I need to start this action by stating the question really obvious, which is that I am incredibly awkward, sure, like when I'm with my computer or with a presentation and I have my notes that's fine, but if I am in a social situation by myself, all that are off and my husband jd can even I admit that he gets a little worried for me in social situations every time I leave for a conference or a mixer on my own, he usually give me a pep talk, and it sounds something like you'll be fine don't talk too much when you get nervous don't hide in the corners and whatever you do, stay away from the buffet station. I am the queen of finding distractions and event and food is my number one crutch, because when I'm eating food, oh, my mouth is full, I can't talk to you, so what I continued to do is stuff my mouth so I don't have to talk to people. I am being really honest with you guys. Through the years I have learned that one I have to eat before I go to an event, so then I don't have an excuse to...
hoard the buffet station and I I actually wrote about my first networking event in exposed magazine and I want to be honest about that event and I'm going to read a portion of it now so that I can be really before we get into this networking portion. We arrived at the venue when he was beautiful on unbelievably gorgeous courtyard filled with gorgeous people drinking gorgeous bubbly drinks. I fiddled with my purse then I checked my cellphone I tapped on my foot then I checked my cell phone again I started the periphery of the party and had no idea how to mingle. It was like a posh version of double dutch and I didn't know how to jump in. I tried to strike up conversations but it seemed like once they realized I was new and inexperienced they quickly moved on. I collected business cards in rapid succession but had no idea to whom they belonged or whether I follow up. The more parties I attended, the more I discovered how much they were the same air kiss ting toasting and networking. It was unfortunate I was in terrible and all three things page eighty seven. Now the rest of the story goes on to detail the valuable lessons that I learned from that networking event but I want to bring all of us on the same page right now I think that most of us have our own social crutches when we get into social situations and when we network we immediately fall back into what feels comfortable but we have to realize that networking can be slightly uncomfortable and during episode one at the end of episode one we hosted a cocktail hour where everybody just kind of like hung out and we had the cameras roll around to capture just behind the scene footage so I'm already kind of thing the ono's oh no come on you guys this is real you know you know film this is already way put together a short video showing a few of the slightly awkward moments that happen no yeah wait I never thought you were meteo okay I intentionally placed that such a warm and fuzzy ones exactly way point that was edited there was like an hour I was hungry I want to clarify he touched it put it back but he did go back in eat it that way video was not just to get a good laugh it really wasn't and did not want to put anybody out on blessed but what it does show is that when we're not conscious of how we network that is what happens or not conscious of our face and how we react to people when they're talking to us that is really what happened and so before you cast the first stone and the audience let me talk to editors and we will bring out networking is extraordinarily uncomfortable I will be the first person to admit this, so we're gonna cruise through this section we're going to get you a few tips teo network a little bit better the first hit being resist the urge to show up late now it's always common for us to show up thirty minutes late because it gives us like the cool factor. However, if you're socially awkward or don't know how to approach people in a situation when you show a blade, it already looks that people are already in their conversations talking and have a hard time approaching them if you show up right on time or even a little bit early groups or clicks haven't formed, so showing up on time gets you right into the groove and starts you talking which warm things up naturally now to ask easy questions the last thing you want to do is wait around on the periphery for people to approach you because chances are people are just I'm uncomfortable in that situation as you are, teo get the conversation started it's it's very hard and yet so simple you can simply keep it real and I have used this a thousand times and I'm not even get a front may I join the conversation because there's nothing worked out the worst in you walking up in you're like, just have them open the circle and let them know that here there here we go. Oh, and when it comes to asking easy questions, listen to their replies. Melissa was, she said, well, while we were watching a video she's like, I'm just a really good listener, yes, probably is a very good listener, but as you listen intently, make sure you incorporate what they're saying back in your responses, or even if you follow up with them later, let them know that you were listening to a lot of times you go to these and and then you're like on to the next person, so asking questions and make sure and listen to the replies, ditch the sales pitch. A lot of times, networking is about building a relationship, you don't want to go there and simply assume, what can you do for me, it's more about what can we do for each other? That's the mindset you want to go walking into any sort of networking or mixture or cocktail hour, or even if you're meeting with a group of friends that's gonna be important now, theo idea at a networking event or a mixer is simply to get the conversation started, that is all. At a later point in time, you will find a unique way to follow up in person that away that plays to your strengths four share your passion a lot of times especially if you're networking with the group of photographers like we are now we can all say hey, we got started four years ago and then we ended there but the more you talk about what got you into photography if you're in mixed company it makes your story stick out so what what did get you into photography sure you picked up a camera two years ago but was it when he went on a trip to europe or in my situation when my mom was battling cancer I wanted to pick up the camera and document her story then I fell in love with that passion and I wanted to parlay it into weddings immediately after I got married so finding your passion and finding a way to share with other people really keeps a dynamic conversation in five this one's for melissa smile ok what happens is that it naturally puts you at ease it's a psychological physical connection when you smile you have to force yourself to be confident and comfortable and what happens is when people see you smile they naturally smile and when two people are smiling and you're not talking chances are you'll walk up to each other and it's an easy icebreaker with no words e okay nicky don't hurt nicky but then after the after party we have a cocktail of our party after everyone should be walking around like hey how's it going your conversation another will not be cameras there tonight six don't hijack the conversation what happens and I have been very guilty of this is that you become really nervous and then you just talk talk talk, talk, talk and what I started realizing was I would leave the party and realize wow I talked way too much and I didn't like the person I was talking about and it was about me and I would think back to the people I really liked who resonated with me at a networking event or who did I see I was like wow that person is really working a room and it's the person who's listening it's a person who's engaging the person who remembers your name at the end of the party and they say bye nicky and you're like we met forty five minutes ago those small things make people genuine and really care about the relationship afterwards lastly remember to follow up that's going to be that's going to be a key because it's not enough just to get the relationship started it's enough to get the exchange going that's what you want to do for your business so question from jodi harris who says how many networking events do you attend per month or how do you decide which ones to attend in my market it seems that there there's networking meeting almost every day that is a really good question I'm a terrible networker I'll be very, very, very honest. It takes every ounce of energy and gumption to get up and go. So I probably go to a networking event once or twice a quarter, and I choose them on the largest group and the most diverse group, because I just don't always want to hang out with photographers. I want to hang out with florists and coordinators, and so the best ones would be, if possible, any sort of blawg, like a wedding blogger mixer or wedding magazine mixer or any sort of industry mixer. Sometimes there's like a new venue that wants to have a party or, like melissa's open house tomorrow. That is an event that I would want to go to, because I would want to meet people at the venue, and also the other people that are represented. So I'm a little more strategic, because it could be really taxing and exhausting.