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Friday, May 10, 2013

The Joys of Networking

I'm being both ironic and realistic with that title, since despite all the networking I do, in a variety of ways, I don't always love it. For example, I had to force myself to attend a big networking event in NYC last night, that, naturally turned out awesome...and I'm not even referring to the open bar. Though that was also awesome.

But yesterday afternoon, I mentioned to a client I was going to this event and she said something like, "I'll bet you go and talk to like 15 people...right?" Insert here a mental image of my eyebrow moving into my hairline. 15 people?? I'm going to a professional networking event, not doing drugs at an all-night rave in a deserted warehouse! Christ, I've gone to birthday parties of people I've known since like the second grade, and still only spoken to about 5 of them! If I'm talking to 15 people at one event, you'll know that my cult is getting ready to drink the Kool-Aid, as the ATF starts fire-bombing the bunker.

Let's all be realistic. Networking is tiresome; it's hard, it takes time and it's a process. It's a process of
being real with ourselves and others, of making emotional connections, of helping's a damn long process! People have these crazy ideas that other people like networking, or that other people find it easy, or that networking should be easy and so they freak themselves out, and build up these events into some kind of closing credits to a John Hughes film. Then, when they really go to an event, and maybe speak to only 2-3 people and don't have a job in 5 minutes, they're pissed and frustrated and say, "Well, I networked once. It didn't work."

No, you didn't work it. You have to go to these events with a realistic, yet upbeat attitude. You have to smile at everyone, wear something clean and professional, bring business cards and, crucially: know what you are selling. Why are you at this event? (If you say, "to hook-up," I swear to god...) What are you looking for? If you're looking for a job, what kind of job, in what industry, and what do you have to offer? Have you researched the guest list and mentally prepared a list of whom you should speak to and why? Have you cleaned up your LinkedIn profile, and general social media footprint, so when people Google you, they don't see you doing naked drunk keg-stands? ( Btw: up top, bro!) Do you have an elevator pitch?

Sigh. Some of you are rolling your eyes and thinking, "Ugh, Carlota, that sounds like a lot of work." Okay...but this is your life. Aren't you worth it? Aren't your goals worth the work? Isn't a life spent doing interesting things which use the best of what you have to offer worth it? (PS: I think you can still work a drunken keg-stand or 100 into that mix. I'm not a tyrant.)

Want some help getting your mind right for networking? Damn right you do! Email me @, and like my Facebook page, "Carlotaworldwide Creativity Yenta," for a free consultation!


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