QUICK POLL: How do you feel about networking? (in person events, etc)
My Facebook friends have very strong feelings about this topic. Here's the summary:
- Feels like speed dating.
- Terrible. I feel anxious every time.
- Live for it!!
- Awful, and not useful.
- I've gotten most (if not all) of my jobs from my connections and networking.
- I enjoy it.
- Gross. ESPECIALLY as an actor.
- If we called it just meeting people I think I'd prefer it better.
- Is this still a thing?
- Sooooo much better and more effective than sending emails.
- Death by small talk...
- I hate this awkward pretense of "selling" myself. Can we just talk like people?
- I've always been a huge advocate of CONNECTING but not NETWORKING.
How do I feel about networking?
I'm an improviser, storyteller, facilitator, teacher, which means I'm on a stage and in front of audiences all the time. Guess what? I still hate networking! Those awkward, unstructured events make my introvert side (I'm 50% intro/50% extro) swell into 100% "GET ME OUTTA HERE".
Also - business cards! What to do with them? After I connect with the person on LinkedIn I recycle them. Sorry people but that's the truth. (I miss the Bump app).
But I do like interesting, smart humans and if I just shift how I think about networking...It is about making connections with new people.
Here are some tips shared from a recent training I led with Shana Dressler for emerging designers from the Netherlands.
HOW TO NETWORK IN THE U.S (with a New York City bias)
- Know yourself - Practice your elevator pitch. (Make it a one liner and make me care)
- Know who’s in the room. (Research!).
- Know what you want from who’s in the room / the event. (Prep!)
- Be bold. As soon as you make contact introduce yourself. (Force yourself through the awkwardness!)
- Ask specific questions.
- Listen more than you talk.
- If someone is not giving you attention or interest - politely excuse yourself. (Don't waste your time, you've got at Netflix show to catch up on after).
- Take notes and follow up. (Not with everyone, only those people who you can learn from!)
Go forth and prosper.
Do you have other tips? Please share...