If you want to be a super networker, focus on helping someone else every time you attend a networking event. I know networking events can seem scary, especially if you attend one alone and don’t know anyone there except the host. If you weren’t the popular kid in middle school or high school they can pull you back into nightmares of staring at the wall during the eighth grade dance. By helping someone else by sharing a resource or a new restaurant hot spot, you’ll soon feel the pressure of networking ease off and the nightmarish feelings of being awkward and embarrassed melt away.
Remember that you attend networking events to connect with others and expand your sphere of influence.
Next time you network try to
- Meet five new people in two different fields
- Get introduced to two people who are friends of your friends
- Get more business cards that you give away
- Answer at least three people’s questions
And remember, after your networking event follow up with your new contacts mentioning how nice it was to meet and shoot them a link or resource to make their day a bit brighter. If you want to find out more tips on avoiding the nightmares of networking, check out Eventbrite’s tips in their article here. Eventbrite is the largest self-service ticketing platform in the world helping people find and plan events. If you are interested in planning your own event check out their event management software.
How to Network, According to Boba Fett
I’ve been a Star Wars nut since 1977 and have many stories to tell about how Star Wars saved my life. As an entrepreneur and editor-for-hire I’ve had to frequently step out of my comfort zone and ask for clients to pay up when they owe me money. I often wanted a tough bounty hunter at my side who would help me motivate my clients—I thought of none other than Boba Fett, the most notorious bounty hunter in the Star Wars galaxy. Fett, hired by Darth Vader, found Han Solo and his Rebel friends by using his smarts and resources. Vader decided to freeze Han Solo in carbonite before Fett could hand him over to Jabba the Hutt, for even more money. This decision did not sit well with Fett who understood the freezing process could kill his bounty, which would mean he would get no money. Fett told Vader, “What if he (Han Solo) doesn’t survive—he’s worth a lot to me.” This simple exchange doesn’t sound like much unless you understand that NO ONE questions Darth Vader without getting Force choked to death. And Boba Fett stood inches from Vader’s face, not afraid of him at all. That’s why I like this guy’s entrepreneurial spirit and wanted to make him one of my heroes in my book of poems, Heroes without Capes.
According to me, after Boba Fett falls down into the Sarlacc monster, he emerges into our world and eventually makes his way to Raleigh, North Carolina, where he gives up alcohol and realizes that the bounty hunter lifestyle is not a healthy one. Because of this, he has to network, expand his circle and make friends out of strangers. Enjoy my poem below which chronicles Boba’s social anxieties and burgeoning networking skills.
Boba Fett Tries Some Networking
The sign-in lady watches me scribble
my first name with a Sharpie, stick the tag on my polo,
and grab the red drink ticket.
Water will do fine—bars, cantinas—no difference.
Look at that creature guzzling his last drop,
yeah, that was me a month ago on a cracked cushioned stool.
Don’t know anyone here in this crowd of 300,
but that tall guy in the black jacket
is trying to pick up the blonde Realtor
judging from her earnest smile and dangling earrings.
Lots of hot women arriving after their salon
visits, fanning their business cards,
flicking their purses when they decide time’s up.
When they ask what I do I say, “Headhunter,”
hand them my new cards with my LinkedIn address.
The chatter bounces off the walls—poor insulation,
I see no fire alarms—OCD is kicking in,
my throat aches even though I haven’t said anything.
Lapping the room twice, I inhale a barbecue sandwich—
the vinegar kills me. I miss a sweet mustard base.
“What do you do?” I say after approaching Red and her circle.
Start with a question—show interest; this is how you make friends.
She’s a lawyer wanting to partner with someone like me—
reliable and no disintegrations.
But Red’s hand stays on my arm too long,
and her voice sears like clean whiskey.
I excuse myself, picking up another sandwich to go.
But then I turn around and push through oak door:
I’m tired of getting all my new business from strangers.
(published in Heroes without Capes, available at Amazon)
More about Alice Osborn
Alice Osborn’s past educational and work experience is unusually varied, and it now feeds her work as a poet, as well as a speaker, an editor-for-hire and a popular writing coach. In the past decade, Alice has taught classes and writing workshops to thousands of aspiring authors of nearly all ages from 9 to 90 both around the corner and internationally. Heroes without Capes is her most recent collection of poetry; previous collections are After the Steaming Stops and Unfinished Projects. Alice is also the editor of the anthologies Tattoos and Creatures of Habitat, both from Main Street Rag. A North Carolina Writers’ Network board member and a Pushcart Prize nominee, her work has appeared in the News and Observer, The Broad River Review, The Pedestal Magazine, Soundings Review and in numerous journals and anthologies. When she’s not editing or writing, Alice is an Irish dancer who plays guitar and violin. She lives in Raleigh, North Carolina, with her husband, two children and four very messy and loud birds. Visit Alice’s website at www.aliceosborn.com.