Monday, March 30, 2009

Awkward moments of networking

I went to yet another young black professionals networking event and there were a lot of people in attendance, but I don't know too many people that like networking. There's just something strange about going to an event where you have a set agenda to exchange business cards and make small talk about topics you don't find that interesting. Oh yea, with people you don't know. Here are a few of my most awkward moments at social networking events and how to use them to work in my favor:

You're standing next to someone and you have no clue how or who should initiate the conversation: Turn to the person and talk about a recent current event that almost everyone knows about, like the AIG bonuses or American Idol; tailor the conversation to the type of event you are attending. If it's a music event talk about the best new song you are playing over and over again on Youtube and if its a medical event talk about the last article you read from a medical journal. Another really easy thing to do is complement the person on an article of clothing they're wearing and ask them where they got it from.

You've met the person before, but can't remember their name: Don't fake it, just tell them you're horrible at remembering their names and ask them, " Could you please tell me your name again; I'm good with faces, but horrible with names."

It's time for the small talk to end and you don't know how to end the conversation: Wait for that awkward moment of silence (you know the one I'm talking about) and say "It was really great talking to you (insert person's name while you reach for a business card and if you don't have one just smile), do you have a business card?" Then say something like I have to find my friend that I came with and haven't seen for the last hour or excuse yourself to the restroom or to get something to drink.

The person clearly isn't listening to you: Just say, "It was nice talking you, here's my business card." Or ask for their card and walk away. Don't waste your time on rude people

That's all I can think of for now, but if you have any moments you'd like to share then comment away!