Part of my current job is to attend networking events and meet people for the company. Most of these events are about being friendly now and talking business later — “oh these desserts are to die for!” or “I just love that bag!” followed by a quick exchange of business cards and a follow up email the next day.
Schmoozing at its finest!
This weeks event was The Greater Washington Board of Trade’s annual Fall Classic — held at the historic Anderson House which is now a museum.
Delicious food, open bar, harp and piano players, and a night time view of the museum? Really quite swanky and I got to meet some very high level players from around the greater DC area as well as a few people with relations to Rochester! (we’re secretly taking over, I know)
Here are a few take away’s I think are worth sharing:
Remember those events at school where they taught you how to act at a networking event? GO TO THEM. Really, I went to one and the ability to not stuff my face with pumpkin ravioli while speaking to the CEO of Pepco really came in handy, as well as remembering to leave my hand empty for shaking and what to do when someone asks you a question and you’re still chewing
Consider what you’re drinking. I’m more of a beer gal (woo wine tour memories still hurting) but this allows me to easily carry around my drink without worrying about spillage and is generally a conversation point for men. As long as you don’t get sloshed you’re probably good so limit yourself to 2 drinks. (have done more, have regretted it)
Wear something colorful! This may seem counter intuitive but these things are filled with people in black suits (see picture above). If you’re a guy, consider a bright tie or shirt that day beneath the jacket. If you’re a girl a bright dress or skirt. This advice was given directly to me by a sponsor of the event, because when pointing someone out to go speak to you can rarely find or describe everyone based solely on “black jacket” because that describes everyone. I made the fortunate and totally unintentional decision to wear a bright blue work dress so not only was I easy to find in the crowd, it was another conversation piece! (A CEO told me she thought it was fabulous and a conversation instantly started)
Please always look up directions before you go. The Anderson House is only 4 blocks from the metro but by the time I was out my phone had died and although I was slightly turned around I was able to find my way back because I had studied a map beforehand. Just common sense, especially for someone who’s phone has the battery life of…well about 3 hours.