Embrace The Awkward: Networking After A Pandemic

Two men and one woman talking closely at a networking event in the evening

As we all come out of hibernation a few pounds heavier and with questionable social skills, it seems like a great time to outline a few dos and don’ts of networking.

We’ve slowly been easing into in-person events, and boy, are those awkward. It’s like we’ve all forgotten how to hold conversations face-to-face. Do you shake hands? Wear a mask? Put on pants? So many questions.

Rule 1: Admit this is hard

We’re all in the same boat. You can no longer shut off your camera when you want to sneak away from a meeting or shove a cupcake in your mouth. Muting is no longer an option and pants are a requirement. Weird.

Just smile, let those you’re interacting with know you are out of practice and you’re absolutely going to be awkward.

I mean, who the hell remembers how to do “small talk”?

Rule 2: Just be quiet

If you have nothing constructive to add to the conversation, just keep your mouth shut. Someone on our team (Kim) has a tendency to ramble and begin confessing weird things whenever there are 5 seconds of silence to fill. This usually results in a few blank stares and people walking away. Don’t be Kim. Just listen to what others are saying and if you have something to add, feel free…but no one needs to know about that one time at band camp.

Rule 3: Keep showing up

Maybe your first in-person didn’t go great, maybe you are nervous you made a bad impression (you probably did), suck it up and register for the next one.

Start out with an afternoon or evening event, there are usually libations you can partake in…if you know what we mean. Keep in mind this could be good or bad. The drinky drink can relax you or simply add to the awkward. 

Rule 4: Carry business cards

Remember those rectangular things we used to carry around in wallets and purses? Yeah, get some of those and keep them on you. Oh, make sure they have your name on them and not someone else’s.

We’re all in this together, so extend a little grace to each other and remember some people will be taller or shorter in person. 
Need more no-nonsense human contact in your life? We’ve got you.

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