NETWORKING TIPS FROM AN SAL MEMBER WITH OVER 5,000 LINKEDIN FOLLOWERS
The importance of networking is hard to overstate. Over the next few weeks, we explore different members’ approaches to this hallowed art form, starting with Mr Loh Jing Jie, who has amassed a sizeable online following.
Jing Jie moderated a panel at the Cyber Youth Summit with Mdm Rahayu Mahzam, Mr Yeong Zee Kin, Mr Rakesh Kirpalani and Prof Lee Pey Woan.
BY SEAN LEE
A quick scan of Mr Loh Jing Jie’s LinkedIn page shows just how adept he is at networking. He has over 5,000 followers who keep up with his involvement in the venture capital and start-up space and his various roles as a moderator and emcee for several leading events.
Jing Jie’s online presence isn’t a fluke. The Legal Counsel at blockchain service technology solutions provider ChainUp uses platforms like LinkedIn to stay updated with the latest legal tech events. He also turns to various Web 3 and blockchain-related Telegram groups to expand his network.
Most of us already have access to these resources—for instance, SAL’s networking sessions at next month’s TechLaw.Fest. But what do we do once we’re there?
“Start by asking thoughtful questions,” Jing Jie shares. “You learn the most by being intentional and deliberate in asking questions that will spark conversations.” Of course, simply asking questions isn’t enough to build a lasting connection. “Be inquisitive and curious about what the other party does – especially if they are from a different industry.”
“You should also value-add to conversations by providing a legal perspective to the issues being discussed. You can also offer legal contacts and connections, especially if they require legal assistance for a particular matter at hand." It is also critical to follow up with an email and perhaps an invite to a coffee afterwards, he adds.
To illustrate this point, Jing Jie recalls his experience at demo days or start-up events. “You can start the conversation by introducing your law firm and the services that you provide. Back then, I was training in the Corporate and Commercial department of my previous law firm and was heavily involved in drafting fundraising contracts for start-ups."
“Naturally, I shared how I assist start-ups with drafting and negotiating for key founder friendly terms in Term Sheets, SHAs, and SSAs as well as the VCs that I have interacted with. This would be of great value to the start-ups as they can immediately see the benefit that you can provide with your service and it builds camaraderie as there is a common topic that both parties have similar interest in.”
BALANCE IS KEY
So quality questions are the name of the game. How else can we go about making a good first impression? Balance is a useful concept to remember, says Jing Jie.
“Some are very eager to share what they know and may inadvertently take up all the air in the conversation. This makes it more of a monologue than a dialogue! Provide a safe space for the other party to share their experience or views on a certain topic.”
While networking, we invariably encounter strangers we have never met before. What then? “If you are meeting for the first time,” Jing Jie shares, “build camaraderie by having light-hearted, friendly and chill conversations. It does not have to be transactional all the time. Friendships are built over time and there are no shortcuts to it,” he reiterates.
The very first connection that Jing Jie reached out to while emceeing at the Singapore FinTech Festival became a reliable and trustworthy friend that he could rely on when facing difficulties understanding complex blockchain and DLT concepts in his line of work.
And what about natural introverts? Bring a friend along to help soothe the nerves, he advises. After this conversation, that friend for me might just be Jing Jie himself.
Ready to network? Register here for a complimentary trade pass to TechLaw.Fest 2023, where you can connect with others in the legal and tech circles.