She Is Focused

April 3, 2009

Networking Events…Just Another Happy Hour

Filed under: Chat 'bout — Felicia @ 1:18 am

A lot of people strongly believe in the assumption that to make it in the “biz”, it’s all about who you know. In many cases this is true, but there are also those who whole-heartedly go after what they want full force without the help of others. Networking 101I’ve been attending a new networking event that takes place once a month at Nightingale Lounge located in the Lower East Side. The event was started by two young ladies who came up with a brilliant idea of bringing women in entertainment together; both established and those trying to find their niche.

All types of women from publicists, choreographers, songwriters, makeup artists and journalists like myself have attended. I made a few connections with some ladies who had pretty interesting stories to share. Sometimes though when I leave these types of gatherings, I wonder to myself what did I get out of this? With the exception of this and a couple others, most “networking” events seem to be just a place to hangout and chop it up with people you already know. No one ever really seems to network.

I’m guilty at times, but people at these events never seem to go outside of their comfort zone and walk up to new faces and introduce themselves. It’s a long-standing adage that it’s much easier to approach a man than it is to approach another woman. Is it easier to approach men?Women have a tendency to put on a “who are you” stance that makes them unapproachable. This is not always the case as I’ve met several ladies here in NYC that were friendly and always willing to help others no matter what level of success they’ve acquired. However when you’re in a position where you are the one being pursued for a helping hand, you come across people who are clearly out to leech. You only hear from them when they want something and they act as though it’s your obligation to help them. You can spot these types of folks from a mile away.

So the question holds place; are networking events really helpful, or do we attend just for the free drinks? I can honestly say that I don’t really care for them. I don’t mind attending new events because I know it may be beneficial to me and my career cause let’s face it, that’s the whole point right? I also don’t mind attending those who are hosted by positive people who are sincerely doing it as a means for others to connect with one another. For now though, next time you find yourself in an environment where no one knows the next person and everyone has already gravitated towards their self-made clicks, be kind to the bartender. That may be your best connect for the night….cheers!

– Felicia

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1 Comment »

  1. Interesting assessment…good angle (as usual 🙂

    My thoughts:

    Networking at a social event in hopes of making business contacts can be very successful. People are more relaxed in a social setting. Their guard is down; they are not on the prowl for new contacts nor are they waiting to dissect any pitch that comes their way. In the company of family and friends, people will let their hair down and be open to making new social connections. This kind of environment can let you approach people who may be too busy to talk to you normally, or people whom you find intimidating in a business setting. Networking at a social event means you don’t even have to talk business. You can cement a social relationship with someone that in turns opens the door for a business relationship.

    You also need to pay close attention to the reaction of the people to whom you are speaking. Some people do not appreciate someone encroaching their personal space. If you notice their eyes glazing over or frantically looking for an escape route, back off. If you’re not sure, don’t be afraid to speak up and ask if it’s ok to talk business for a few minutes. If it just doesn’t feel right, tell the person it was nice to meet them, and offer to swap business cards so you can arrange a more appropriate time to talk. Rather than letting that golden opportunity slip away.

    The 6 Degrees of Separation rule is valid and running rampant right now. So, always handle yourself professionally in a social setting because you never know who “knows so and so”. It could open up an opportunity you’ve been searching for a long time. Acting a fool and getting to tipsy or drunk could leave a bad mark on your reputation.

    Sidenote:

    Just to go off a quick tangent: Successful Professionals need to be a little bit more serious as “community involvement and powers in numbers” . Too many shootings, drug related incidents and other acts of violence (especially in the black community) that is unacceptable. Instead of Networking Happy Hours, how about Networking Community Services. This is not the norm…We need to define the NORM. Maybe it could be more meaningful than a “vodka and cranberry” or “gin and tonic”…

    So when you look in the mirror every morning ask yourself: “What can I do more? What is my purpose for being here and what else can I do to better this world? You can either just be tombstone with (-) or leave this world with a mark. Leave your mark peoples, leave your mark!

    Just My Thoughts..

    – JWFIII “Snake Eyes”

    Comment by John Fraser — April 5, 2009 @ 8:42 am | Reply


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