I just got back from a couple of those dreaded “networking” events this week. The thing is, I don’t think these type of events are so dreadful. I love networking events. I see them as an opportunity to make a new friend. I made several at these events.
- Laurie doesn’t know we’re going to be friends yet, but she’s beyond cool, and I’m beyond persistent.
- Chris spent the first 120 seconds of our interaction (after he stopped talking) looking at me like I was nuts. Before I walked away, he asked me for my card. Chris was a character. I’m curious as to what he wants.
- Veronique was charmant and smart as a whip. I have no doubt coffee is in our future. Bein sur. Yes, she was a fabulous French woman. International friends = bonus!
STEP 1: BE THE BEST FRIEND EVER.
It’s rare that I go to an event and don’t know someone there. Better yet, I drag some unsuspecting friends along to expose them to other awesome people. My #ladybadass friends Mickey Wilson and Shannon Nashcame along to tonight’s event. I would grab each of them periodically and introduce them to whomever I have found to chat with. And, surprise surprise, I introduced my friend in a bold, authentic and compelling way. I talked about how she was uniquely awesome. I was, in essence, her opening act.
So why do I tell you all of this? You need to embrace the networking event and have a blast at the same time. Let me share how I made three new friends. I think you can too.
Many people, especially you ladies, look at me with pleading eyes saying, “I can’t brag about myself” when I remind them that they need to articulate why they’re awesome.
At a networking event, if you’ve done your homework, you can spend the evening telling people why others are awesome. Trust me on this one. It’s a blast. If you do nothing, do this.
STEP 2: BE THE WORST FRIEND EVER.
Fortunately, my network of Ladybadasses knows that if I’m at a networking event, I’ll ditch you almost immediately. Why? I’m that much of a jerk.
I’m kidding of course, but there is a grain of truth to it. I’m there to meet NEW people and as much as I might adore you, catching up on your awesome shenanigans is not why I’m there. I’ll give you a ride home or grab a bite after the event if we need to do that.
Seriously people, I know it’s safer and more comfortable to hang with those you know, but the whole point of these types of events is to connect with other people. They’re called “networking” events for a reason.
So tap into your inner jerk for just a second, pluck up your courage and jump into the fray. Then you, like me, might come out of an event with three new friends.
Don’t fear the networking event. It’s an opportunity to be an amazing friend and a terrible friend all in one evening.