The Truth About Networking

Hi all,

Last night I attended yet another networking event that probably gave me the opportunity to get myself known to a few more people in the event planning industry (within this association). This particular networking event was hosted by one of the associations I am member of and it took place at the Hyatt Regency hotel in Crystal City, VA.

The event was on the rooftop and the view was amazing! (totally worth having an event there) and the music and food was spectacular. The music was very soothing and the food tasty as ever!

I think this has been my fifth networking event that I’ve gone to since I started to enter the industry and let me tell you that it is exhausting. I know some people who go to a lot more, but a girl has enough time, energy, and money to attend these things.

As exhausting as it is, I am slowly accepting the fact that it is a good thing. I’ve met many vendors, planners, and other special event industry professionals that I probably would have never hear of if  hadn’t gone. So, remember the time when you were in college and your professor talked about or the many articles you read about the “best way to get an interview”? Well, I hope you took them seriously because I feel like you are put to the test on these types of occasions.  At every networking event I’ve gone to people ask me: So, why are you in this industry? What do you want to do? Do you want to work on the vendor side? Non-profit or corporate? Social events?  What are your strengths that can help us in our committee, and I stand there looking at them and thinking..this sucks! It’s like being back in college and talking to the interviewer at a job you would really (or not really) want to have. And I also learned that the more prepared you are, the easiest it will be.

Last night, for example, was not one of my best times. I was sort of really tired because I felt like I’ve had a long week already between my job and other things, and also the event was so small, I promise I felt like I was in a knit tight family event. So, I had to try really hard to break out of my shell and approach the very few people there and start a conversation.

A funny thing also is that at most of these events, the attendees are all already working in this industry, meaning they are not looking for a job, and so they are there to get business, not to talk to a student that wants to learn more about opportunities. Usually, the members at these organizations are sent by their companies to network and get business, so they are not really concern about filling up an opened position in the company unless they are in that department and really need someone to fill it up.

Like I said, last night was not my best, and I am positive that I was making some of them yawn with my unprepared and so not captivating speech about my new career and aspirations. I even made myself yawn! Honestly, I get tired at the same questions but at the end of the day, they don’t know anything about me, so I have to repeat it over and over again just how they repeat they speech about what their company provides over and over again.

So, I really hope you understood the reason for this post, but in case you didn’t, my final words are: fake that you are feeling miserable when networking, and having a prepared and captivating response to the most common questions is going to be a life saver because they will be more interested in what you will have to say and you will feel more confident for the next event!

With love,
Natalie

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