Networking: Needs Improvement

I went to a work party tonight and totally bombed. I did all the things you aren't supposed to do when networking, including:

1) Staying with the group of friends with whom I came instead of using them as a base from which to work the room.

2) Avoiding openers about the party or current events from which I could engage a stranger in further conversation.

I don't know what got into me. I always whine that I need more opportunities to meet and greet the movers and shakers and there I was recoiling in my characteristic shyness. Unfortunately, that gets you nowhere on the Hill.

The nail in the coffin was when someone I thought knew me started to explain an inside joke. I didn't think it was polite to correct him but I felt awkward at having him explain something I already knew. But he's a big wig and I tend to clam-up in their presence. Is it a failing of me (my personality) or a failing of my sex to have such a tendency for passivity?

I don't think I can afford to figure it out. I need help ASAP as the prime networking season is upon us. Next week, Members return and newly elected Members will be scouting staff. Time to call-in my career mentors for a pep talk.


Organica said...

I feel ya - I was at an alumni reception for my school at the conference I went to, and I totally was not in the mood to walk up to random adults and strike up conversation. So I just talked to current students and staff. But now I realize it was a mistake, because I learned that a person I had been wanting to meet was there!

Networking feels so rewarding after the fact, when you've have a good conversation and secured a business card. But I understand how daunting it can feel if you're not in the right mood.

I hope that the changeover results in a great new position for you on the Hill!

Hippo Q. said...

Yes, that's why I miss my networking partner, A-M. We conquered so many networking events together. But I guess we were each other's "training wheels." It's now time to do it own our own.