Networking for Newbies
I am a newbie at Digital Doughnut, and I am also quite the novice at networking. I still haven't quite worked out whether I am actually a confident person or quite good at acting like it.
I am a newbie at Digital Doughnut, and I am also quite the novice at networking. I still haven’t quite worked out whether I am actually a confident person or quite good at acting like it.
Sometimes I could chat the back legs off a donkey, and sometimes I freeze, I forget how to talk to people. I lose all ability to be a normal human being and have an actual conversation with someone. I panic that I don’t have anything in common with anyone. What if they find me boring? Digital Doughnut is known for it’s networking events, I have to live up to this expectation that I too will be a social butterfly. When actually I still feel like a caterpillar gorging on my Galaxy Ripples, waiting for that day I will flawlessly fly around the room and chat to people I have never met before.
So I thought, how do I stop myself aimlessly wondering around a room, or standing by myself? Effortlessly aloof is not something I can pull off. I know I am being watched to make sure I am “working” and not just hiding. My idea of doing the Peter Kay run around the room, to make it look like I’m busy isn’t going to work. The rooms aren’t always big enough, sometimes the only thing to do is chat.
Crunch time, it’s time to talk
My plan of action becomes, pick someone on their own as well. Genius, I know. That way it’s easier than joining people already deep in conversation. No one wants to do the awkward hover, looking over someone’s shoulder, trying to edge your way into the conversation. I’m too short for that, it can never work.
Don’t play it cool
I am quite bad at doing this anyway so I thought I would play to my strengths, telling people exactly how awkward I am feeling and how nerve racking I find it talking to new people. Works every time, it’s either sympathy (I’ll take it) or they feel the same way too and feel more relaxed that you have just got rid of the awkward turtle in the room. They might even give you tips on how they do it, that’s a conversation, it counts as talking to someone!
Cilla, you life saver
What’s your name chook and where do you come from? Blind Date gave me the groundings for the opening questions for networking, and I didn’t even know it. After that the wine/beers take over and you can end up chatting about a whole range of random conversations, sometimes they even relate to work.
Can I really say these are tips? Or is this just a way of humiliating myself even more?
So really all I do is pick the loners and tell them you’re a loner too. Once you’ve bonded it’s then easier to bring other people into your “gang”. So I then look for anyone who is on their own, looking lost and wanting to talk to someone I just say “Hey loner, join the loners” I know what it’s like to be that one on your own. You are desperately trying to look comfortable and confident that your happy with your glass as your only companion.
Join the loners!
I have no idea if this counts as something that is useful to anyone or just a way for me to overshare, as always. If you would like to see me in action probably being way too honest about how rubbish I am at networking, but hey at least everyone now knows I am trying. I will be at Digital Doughnut’s Meet Ups every last Tuesday of the month at Far Rockaway in Shoreditch.
What are your networking tips? I am always interested in becoming that butterfly.