where have you seen the most growth” Or “How did you overcome this challenge?”
The most important thing to remember when you’re networking is to follow through. Don’t just meet people and then put all your effort into finding out more about them on social media; actually follow up with them in person, too. And don’t just connect with people who are immediately interesting to you—connect with anyone who might be useful in the future, no matter how random or unlikely that connection seems at first glance. You may not need someone now, but you’ll be glad you met them at RestartUtah.
Finally, keep an eye out for opportunities that arise from your networking efforts: maybe someone you met at a conference has connections that could be useful, or maybe they know of another event where they can introduce you to someone else who can help out down the road!
Be patient. Lasting connections take time.
RestartUtah is the place to lay the foundation for lasting professional relationships. It may be months or years before new connections play a significant role in your business, but you’ll be thankful you made them in the first place. At the last event, some attendees made connections that led to major partnerships months later. These deals didn’t come from a 30-second introduction or a 5-minute chat on a Thursday afternoon. Be patient, be persistent, but most importantly be yourself.
Freestyle networking is all about the freedom to connect and build relationships with anyone you want. Remember to be intentional in your conversations, be aware of your positioning, ask open-ended questions, and follow up with your new connections. We hope this guide helps you feel confident while Freestyle networking at RestartUtah.