Networking events suck. Why? They’re filled with nervous, uptight careerists who spend the night making forced conversation with each other and exchanging business cards that they never use. Anyone who claims to have fun at such events, has never actually had fun in his life.
Except for me, of course, and others who know my secret strategy for enjoyable and productive networking. Today, I share it with you. It is: Drink heavily, all the time.
Let me tell you a story. I went to an after-work charity dinner and drinks thing recently, and got pretty bombed. Maybe not drowning-in-my-own-vomit bombed, but at 6 pints, I was at least 5 ahead of 99% of the crowd. Some would call this inappropriate, especially since I was one of the event’s organizers, but whenever I doubted myself, I remembered the secret formula and signaled the bartender for another.
The result of me drinking, yelling, laughing, singing, swearing and off-colour-joking my way through the night was that I met more people, had more honest conversations with them, and left a better first impression than the majority of attendees who played it safe with their lone beers and vacation plans/so what is your team working on? chit-chat.
One of the reasons I met so many people is that my friends and I attended the preceding networking event dressed like golfers for no apparent reason, and people remembered me and wanted to talk about how awesomely drunk and crazy we got. We were obviously having a blast, and people are naturally drawn to fun, repelled by uptightness and discomfort.
Beyond networking events, I am “that guy” in our office who always has funny stories about his crazy weekends, readily admits to being hung over as often as not on Friday mornings, and occasionally shows up early, sweating booze, to shower in the office gym and change into the spare clothes he keeps in his filing cabinet.
It’s not that I’m the only one who has a life outside the office – I’m just the one who’s sick of trying to hide it.
Actually, the key to networking – in a saner world, we would call it meeting people you work with and making them like you – is to just go out and be a human being with a life. Boozing helps, of course. But my Muslim and Mormon readers can still do fine. Just take social risks, don’t be shy about showing your human side, and remember that you’re a real person who shits and fucks and bleeds, not some emasculated, cookie-cutter prick who sleeps in a coffin whenever he isn’t in the office.