To close out our series on networking, I am going to tell you about my own networking experience this week and how I implemented the tips I have shared with you over the past few weeks. You can find them here and here.
The event I attended was the first networking event as a business person rather than an academic or artist. I was there to promote Acting for Scientists, the website, the live training and coaching services that I offer. Most importantly, however, my goal was to collect as many business cards as I could so I could begin to cultivate relationships with scientists and engineers in the Norfolk business community.
I walked into the room and I got scared. I looked around and my inner critic, Fran, started pumping my head full of her opinions about how I didn’t belong there, how cheap my business suit looked next to the ones the guys were wearing, what a fraud I was. And that was the scariest thing, here I was in a room full of people with whom I wanted to share my great idea and I was questioning my right to be there.
Spoiler: I didn’t die.
Two super heroes rescued me. The first was a woman, whom I didn’t know, who saw that I was too terrified to move away from the name tag table. She introduced herself and kindly said, “It’s hard when you don’t know anyone.” We chatted for a minute and I was able to find my secret confidence pose, thank Fran for her opinion and assign her a filing task, and remember that I like to be the person who draws others into the networking conversation.
I spotted someone who was looking around for someone to talk to. I asked about his work. I listened carefully. I connected his work to mine and he offered to introduce me to an engineer that he knew would be at the event.
Then I was rescued for a second time by a woman (who will live forever in my mind as my very own Wonder Woman) who works with my husband. She took me under her wing and introduced me to everyone she knew. I collected far more business cards than I hoped. AND I have followed up on every single one of my new contacts. Best of all, I met enough people that at the next networking event I can be Wonder Woman for someone else! I’m actually looking forward to it.
I would love to hear your networking story in the comments below.
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