A few weeks ago, I had the option to attend my first SMPS event. It was a mixer for new and prospective members and I would be going alone. When first asked if I wanted to partake in in the Society for Marketing Professional Services, it scared me. This would be something new; something I knew nothing about and people, tons and tons of people I didn’t know. So, I said yes. And when the invite to the mixer came up, I again thought about how scary going into a new environment with new people could be. And so… I said yes.
I left work early to get to the event in Lakewood on time. And though I got there on time, I sat in my car for about five minutes before going in. “How am I going to network with these people?” “What am I going to say?” “How am I going to introduce myself?” “I don’t even know what I’m talking about!” Despite all of those thoughts, I ambled into the event and a crowd of unfamiliar faces. I found my name tag, ordered a drink, and stood alone for a minute or two. Considered calling my mom to make myself look busy and not at all awkward.
And then finally, I walked up to a group of four and said, “I’m so sorry to interrupt but this is my first event. I’m Morgan.” Cue the onset of warm handshakes and kind smiles; stories of other members’ first events, and questions that led to getting to know one another.
Today, while thinking about what the subject of my blog post ought to be, I found an article titled, “9 questions the most interesting people ask to cut through small talk.” It briefly discussed the fears you may have while going into a networking event or a business lunch. And then, went on to discuss the ways in which you can combat those fears and make connections. While there is, of course, a list of questions to ask people, what stuck with me most was how we should show curiosity about someone’s story and then, listen to that someone with all of your being. I believe these things to be important in most settings; with most people, whether it’s work related or within your personal life. We should always be asking curious questions and yearning to truly listen to what other people have to say. In doing so, we can make new connections and even, new friendships.
So, here’s to the next business lunch, networking event, social gathering, or happy hour. Strike up conversations. Ask curious questions. Network. Get to know people. Oh… and don’t call your mom when you want to look busy and go introduce yourself to some complete strangers, instead.
Marketing & Office Assistant