I always loved the old “Cheers” theme song, “Sometimes you want to go, where everybody knows your name…” It’s a great sentiment for a neighborhood hangout, but how does it do for networking?
I was at an event today where I had already met every single person in the room at some point or another. So, since networking events are really best used to meet new people, was my attendance a waste of time?
First of all, the informational content of the meeting more than made it worthwhile for me to be there. I figure any gathering which sees me heading back to the office with pages of notes can’t be all bad. Beyond that, though, the networking was still worth the price of entry.
As I mentioned, I had already met everyone in the room. I hadn’t, however, really gotten to know them all. There were one or two with whom I was able to chat in order to find out more about them. There was another person whom I had been trying to schedule for a coffee, but we kept missing each other’s calls. Fortunately, we both had our schedules in hand so were able to set up a one-to-one right then and there.
I also picked up a few cards from people I’ll follow-up with in the next week or so and I got to touch base with a few folks whom I already knew well. Sometimes just those gentle touches can help extend and strengthen your connections.
Sometimes you do just want to go where everyone knows your name. Far from being a waste of time, you can still have a very productive networking event. Even if there are no barstools involved.
Photo credit: Ed Schipul