Have you ever wondered why some people seem to flourish at networking events and others seem lost? Recently, I attended a PinkSlipsMixers event in Woodland Hills that gave me the opportunity to think about this question as I worked the room.
I won’t name names, but I did meet some people who illustrate some of the problems one faces when spending a couple hours mixing with business-socking intentions.
Maria and I started talking as we were pinned into the same corner of a conference room, each holding lukewarm pizza. She was clearly uncomfortable with the entire event. But, she bravely started telling me her story and as we talked, it was clear to me that her only problem with networking was shyness and lack of experience. We happened to be leaving at the same time, and while sharing the elevator, she confirmed this. “You did fine,” I told her. “Look you got some business cards, and you and I have established a connection since we’re both in Marketing and both CSUN Alumni.” And then I should have added: “Next time, just approach the networking event like a speed-dating meeting where everyone is just trying to see where there can be a mutually beneficial relationship. It’s all about helping each other, and unlike dating, it really does help to think of quantity and quality.”
Even though my friends jokingly refer to me as being the networking king, both they and I know that I’m just getting more practice than most these days. You know what they say about practice.
Anyway, the most valuable piece of advice to get started with networking is, act like you’re the host of a party. Walk up to people and introduce yourself with the confidence of being the person who pulled this shindig together, knows exactly where the restrooms are, and has an obligation to check on one’s guests.
Want more advice on marketing yourself? I’ll touch on more in my next post on Networking.
Meanwhile, here are some good resources you might consult that I have found valuable: