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socks and cat

How do you network at one of these things?

I'm going back to a monthly networking event this evening that I don't want to go to. My last experience there was not pleasant. It's women only and there are over 150 women packed into a restaurant/bar supposedly networking. But what I found is that they were really in tight little groups talking to one another and not really circulating. It was clicky.

I decided to do something that no one else was doing, go around and meet everyone and give everyone I talk to my card. I always started out by asking people what they did so they could offer me their services before I ever talked about mine (the polite thing to do). Then I ended every conversation by giving out my card and moving on. I couldn't figure out why I was the ONLY woman doing this in a networking event. How are you supposed to network at one of these things if not by circulating and giving out your card!?

I had to stop quickly though because my disability means I can't remember faces I just spoke to. So within minutes I was reintroducing myself to women I had just done so with not 5 minutes ago. Stupid brain disability, I wish I didn't have it! But because of it I realized I could no longer network around the room giving out my card without looking foolish for not remembering I had just spoken to the person I was talking to.

I'm only going back because my friend who owns another pole school in Seattle is doing a pole demo there. Can anyone suggest a way to network and break into the cliques without just circulating the entire room and giving my card to everyone? I would like to use this to my advantage and not let my disability make it useless and miserable.

Comments

Excellent idea! I actually invited two female business owner friends to go with me so they could also network while helping me. Sadly, both are not able to make it.
Maybe you should try passing out the cards to the various groups of women.
That's what I did last time. Girls in a group don't help me learn faces anymore than a girl standing alone. I an easily approach the same group 2 minutes later and have no idea I just spoke to them.
Work clockwise around the room. As the groups are clicky, the won't move too much. If you run into someone you already gave a card to, apologize saying with 150 people, just too many new faces.

The idea of bringing a friend along too, is also a good one. :)
The networking events I've gone to were more the sort where you focus on building just a handful of new business relationships and mass advertising yourself was generally frowned upon as being too pushy. It sounds like that might be the type your going to. If so, it's best to just pick out a group that you thin looks interesting. If they are sitting at a table, just ask if you can sit down and join them in conversation and follow their flow.

If after a few minutes it's clearly not working with that group, move on to another. Eventually, they will ask you about business and now you have a few new people. It's a PR game.

As far remembering names, I'm awful and it's even worse if someone calls you back a week later and you can't remember who it was. I'd suggest bringing a little notebook and jotting names and some information about the person (if you did the whole sitting with a group thing for awhile).
Thanks!