I am basically a good candidate for caking, because I'm not really a people person. Don't get me wrong, I can turn it on for short bursts, and am great with most of my customers, especially when they email , but when it comes to typically large group social things, I basically suck.
We have a large networking group in the area, and I went to a few meetings last year. I needed to get a sitter, it was about an hour drive each way, and I didn't get much from it, because as I said before, I'm socially inept. So, I sit there, nurse some wine and try to come up with things to say. There is also another cake lady there who thinks she is god and can be really rude, but I can get over that!
So, tonight they are having the meeting really close to me, and they are having an expert panel to focus on cakes (all those cake people attending will be the "experts," which would include me.)
First, is it disingenuous to go to the cake one, when I haven't been there for at least 5 months?
Second, any advice for these meetings? How do you work the room, and what should be my goal when I go there?
I really need it spelled out!
Go - they want your expertise.
As for working a room:
Walk up to someone, stick out your hand, and say "Hi, I'm jentreu and I'm a cake artist. What do you do?" Carry a cake picture (or several) with you in a small album or such so you're ready when they ask what is a cake artist or whatever they might ask. They want to tell you about their business and expect to hear about yours in return.
This event is close to your house so go, work it well, and get the confidence to go next month!
Yep. If it doesn't come naturally, you probably need to set small goals. I will go introduce myself to everyone in a blue dress, or I will purposefully meet 4 people in the next 20 minutes. And just do what's stated above. Stick your hand out and say Hi! I'm... Looks like a great meeting doesn't it? What do you do? What's your favorite cake style (if you already know what the person does.) Everyone likes to talk about themselves.
thanks guys, I am going to try and get a sitter for tonight and just suck it up. Guess I have to grow up sometime, huh??
You'll be fine! Once you get yourself there you've handled half of your battle.
How did it go?
Thanks for checking back. It went pretty well. Got to talk to a lot of people I haven't touched base with in a while, and hopefully it will turn into leads for next year. So far 2011 is looking really bad!
Thanks for the encouragement, I'll have to keep practicing!
It sounds like you're glad you went.
Like you said - practice. Things like that do get easier with practice.
I'm glad to hear you went and broke out of your shell at least a little! networking doesn't work if you sit at a table and drink wine and don't talk to anyone!
This reminds me of when my friend was first running for political office, he went to a political dinner. He was sitting there, eating his meal, when a long-time friend and politician came up to him and asked if he was enjoying his dinner? My friend said yes, it was good. The long time politician looked at him and said, "Do you want to get elected? Then you eat at McDonald's on the way home! You're here to meet these people and get their vote, you're not here for 'dinner'!" It was a great life lesson!
I'm a bad one to give advice to someone who is shy about working a room because to me it comes super natural. Give me a room of 100 people and inside of an hour, I'll know at least half of them! My husband, ironically, is a wall flower. When we go to events, I usually park him in one spot and tell him, "Wait here, honey, I'll be back when I finish circling the room!"
As I say about everything ...... Just Do It!!!