You reach your venue, alone. Your heartbeat increases, and your charisma walks out on you, making you feel lonely in that sea of a crowd. You walk in to a hall full of people, trying to make an eye contact with someone, but everyone seems so busy to even notice you.
If you have attended a social networking event where you do not know even one person, then you are familiar with this situation. Sharing my own experience which was terrific by the way… Part 1 of 6
A high energy women’s networking event
Yesterday, I got an opportunity to attend a women’s networking event Sheroes Summit Delhi 2018. I had been looking forward to this event for some time and had registered much earlier.
But as the event drew nearer, I started having second thoughts about attending it. The reason. I did not have a friend or acquaintance attending it and it was a full day event. How would it turn out, I wondered.
SHEROES Summit, a platform of Sheroes India, connects women professionals and businesses. It is Asia’s largest working women forum. Sheroes Summit 2018 was a 5-city affair with a focus on community building. It was an opportunity to interact with my Sheroes community.
The rules of networking
Being part of a community is a give-and-take. While you become better, your community benefits from your contribution. Popularly called networking, it is one of the best tools available to further your career be it job search, business relations or freelancing, and networking events are like breeding grounds to expand your professional community and gain valuable contacts.
Attending a social event is much more than showing up, grabbing free snacks, and swapping business cards. It's about building new relationships and expanding your professional community. And this inspired me to attend the event despite my hesitation.
They say old habits die hard. As I stepped into the lobby of Hotel EROS International that day, as if that was a trigger, in my mind I check listed the items that I would need that day – the invite, my visit cards, visit card wallet, small note pad if need be and so on.
All of my initial fears of being lonely in the crowd and the fear of the uncertain vanished. It was as if I was getting ready to step in for one of my report presentations or marketing events. As the Project Manager of the fastest growing MR consultancy of Kuwait (where I worked for many years), meeting and interacting with new clients was a regular part of my job.
True it had been a long time since my job, but this time I was going to be the audience, a guest. I knew what I needed to do and how to go about it.
In the elevator, I smiled at my naivety, as the memories of the first event that I had attended flashed in my mind. My rich experiences will always be with me. As leaders, artistes, entrepreneurs, achievers and more came together to connect and share their experiences, the audience felt inspired and responded zealously to them.
The Summit was a wonderful experience that gave me opportunity to meet new people and make new connections. Silly me, I was going to skip it.
Being part of good communities helps in personal growth. And good communities are the ones that give all the members equal opportunities and equal share of guidance and benefits.
If you face a similar dilemma and don’t have an earlier memory to help you through, recall other similar situations like a private party that you may have attended, where you hardly knew anyone, and the host was probably busy with the arrangements. Recall how well that went. If not, prepare to do better this time.
Make new friends
Sometimes, we miss good opportunities if we are not suitably prepared. Whatever may be our expectation from these events, our personal impact and communication skills are essential for our betterment. To make sure we get the most out of these events, it is important to prepare for it suitably.
Remember that first rule that you were instructed to follow. Do not talk to strangers. Well, be ready to break it. Be ready to make new friends and expand your community. Because it's all about building your community.
In the following posts I intend to share my learnings about networking effectively in community events and other formal large gatherings.
Author's Note: I am taking my Alexa rank to the next level with Blogchatter.