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Head straight to the bar, that’s where your people are! Make small talk with said people at bar, like:
"I’m so glad there is booze here"
"I hate networking, but you gotta do it" (awkward laugh).
Get some food in your hands, drink in the other – then awkwardly introduce yourself to another person, unable to shake hands and with no means to wipe the oily residue from your fingers.
Put food in your mouth just as someone asks you a question, such as “so what is your business?”
Listen attentively and ask intelligent questions of people so that you learn heaps about their business, but forget to actually tell them about your business until they’ve moved on.
Muse over whether it’s worth slipping your business card into said person’s pocket who has moved away from you, ninja style.
Get another drink – pace yourself, Linda.
Slip unnoticed into an existing conversation, smile and nod attentively, until you are noticed.
Just as you are noticed, you are interrupted by the MC calling everyone together for a presentation.
Stand politely and listen to the presentation, shuffling so that you can get a view around all the taller people in front of you, pretending not to be looking at your watch as the presentation runs longer than scheduled (awkward laugh again).
Finish drink, now you need to go to the toilet.
This is it, you’re going to do it – walk up, introduce yourself, hand over your business card. You've got this, you’re a professional!
Stop to listen to the MC giving an announcement – there is a car matching your car’s description that has parked another car in. Could the owner please move it?
Slip away ninja style and go home.
The events depicted here are a mixture of real events and my imagination! I love building relationships with people and getting to know their business, working in partnership with them to solve those problems that keep them up at night. So, if you do see me at a networking event in the future, come and say hi (awkward laugh) and hold my drink for me so that I can shake your hand!