To make the evening more tolerable, I had planned to meet a former coworker there, but either she didn't show up or I could not find her in the crowd (we're both vertically challenged, which is an additional hindrance). Over 400 people RSVP'd to attend last night's event, and I would say at least half that number were there during the hour and 15 minutes that I lasted before I ran screaming for the door (I'm being hyperbolic--I walked screaming for the door). It was loud. It was warm. It was crowded. It was a cash bar.
I was definitely outside my comfort zone. I'm not a terribly outgoing person, so approaching strangers is not my favorite thing to do. I tried, though . . . I struck up a few conversations, and spent the rest of my time trying to look approachable. I managed to hand out a few cards, and got a few as well. One gentleman even complimented my handwriting on my name tag.
What I did right:
- I went!
- I extended myself
- I made eye contact, smiled, and tried to be approachable
- I put not only my name but my company name on my name tag
- I could have approached more people
- I could have written my title (writer) on my name tag too--might have gotten more nibbles that way
For those of you who are more experienced and/or more comfortable networking, what's the best piece of advice you can give me for making my next networking event better?