Hiding When You Should Be Standing Out

I failed miserably last week. I attended MAVA’s Capital Connection (CapCon) seeking to assess how successful I thought presenting founders and their companies would be long-term based on a single factor: Empathy displayed when they interacted with the event’s attendees.

Imagine my surprise when only one CEO manned his company’s booth throughout the two-days presenting founders had to show off to venture capitalists, service providers, journalists (aka me), and others who may be interested in their companies. Kudos go to Gary Tyermann, CEO of Univa Corporation. You stood out. Your counterparts blended in with the crowd. Talk about missed opportunity.

You know want I found, Gary? I think you actually fit the bill regarding empathy. I’m going to say you also exhibited stick-to-itiveness and a sense for what’s really important… connecting with others when you get the chance. We’ll call that social awareness and relationship management, two pillars of emotional intelligence.

For those of you who think those who blended in with the crowd didn’t miss that big of an opportunity, think again. During lunch I sat with three sponsors and two venture capitalists. We all attended CapCon looking for something specific. We noticed your absence, and this gets directly in your way of getting business done.

It also dampened energy within the venue. Interacting with you, sensing the passion and excitement you have for your business draws us in and makes the event something special. You’re not just on stage when you’re in the round. You’re on stage the entire time you’re in the building.

The companies featured during the presentations had very interesting technologies, and many of them have demonstrated real traction in changing industries. So, the flat energy had nothing to do with the business opportunity. We’re there to meet you. Choosing to hide when you should be choosing to stand out sends a subliminal message that may be wholly inaccurate. Just wanted you raise awareness that we missed the

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