The Opposite of Networking is Not Working

In Chapter 6 of The Millennial’s Playbook to Adulting, I give eight networking 101 tips. Even though I secretly hate going to networking events, I understand their value especially in a field like mine where I am independent consultant and a lot of opportunities for my firm are based on connections. Tonight, I attended a networking event, and after I got home I evaluated myself against my 8 tips. Here’s my score card:

Tip #1: Do some homework before the event.
Grade: F
Why: This was actually an event where they publish the name and titles of attendees before the event. Even though I registered last week, and I had every intention of looking up the attendees and “maybe” even reaching out to a few people, life/work got in the way and I didn’t get to it.

Tip#2: Create your own elevator speech
Grade: B+
Why: My firm is going through a rebrand and tonight’s event was my first time to give my new elevator speech. While I think I winged it well, I should have probably practiced it out loud a few times before the event.

Tip #3: Target the right arrival time
Grade: B
Why: The event was from 6-8pm. I planned to arrive at 6.30pm and needed to leave at 7.45pm. I arrived at 6.45pm which was a great time, but I had to slip out during the “thank you for coming” speech from the hosts and did not get to close out a convo.

Tip #4: Set a goal of meeting at least three new people at an event
Grade: A+
Why: Talked to 6 people, got 3 business cards and gave 4 people mine.

Tip #5: Step up to the singles
Grade: A+
Why: 2 of the 6 people I talked to had the desperate look of someone please talk to me. So I did.

Tip #6: Mix and mingle and mix some more.
Grade: A
Why: For an event I was only at for an hour, meeting 6 people means I was spending about 10 minutes with each person. Of the six only one was I at a loss for how to end the conversation, but luckily she eventually said she had to head out (sigh of relief).

Tip #7: Don’t be afraid to join a convo
Grade: C
Why: When I first walked into the event there was a group near the door who I wanted to join but I wasn’t “ready” just yet. Instead I headed to the bar, and naturally joined the conversation of the group standing in line for a drink. Sometimes alcohol is an easy ice breaker.

Tip #8: Exchange info with (almost) everyone you meet.
Grade: B-
Why: I got 3 cards of the 6 people I met. One women forgot her cards.  Another woman walked away before I could ask for her card. The last gentleman I was talking to we never got a chance to exchange info because the program started and I had to leave out.

Overall, I think I did good. Key info questions were, have you attended this event before and my go-to, what brings you here? Next step is to send an email to the 3 people I met tomorrow, and connect with them on LinkedIn.

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