A Note on Networking

If Lynda Day can network, then so can I. [Screencap from Press Gang S02E06, At Last A Dragon]

It’s 5 o’clock on a Friday afternoon.  I’m wearing a nice black dress and heels, but my tights have fluff on them.  I’ve spent the past couple of minutes checking myself in a shop mirror, making sure that my faded hair [with its inch of regrowth] doesn’t look too dirty.  You see, I’m on my way to an industry party – a schmooze-fest, if you will – and I don’t want to make a bad impression.

Coincidentally, the lecture that I’d excused myself from early in order to attend this little shindig was all about networking and making connections.  RMIT’s ‘Entrepreneur in Residence’ [apparently we have one of those] spoke to us about the importance of selling ourselves.  He also said that we should never attend an event alone.  I send a frantic text message to Glenn, asking if he’ll join me.  Unfortunately he’s made other plans.

The office itself has no outside signage, except for that of the dentist next door.  Someone’s taped a piece of paper with the logo and an arrow in the hallway.  It seems too quiet for a party.  Maybe I’m early?

I reach the glass-panelled office door just as someone walks past.  “Hi!” she greets me with a warm smile, “I’m just giving a tour of the new place.  Come on in!”  I introduce myself, and follow her through the small building.

I was expecting to stand by myself in the corner of a large room full of industry personnel.  Instead, I’m lead into a small boardroom containing no more than fifteen people.  I accept a drink, and begin to mingle.  During the hour and a half that I am there, many different people come and go, but the room is never crowded.

I speak to different people, from all kinds of backgrounds; television, radio, retail, promotions.  Many of them have also arrived alone.  I don’t have my own business cards to hand out [something that I shall remedy in the near future], but I collect quite a few.  When Molly Meldrum’s little dog approaches me, I do my best to pretend that I’m not petrified [and I think I had most people fooled].  I’d been worried that I’d have nothing to talk about, but I find myself conversing about all kinds of things – the importance of youth in community radio, Julia Zemiro’s talent as a presenter, what it’s like to be a RocKwiz contestant, and, of course, music.

Sitting on the tram home, I decide that networking isn’t anywhere near as terrifying as I thought it’d be.  I have no idea if I’m doing it properly, but I figure that as long as I can hold a decent conversation with someone about the merits of the Sidney Myer Music Bowl over Festival Hall, then I can’t be doing too badly.  And next time I’ll make sure I’ve got some business cards with me.


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