Going to a Networking Event today…
And I am hoping that I stick to my rules on successful networking. I attended an event a few weeks ago and I broke almost every single one of my rules. Since my illness began 8 months ago I have been pretty much home-bound. I only see a handful of people and I don’t talk on the phone that much. HERMIT????!!!!
I was a bit shocked that I was feeling panicked when I walked into the event. I knew quite a few women there…in fact, many of them were from a networking group that I had organized and held for over a year. But since my stroke I have not seen or talked with them, or attended a crowded event.
Rule #1-Don’t talk too much.
So, I did what I always do when I get overly nervous, or feel like I am out of my element…I talked. And I talked, and talked and talked. My discomfort intensified when I realized that names were escaping me. Normally, I am really good at remember names…especially since many of these women supported the Networking Group that I had started. The odd thing…at one moment I knew their names…then when I needed to recall them…POOF! They were gone. So, while I was frantically mining the data-base of my mind to remember, my mouth decided to talk…non-stop…to cover for me…until I could remember.
I am not sure if this inability to recall is a residual from my stroke, or if I was just having a slight panic attack…I guess I will attempt to figure that out today….as I QUIETLY network.
Rule #2-Introduce yourself and ask questions.
There were some really fantastic women at the event…that I had never met…and still haven’t. I was so busy being panicked and too busy talking to shake their hand and find out who they were and what they do. It was an incredible opportunity…and I blew it!
In fact, I received a message after the event that reinforced my embarrassment…
“Enjoyed listening to you yesterday at Club Soda.”
She didn’t say that it was nice to meet me…or that it was nice to have a conversation with you…”it was nice LISTENING to you”…
Rule #3-The 60 second commercial.
I absolutely HATE this part of Networking. In fact, most networking gurus that I follow push “relationship marketing”over”commercial marketing” and I strongly agree. No one listens to the 60 second commercial…they are too busy thinking about what they want to say to really listen to you. But in relationship marketing…you shake hands, introduce yourself, form a bond…business will come from the relationship you have built.
So…I blew Rules #1 and #2…so of course I blew #3 also…I not only gave a 60 second commercial…I think I gave a 360 second commercial! I could not stop talking!
Even thinking of it now, I just want to sink into the hole in the ground that I talked myself into! How could any of these women not have walked away thinking that I was “all about me”? Arg! If our roles had been reversed, I know that’s what I would have thought!
As I am writing this, my palms are sweating! Let’s hope that I can attend this event, and listen much more than I talk! Gotta go get ready…Wish me luck!!!!