A warmly welcomed series of workshops Goldie’s Table Matters offers is in networking skills: growing, nurturing and maintaining a professional network.
While it IS true that a strong network is a key to business success, the introvert that I am abhors networking events. That’s even given the fact that at this point, it’s seldom I walk into an event not knowing a single soul. That changed tonight.
I attended an eye-opening event called TEDxNY: a weekly salon where the organizers show a Ted talk, followed by a group discussion. I walked in knowing no one.
I followed all of my own teaching pointers: I arrived early, I paused before I entered and composed myself, my posture and smile were impeccably placed, I exhaled. I checked off all the boxes and yet, I was still uncomfortable with the initial connecting. Next time I am speaking about ‘working a room’, I will acknowledge more empathetically how tough it is to make initial contact. This is especially true when most others knew each other and were engaged in more than small talk.
Alas, a tidbit that the Goldie’s Table Matters basic workshop stresses is the importance of choosing the networking event. Ideally, we are attracted to an event due to content, and the bonus is an organic chemistry with those we meet because of the subject matter.
So, the TEDxNY salon played ‘Israel and Iran: A Love Story’, which had me both laughing and crying. What began as a man’s simple action has stirred millions into action— whether joining in on the poster campaign, or liking/commenting on Facebook, or discussing amongst the other 40 people in attendance at this event after viewing the TED talk.
The talk was inspiring, uplifting, and philosophically deep. The discussion afterwards was so satisfying that once the session was complete, I felt that I had a connection with every person in that room. I was speaking freely, sharing, laughing, listening and learning. Oh, and exchanging business cards.
I’m so excited for the next stages with my new acquaintances. While it’s true that I loathe networking events, there’s nothing more satisfying than the act of building a strong network— nurturing and growing new relationships, exploring common interests and creating….together.
THAT’S the reward and fun of business!
Enjoy the TED talk!