Networking for Dummies

This past weekend I walked into a party of 40 to 50 people and I only knew one person, the host.

I didn’t expect to feel awkward as an extroverted person. I go to networks events alone. I join organizations alone. I travel alone. I can do this, alone. 

When I arrived I sought out my friend (the host) as quickly as possible.
The key to connecting to everyone else in the room. Understandably, she was busy. It only bought me about 7 minutes. 

I could share the event on social media.
I know I shouldn’t spend too much time on my phone. I posted 1 video to my story. 30 seconds.

Time to move around.
Thank goodness the refreshments were separated from the food. I’ll grab a drink, 2 minutes, then I will put it down to grab food and walk back for 2 additional minutes.

It’s not awkward to be silent if I’m eating.
Well, that only took 3 minutes, perhaps I should worry more about dieting than socializing.

Making small talk with someone standing next to me could help. 
Or in my case a short conversation with a distant relative. 10 minutes.

My last attempt to kill time, the bathroom.
I pretended it was necessary to reapply some makeup even though it was fine because I just arrived, only 1 minute. Dang. Time to check my phone in the stall. I didn’t really have to pee. 3 minutes.

This isn’t like me. 

When I go to work, career-building or hobby related events I never have a problem asking a question to introduce myself….How was your flight over? Are you aware of what we provide our customers? What is your marketing niche? What do you do professionally outside of this? 

Before reaching the point when my time-wasting tactics will make it look like I have social anxiety, I blurted out my opener at a table of women with a few open seats. 

“Hi I’m Jess, I don’t know anyone. Can I sit here?”

Here is the thing. When we go to networking events, many of us are alone and we know we can’t rely on other people.   

If there is nobody there to introduce you, introduce yourself.

You are going to have to do it eventually, practice at a party. Don’t be like me and forget the same principles apply. 

It turned out to be a nice afternoon that I do not regret. 

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