Thursday, March 18, 2010

Workin' That Room

Today, I was invited to an international business networking event taking place tonight. The inviter said, “Oh, don’t worry, we won’t ask you to stand up and give a presentation or anything. It’s just networking.”

I told her that, quite frankly, I would much rather give a presentation in front of a large group of people rather than network. She thought I was kidding, but it’s really the truth.

I’m a little on the introverted side, so the act of initiating conversations with a stranger, over and over again, isn't one of my favorite things to do. Even prepping for a colonoscopy is preferable to me. At least I can read a book.

But as a musician and performer (i.e. closeted narcissist), I love performing in front of a large group of people, even if it is public speaking. All attention is on me. Me me me. So, sure, let be get up there and give a presentation. Just don’t expect me to enjoy talking to strangers afterward. Isn’t that horrible?

Frankly, I don’t think anyone really enjoys this activity called networking.  Maybe if it was during an event I was hugely passionate about, that would be different. For example, if it was a convention of Dvorak keyboard users, oh baby, I’d be all over the place, “workin’ that room.”

But international businesses? I might enjoy locating the one person from Greenland or Siberia and getting to know them during the entire evening. But “working a room” of business people?

Besides, I have a choir rehearsal tonight in preparation for our concert on Sunday.

A few months ago, I was attending a really big networking event at the Hilton. While I was milling around, the event planner pointed to a grand piano in the lobby and jokingly said, “You wanna provide some entertainment for the next couple of hours?”

“Sure! If it’s okay with the hotel.”

She made a quick check and for the next two hours, I provided nice, backgroundy Classical music for the networkers. I went there not looking forward to the event, but ended up having a ball.

You just never know.

Besides, the few people I did end up networking with didn’t seem at all interested in the Dvorak keyboard.


At 4:50 PM , Blogger Bad Alice said...

Oh, wow, there's nothing that will get me up to speak in front of a crowd. I'm an introvert and I'm not a performer. I prefer all attention to be directed at someone else while I check my Facebook account on my mobile phone. I don't network well at all, unless I'm in some sort of bipolar upswing.

At 7:52 PM , Blogger Miss Healthypants said...

Dude, no one is interested in the Dvorak keyboard. *grin*


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