Summer heat, and even in a busy place like Tel Aviv Israel the summer weeks indicate a time to take a foot off the pedal. With that, the Israeli startup ecosystem and established Israeli tech companies do not sleep. When in town, there is no reason not to mix business with pleasure; a visit to Israel Startup Nation to see the sights during peak season and squeeze in a few work meetings as well. The team at Clearview Partners likes to prepare, with summer vacation a lull (and before the Jewish holidays start) now is the time to look forward to a busy fall. With that it’s important to prepare for the finale of conference season in the middle of September. It’s probably a good idea to keep some of the ideas below in mind when preparing to attend some of the best Israeli tech conferences, DLD and Journey.
Get a list of attendees or companies before
We suggest to not leave anything up to chance, and as much as we like serendipitous occurrences it’s best to prepare and reach out to people you’d like to connect with in advance. Some social media research can turn up information, particularly on platforms like LinkedIn. You might have to do some digging to find out who will be attending the conference, but it will be worth it when you meet in person for the first time and it will be a “warm” connection.
Make sure to RSVP to every private event
Now we don’t suggest you not attend what you RSVP for, but there are only so many hours in the day and you need to maximize the time you’re at a conference. The best events are those held behind closed doors, and aside from being invited to those private events at the conference there are always opportunities to find a way onto the guest list. With big conferences such as DLD focused on Israeli startups keep an open mind and an open schedule, especially at night.
Never judge a book by its cover
This can be a challenge as sometimes in Israeli business culture people do not see the value you bring to the table as they are quick to cut to the chase. If there is anything to learn from American style conferences, particularly in tech it’s that you never know who you’re speaking with. A few minute conversation in line for the bar can yield significant results and a new connection. And remember to be an active listener and see how you can offer value instead of just making a hard pitch.
Get there early
This is a piece of contrarian advice, as Israelis tend to arrive late. But different cultures have different concepts of time, and it’s always best to show up early. The quality of time you spend speaking with someone will dictate how good the follow-up will be, so getting there early guarantees you’ll have time to chat and develop authentic relationships.
Don’t be that guy (or girl) and follow up!
How many times has this happened that you had an amazing conversation at a conference or cocktail party and didn’t follow-up? We’re guilty of this as well, and we regret every time we didn’t send a proper follow-up. And it’s a shame, because we left many opportunities and new relationships on the table. It’s not even about having a fancy business card, you can email someone right there and then. If we have one business pet peeve (and this is cross-cultural) it’s that you must follow-up!
The summer will fly by and soon we’ll be back in the swing of things. When it comes to experiences and conferences Israel Startup Nation knows how to make people feel welcome and engaged. While we wholeheartedly support the idea of serendipitous experiences a little preparation and thoughtfulness goes a long way.