(Author’s Note: Today’s post is inspired by Norah Jones’ “Don’t Know Why.”)
Rhetorical question: Have you ever been invited to an event, thought it would be “good for you” to attend, RSVP’d in the affirmative that you’d be there… then not shown up? This happens more frequently than most of us would like to admit.
Next question: Why were you a no-show? Something come up? Car trouble? Not in the mood for bad wine and shrimp cocktail? Just couldn’t bring yourself to attend another seemingly useless, awkward and uncomfortable networking mixer?
Believe me, I get it, those events can feel pointless and fruitless and scary and lonely. But, they don’t have to! The next time you are scheduled to attend an event and you’re having trouble motivating yourself to get in the car and go, double-down, reframe your thoughts and show up!
Take these tips into consideration:
- A little prep-work can diminish your anxiety. In anticipation of a networking event, do a little prep-work to consider who might be in attendance, what companies or organizations will be represented and who you want to be sure to say hello to before the event ends. Your advance efforts will help to put you in the right frame of mind for productive interactions during your time there and ease any misgivings you may have about attending the event.
- Half the battle is showing up. When I think back on the times in my life – work-related, community-related and/or purely social in nature – that being in the right place at the right time yielded unbelievable opportunities that I would not otherwise have had access to, I have to pinch myself and thank my lucky stars that I bothered to be there. (Makes me think of the time in 1995 I found myself in Grand Central Station at just the right time to catch a front row spot to a free, surprise Carly Simon concert… you can bet that’ll be inspiration for another November blog post….)
- 1, 2 or 3. The most productive and effective networking events are not a numbers game – they are a quality-focused game. If you connect with one, two or three people in a meaningful way – that is, if you meet or reengage with at least one person who you want to follow up with and who wants to follow up, too, YOU WIN! You now have my permission to leave. But, hey, if you’re having fun, feel free to stick around to interact with others!
By following the ideas outlined above, with few exceptions, I find great value in networking events – they can be highly efficient, effective ways to touch base with a number of people with whom I would like to build – or continue to build – productive relationships.
How do you gear up for networking events? Please share your thoughts with the CLC Community at CoffeeLunchCoffee.com. Happy Networking!