Embarrassing things happen all the time but what do you do if you find yourself in the ultimate embarrassing situation at a networking event? Networking events are the one place where we pride ourselves on putting our best foot forward; making that perfect first impression.
Last year, Moo.com asked their Facebook followers to share their most embarrassing networking stories. As you will see, the responses ranged from the simple blunders to some pretty unusual errors in judgment.
Do any of these sound familiar? Whether you have had your fair share of slipups or have nightmares about the possibilities, this will prove that at least you aren’t alone.
Pop on over to our Facebook page and tell us YOUR most embarrassing networking story.
See you there~
(Camel is walking through an office suite)
Camel: “Uh-oh! Guess what day it is?? Guess what day it is! Huh…anybody? Julie! Hey…guess what day it is?? Ah come on, I know you can hear me. Mike Mike Mike Mike Mike… What day is it Mike? Ha ha ha ha ha ha! Leslie, guess what today is?”
Since this commercial aired, everywhere you turn someone is referencing the Hump Day camel. If you have not seen a pin on Pinterest, an Ecard on Facebook or received an email with a hump day camel reference, I dare say that you are in the minority (for which you should be thankful).
But let me ask you this…when you think about that commercial does your mind immediately go to the company it represents? Is it an entertaining commercial that takes you a minute to remember the brand? Do you remember the brand at all?
Now think back to another commercial you love. It would depend where you are located geographically but here in the southeast the Publix commercials come to mind. During the holiday season they have a few commercials with no words at all, just music. When it hear that music (no matter where I am or what I’m doing) I immediately think of Publix.
The difference between the two has to do with how they make you feel. Although both commercials are enjoyable, the emotions that they stroke and connection that they make are very different.
Now think about your personal brand. When you network, meet people, attend luncheons or talk to others about your brand, how easily will they remember you days, weeks or months down the road? Did you represent your personal brand in a way that will allow it to be an instant recall in their minds much like the wordless Publix commercial? Will it be the enjoyable encounter that lacks the POP needed to be instantly memorable?
Taking the time to make a true connection is the difference. A true connection can happen when you focus less on yourself and more on others. So often we put the emphasis on telling others what we do and how our brand/service/product can help them that we forget to find out exact what their needs are first. Ask questions, be curious, and learn about who they are and what they do. When we take the time to do this, we create that something much deeper than the superficial exchange of business cards. By being genuinely intrigued, you will produce that feeling for others which will create that memorable connection.
This may not come natural for you and that is okay. Most good communication skills take time and practice.
Today, I challenge you to “ask more and talk less” – the results will make you happier than a camel on hump day!
Thanks for reading~
I am not going to tell you my age however I will tell you that the article, Baby Boomers and Social Media, held a lot of interest for me as it asks the question “When will baby boomers and social media become synonymous?”
I love social media! My sister, 7 years my senior, doesn’t even own a computer. People are shocked when they ask for her email address and she admits that she doesn’t have one. Most of us can’t even imagine our day to day world without a computer, email, Facebook, Twitter and anything else we are addicted to on the World Wide Web. Have you ever tried to “unplug” during vacation, for a single day or even for a single meal? I don’t know about you but I tried and failed. It was hard as hell.
Baby Boomer or not, this article will shed some light on the Pew Internet Project’s research related to social media. Give it a browse and let us know what you think.
Thanks for reading~
I recently read an article by Fast Company Inc. on 8 Simple Ways to Get Happier at Work. #1 addresses “walking meetings.” A walking meeting is ….well….you meet while you walk. This is something I have actually practiced and I am here to say that it is awesome.
Here are some “why” and “how” tidbits that might help you get started:
- By being away from your office, you reduce the amount of distractions you will have during your meeting.
- Creativity and inspiration are often jumpstarted by a change of scenery.
- Reduces guilt! Many of us feel like “slackers” if we take ten minutes to get up from our desk, walk around and stretch our legs. Walking meetings help you feel like you are not “wasting” time yet you are still getting up and getting that blood flowing.
- People speak more freely when there is reduced fear of being overheard or interrupted.
- A walking meeting sets an unspoken start and stop time which will reduce idle chatter and off topic discussions.
- Your boss not the type to get on board? Then don’t suggest that your meeting with him/her be a walking meeting. Instead, request permission to take your direct report/intern/colleague for a walking meeting.
