Ah networking, it’s a necessity of the working life.
I’ve always been slightly reluctant to engage in it, simply because I’m not one of those that can pretend to like someone if I don’t. With me it’s always been what you see is what you get. So going to networking events where people are just talking to you because of where you work or who you know is just superficial to me. However, connections are a big part of getting through life, the next job, or the next big opportunity. In marketing especially, it’s about the connections you have and how they can help you in the future.
I went to an event last night to hear a speaker talk about his book, and they had some time before the presentation for networking. After recognizing no one aside from my coworkers, I finally saw a familiar face of someone who I had met previously. He walked up to say hi and the conversation was actually fun. Before the networking session was over, we knew more about each other and what we could do to help each other in business. As I was driving home, I was thinking about this whole notion of networking and how it can work for me.
It’s not about making instant friends or getting people to like you. It’s really about a group of people with the same goal- say hi, collect a business card, add them to their linkedin network, and keep them in mind should they ever have to name drop. Rarely are real friends made, and you know that going in. For me, it helps to have a reason to talk to someone at a networking event. Now I won’t say that I’m instantly comfortable with the idea of networking, but I’ve found a new perspective to make it work for me personally.
It also doesn’t hurt that these events usually have alcohol 🙂