Wednesday, July 12, 2006

The Art of Networking

Last week, I attended a smashing after work/birthday soirée for a charming young man who looked as if he was turning an innocent 21 (of course I batted my eyelashes and showed my pearly whites as I told him this information).

It all started when I went to Sony (located on fabulous Madison Avenue) to visit a publicist friend/business associate. We made small talk; he gave me a cold bottle of water, a bag of CD’s, and then on to more small talk. That’s when he said “it”. Mr. Publicist said the magic words that brought music to my ears (but I showed no inclination of being eagerly interested).

“So, what are you doing tonight?” My eyes lit up brighter then the giant Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center. My heart pounded hard. By the beat, you would have thought that I had a treacherous work out or some good s-e-x. But, that’s beside the point.

I looked Mr. Publicist directly into his eyes and said with a cool, calm, and collect voice, “Uhmmmm, nothing really. Maybe just go home to write and work on some pitches.”

“Oh, well my boy who works here is having a birthday party at Fashion 40. You should come out.”

Come out? Did he say, “Come out?” I wanted to jump in his lap, kiss him on the cheek, and scream to the top of my lungs from happiness (hey, I don’t get out much). I thought to myself, “of course I’ll come out. I did not wear these 4” inch, black sandals with a cuff on the ankles for nothing.”

Mr. Publicist proceeded, “I have some things to finish up here. It’s going to take about an hour. If you are willing to wait that long, then we’ll head out.”

I’m sure that you’ve figured it out by now. I waited anxiously but the time passed by quickly. An hour later, Mr. Publicist, Mr. Finance (Mr. Publicist’s friend) and myself headed to the elevator. My eyes lit up once more when I saw what was by the elevator.

There he was standing, poised, and masculine. The coveted “birthday boy” was by the elevator; tall, neat, handsome and charming. I was introduced to him once we entered the elevator and I alerted him that I was attending his party (in a jokingly manner).

At the Shindig…

We arrived at Fashion 40 and I was actually in awe of the turn out. I’d only experienced this lounge twice since living in New York. Each time it was terribly empty. It was too empty. Honestly, I could probably hear a pin drop on the floor. It was like a ghost town the previous times that I had gone to this venue.

However, that day it seemed like the right place to be after a hard day of work. I got to a point that it was so crowded, I could barley move and navigate back and fourth to try to be social. There I was, a chilled Bailey’s in one hand, my bags in the other, and my observation skill in tact. I joked with Mr. Finance throughout the night while Mr. Publicist mingled and networked. I felt a sudden chill over me. My “inner thug” wanted to work the room, get to know everyone, and make more contacts. Yet, for the majority of the night I stayed in one area, sipped on my drink, and observed everyone else. By the end of the night, I’d left with two additional business contacts, sore feet, a buzz, and a stomach that craved for food. It was all worth it!!!

I know there’s an art to networking and meeting people in a social atmosphere. I need to learn that skill.

Is anyone willing to teach me?

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