- Bring your phone so your boss feels he/she can reach you while you are out but encourage others to leave all distractions back at their desk. INCLUDING their cell phones.
- Limit the meeting to 2-3 people to assure focus, no side chats and assure everyone can hear the conversation.
- Map out your route beforehand (indoors or out) to keep the walk focused on the meeting topic and not on “should we go left or right?” Use the same route for every walking meeting so that your partners become familiar with it.
I hope this minimized some of the “weird” that surrounds walking meeting. Give it a try! Already a fan? Tell us some of your walking meeting stories either in the comments below or on our Facebook page.
Thanks as always~
I want to share a story with you that was the inspiration for this blog post.
A couple of weeks ago I was helping a friend do some stuff at her parents vacation home. As we sat on the front porch, I couldn’t help but notice a dark green antique bench. She must have seen me admiring it because without being asked she quietly said, “you have no idea how many miles that bench has traveled….thousands and thousands.”
I paused to try to figure out what she meant. Her family was born and raised in the area so I was a bit confused. Again, without prompting, she said, “That bench was my grandfathers. He worked at the railroad station most of his life. When the station was renovated, he brought that old bench home. My sisters and I sat on that bench for more hours than I can count and traveled the world. It was a car, bus, boat, horse and of course a train.”
I was so moved by watching her relive that fond memory. Not only the memory of her grandfather but also the memory of the hours she spent with her sisters traveling the world in their imagination. Making up characters, dialogs and adventures.
That was weeks ago and her story has stuck with me. At the risk of sounding old, I have been reflecting on the way kids played in “my day.”
If you are like me, you played outside the majority of the daylight hours. There were no gadgets or gizmos. There was chalk for drawing & hopscotch, bats & balls, dolls & strollers, bikes with baseball cards in the spokes and friends & imagination. We learned to interact and connect. We learned to ask for what we wanted, introduce ourselves to new kids, settle arguments and look each other in the eyes.
I can’t help but wonder what the effects will be on the children of technology. Our “Gen Z” kids (born 2000 – present) are born into a high tech and highly “connected” world. They do not know life without things like the internet, instant messaging, email, text messaging, iPods, smart phones and tablets. Don’t get me wrong. This is not a bad thing- just different. Road trips now consist more of movie watching than playing “eye spy” or “find the different license plates”. In any restaurant you will see more electronics at the table (including parents on their cell phones) and less tic-tac-toe on the back of the placemat.
Many years from now, when our kids are the new batch of employees, employers, entrepreneurs, mompreneurs and professionals, how will they fair when it comes to networking? Will they struggle with one on one communication? Will eye contact make them uncomfortable? Will critical thinking skills be high but empathic listening suffer? OR…..
Will they be sharper than all the generations before them? Will technology be the glue that binds them? Will networking as we know it fail to exist?
Only time will tell.
As for me, I will continue to love technology, learn something new every day, network both face-to-face and digitally… all while telling my kids how I did it in the “good old days.”
I’d love to hear your comments….
Thanks for reading!
Here is a question for you. Why do we generally wait for the other guy to make the first move? Let me tell you what I mean by that – You are at an event/gathering/meeting/coffeehouse wherever – you strike up a conversation with someone who you really think you connect with. Why do we wait to see if they are going to suggest the next step? Are we afraid that they may not find us intriguing? Probably.
What do you have to lose? After all, only one of two things can happen. Either you find out that they are interested as well OR you find out that they are not. I don’t know about you but I prefer to know. Here are three things you should try:
- If you are standing around at an event – why be uncomfortable. Why not say “I see an empty table. Want to grab a seat and continue this conversation?” This not only makes for a more relax environment to talk in but it also shows you are enjoying the conversation and that you are interested in learning more about them.
- Have they mentioned something in conversation that you can help with? If so, offer to reach out to them after the event. Why not say “I read a white paper on that not too long ago. I would be happy to send it to you. I think you will find it has a lot of useful information in it.” DO NOT FORGET. No matter how small a promise you make, delivering on that promise shows that you are reliable and starts to build trust.
- Come right out and say it. “Wow, I am really enjoying this conversation. So glad we met. Here is my card – would you be interested in getting together for lunch sometime to continue this talk?”
I know, fear of rejection is a real concern but again what do you have to lose? So go ahead and put yourself out there the next time you meet someone that you definitely want to keep in your network. You will be glad you did.
Thanks for reading ~