When I arrived last week at the Pennsylvania Governors Conference for Women cocktail hour, I knew no one. There I was, sucking on my Pinot Grigio, staring blankly into my iPhone, with no one to talk to. Rapidly the night transformed and I was gabbing with journalists, bankers and politicians. By the end, I’d managed to talk to 20 women, and came home smiling with a stack of business cards and lots of new friends. I was reminded after many years off the conference circuit (2 babies) how fun it is to network. So, if you’re feeling stagnant in your career, or your pipeline’s looking a little empty, get off your butt and sign up for a conference.
Prompted by this somewhat awkward start, I called my friend Peg Samuel at SocialDiva.com for some tips on networking:
I love to network and you’re the queen of all things social. What networking events do you recommend? And since you’re based in NYC, what are your favorites in New York?
Well, it all depends on what hat I am wearing. If I have my Digital Diva hat on I like Girls in Tech, the Internet Oldtimers. If I’m wearing my Entrepreneur hat, Collective E is my fave. But, of course, my ultimate favorites are our own events at Social Diva!
There’s nothing worse than being cornered by a drone at a dinner party. Any tactics for politely excusing yourself from someone who has cornered you?
“Excuse me, but I need to go to the ladies room. It was lovely speaking to you!” And hope he or she doesn’t follow you in.
Say I’m intent on working the crowd … shmoozing up the VIPs. Any tips on what to wear? What not to wear?
You want to look your best. Always dress a touch above the required dress so you look extra special. And have your business cards somewhere super easy and accessible so you are not digging, trying to balance your drink, or doing anything else awkward in order to get to them.
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