As necessary as it is to get by, and get ahead, networking in northern Virginia can be scary. It’s not always easy to walk into a room full of strangers and strike up a conversation. But see, here’s the thing: Everyone has come to the same networking event for the same thing, to meet strangers.
And if that doesn’t make you feel better, just remember:
The following horror stories were originally collected and published by The Fast Track.
“I once was asked to attend a dealers forum for our company. This was very early in my career, and I had never attended a conference like this at all. Most of the others attending were all company owners or C-level executives, and I was just a low-level new employee, but the only one in my company who was able to fly out on short notice. I’m very quiet and reserved to start with, plus new to the industry and was surrounded by people who ran companies. I felt completely out of my element the entire time I was there, so I was thrilled when the final lunch was being served and everyone would be leaving for the airport afterwards. I slip in to the luncheon, find an open seat at a table, smile politely, and I’m just counting the minutes to slip out and get home. Part of the final luncheon is a “champagne toast,” so the waiters begin bringing around glasses of champagne for everyone. As the final closing remarks are being made, a waiter dumps the entire tray of drinks he is carrying directly on my head and suit. Obviously the entire room reacts to the crashing noise, and literally 10 hotel staff members rush in to “assist” me. Mortified does not even begin to describe my feelings. To top it off, our suitcases had already been collected and sent ahead to the airport, so I got to fly from the West Coast back to the East coast in a suit drenched in champagne. I shudder just thinking back on it.”
“I attended a multi-day conference that provided all meals for attendees in an effort to have everyone network during said meals. Breakfast each morning was held in an area accessed by walking down a flight of stairs. I was headed down the stairs, looking into the room to see who was already at breakfast and thinking about who I might eat and chat with. I lost my footing and rolled/bounced all the way down to the breakfast area with my laptop tumbling behind me. Of course, everyone stopped eating and talking and started gasping and staring. Everyone knew who I was after that!”
“I got over my crippling social anxiety and attended a blogging/networking event on behalf of my employer – a children’s educational company. I got in touch with a few people, made a few friends, started passing my business card around. I got invited to an event that evening, and threw my card in the fishbowl for the raffle – a bunch of the sponsors had put in gift baskets.
Lo and behold, I won! Oh, did I win. About $300 worth of sex toys. My name was gleefully plastered all over the twittersphere, along with pictures of my bounty. Needless to say, I was not able to capitalize on my newfound fame on behalf of my incredibly mortified and ‘how can we erase the internet?’ employer.”
Rest assured that your experience will surely be better than those poor souls’.
Gather a little gumption, and make the most out of your next professional networking event. Have fun, and if you’re ever hosting a corporate event in Fairfax, Virginia, you know who to call for catering: Silver Spoon Caterers.