Every time I attend a networking event I run into at least one person looking for work. Every. Single. Time. Some of them have recently lost their job, others have been unemployed for a long time.
Whatever their situation, most of them are there with a friend or colleague.
This is a big mistake.
While networking should be part of your life (looking or not) you’ll get a lot more out of events if you go to them alone. Here’s why.
If you go to an event with a friend or colleague, you’ll likely spend most of your time with them. You’ll chat over cocktails and sit together at dinner.
Will you meet other people?
But, not nearly as many as you would meet if you were there by yourself.
I attend a lot of networking events. I know how tough it is to head out to a room full of strangers after a long day at the office. I’d rather plunk down in front of the TV too.
But, the truth is I almost always enjoy myself once I’m there. And I generally go alone.
Networking doesn’t need to be painful, particularly if you plan talking topics ahead of time.
- Research the speaker – everyone has a website today, pick up some ideas there.
- Spend 30 minutes online – scan the news and find a few noncontroversial stories.
- Research the organization – again, even the smallest organizations have a website.
Make a deal with yourself that you’ll attend your next networking event alone. If you must go with a friend or colleague, agree that you’ll have cocktails together but sit at different tables at dinner. That way you’ll ensure some time on your own.
You’ll be surprised how much you’ll get out of these occasions when you make it a point to go alone. You’ll most certainly talk to a few talk to people you don’t know. You may even meet a new friend.