Networking may be the bane of everyone’s existence. It’s unnatural, you can come on too strong but then run the risk of not being remembered. Then, there is always a likelihood that you will not have made any solid connections and basically just have wasted six hours of your life. One of the people I met in Berlin was having a launch party last weekend, and I decided to invest six hours of my life to hopefully make a good impression. So, here are things that I kept in mind to hopefully calm the nerves.
1. Most people do not know anyone else there either.
Okay. I definitely felt way out of the blue since this event was mostly friends and family, (and I was a total rando, arguably the most rando of the randos) but as one might expect, each of the co-founders of the company had their own sets of friends and family that sometimes even the other founder would not know. Really that means that everyone is just as confused as you are and in an uncomfortably comforting turn of events, essentially everyone is a stranger! WHOO.
2. It’s okay to take a few minutes to yourself to regroup.
If you run out of things to talk about, it is okay to excuse yourself to the bathroom or to grab more food. Mostly to grab more food because who doesn’t want free food? Sometimes there is a lull in the conversation and it just can’t seem to pick up, know there is nothing wrong with just taking some time to yourself for a hot sec. Talking surface level things can get really exhausting and you are totally valid in needing to step away to check your phone and grab a drink.
3. You will never have to see these people again if you do not want to.
If someone bores you to tears, makes you want to rip out your hair or is overly pushy about trying to get something from you, know that you will never have to see these people again if you do not want to. Granted, make meaningful relationships where you can, but if things are not going swimmingly or clicking perfectly, don’t worry about it. It’s all trial-and-error. Even if from one event, there is no one that you click with or have similar goals as, at least you have gotten practice for future events where you’ll have a whole other group of people to talk to.
Let’s be real, I am a total newbie at this networking thing and this may be awful advice. But what I do know is that in every single industry, it is always about who you know. Thus, networking is here to stay. So the more you get out there, I guess the better? Yes, there is a lot of small talk to be made, and a lot of polite laughs to be had. However, there are a ton of creative and intelligent people out there and hopefully at one of these events, they will make their way to you somehow. Everyone is really just as uncomfortable and confused as you in the long run, so know that you are not alone (because I am right there being an awkward bean with you.)