Networking is one of those things that everyone knows they should be doing at any possible opportunity, but it truly is way harder than it looks…
“Just go and introduce yourself!” … ummm…and then what???
While I can and should introduce myself after taking a class from Monica Bill Barnes, networking isn’t just a one-time encounter where I tell her my name and then explain how much her confetti and batons inspired my dance about trees…like what?? After meeting 36542 other dancers who will share similar stories of how they have a
not-so-secret crush on her, my dance about trees is not likely going to have a lasting impression—AND the following will most definitely take place:
- There’s no way she’s actually going to remember my name in the long run
- She’s going to look at me like I’m a crazy person…and then wonder
- Why would confetti and batons inspire a dance about trees???
I don’t know if it’s because I choose the most inopportune times to pull out the shy-card, but it’s just not my style to assault someone and hope that they remember me years or even months down the road (…ok, I’ve done it like once or twice…but I think I was even more creeped out than the victim…). I’d rather form a connection with this person, if not a relationship, and have confidence that whatever encounter we’ve shared has been unique and memorable; even if they don’t remember my name, they’ll know my face and be able to recall my story.
Now as I’ve mentioned before, I am an architect of friendship bracelets. I view these gems as like icing on a cake, jelly to peanut butter, and a fake-tan to Snooki. If I can get you to wear one, or even better yet, WANT one of my fabulous creations, then I consider my task of networking well-accomplished.
**I may even have Dumbledore on friendship-bracelet probation right now for “losing” her first one last semester. (After I feel that she has adequately learned her lesson, she may have another.)**
There are many ways to get on a “friendship-bracelet basis” with someone, and sometimes a verbal exchange isn’t even necessary. A mentor of mine once told me that because I’m a female, in order to be noticed and then remembered, I must “whore myself out at any cost”. Uhhhhh I was like 12 at the time of this conversation…and honestly, I still don’t want to hear this. Well ladies (…and gents’…) the good news is, you’re not actually going to need a push-up bra or hooker-heels to spread THIS kind of magic around town.
All it really takes is some good, old-fashioned genuine charisma:
- Show up and make yourself noticed: stand to be seen, dance to be watched, and speak to be heard.
- Be present: If you’re taking a technique class, take risks and make it known that you’re enjoying yourself. If you’re sitting in on a lecture, take notes, make eye-contact, smile/nod, throw glitter… There’s nothing worse as a presenter than feeling like you’re talking to a room full of somnambulist-zombies… wake up out there!!!
- Be consistent: You can’t be throwing glitter one day and then sleeping in a pile of it another. If person of interest only ever sees you investing yourself 100%, person’s going to want some of that magic all up in their business.
- Stay humble: You will never (ever) have all of the answers…EVER. Make sure to have a huge piece of humble-pie every night before bed, and avoid becoming a diva at all costs.
My mother has always told me “you teach people how to treat you”. I’d say now’s the perfect time to start teaching the world that your fabulous friendship-bracelets are worth the investment, what say you???