“The true secret of happiness lies in taking a genuine interest in all the details of daily life.”
~ William Morris
I mentioned last week that each year I head down to Atlanta to attend DragonCon. If it’s around Labor Day and you want to follow my journey, you can check up on me in Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/GregoryRPeters). I post a lot of pictures of the cool, amazing, and weird things I see.
I learn a lot from watching the fans at this event. One of the cool things is to see all of the creative costumes that people wear (“cosplay” for those in the know). What I love is when I recognize something that is a little obscure. That guy? He’s not just Superman. He’s Superman from the tenth episode of season 2 of “Lois & Clark” when he battles Metallo. That lady over there? She’s the 1980s version of Jean Grey from the X-Men comics. Him? His costume is a mash-up of Green Lantern, Deadpool, and Pikachu (all characters played or voiced by Ryan Reynolds). There’s just something about being in on the joke that makes it more fun.
When it comes to networking, being “in on the joke” can make the difference in not only whether you have fun, but also whether you succeed in your efforts. Here are some of the more subtle things you might want to find out before you show up at your next business gathering.
- The venue. You want more than the address. How long will it take to get there? Is construction that might slow you down? Does it have convenient parking?
- The attendees. Are the people you want to meet going to be there? At the Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti Chamber, different people show up to different events.
- The activities. Is there a speaker? Are you passing business cards? Do you have to introduce yourself or deliver an educational “commercial”? Are you ready for that?
- Networking tools. Will they have a name tag for you? Do you need a bunch of business cards? How about a notebook to record the people you meet and the information you gain?
- Taboos. Some groups frown on passing business cards. Others require that you be sponsored by a member. Avoid the pitfalls wherever you can.
If you are new to an event, be sure to talk with the person who invited you or even the organizer to make sure you know the “in jokes” for the group. If you are an old-timer, watch for the newbies. Help them become part of the fun.
What’s one “in joke” in a group to which you belong that might trip up a newbie?