The Random Post: A networking faux pas

Networking is an imperative skill, not only if you want to hold down a job, but just for life in general.  Being a naturally introverted person, speaking to strangers is particularly difficult for me.  I have put a lot of effort into developing my skills in this area and can happily report that if I choose to do so, I can now chat up a storm in almost any situation (celebrities being the obvious exception to the rule).

I rely a lot on humour and this tactic usually works a charm.  Nothing breaks that “we have literally nothing in common” awkwardness like a cheesy professional pick-up line  like, “why are you here drinking free wine when you should be at your desk trying to undercut my pricing?”  (I know – my ice-breakers are pretty amazing…).

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Usually what the networking crowd looks like when I use my ice-breakers

A while ago I attended an industry event with a colleague.  She introduced me to another attendee who she knew from a previous job.  Pleasantries were exchanged and as the conversation flowed, the topic of industry perks came up – in particular a website where travel professionals could shop for industry discounts.

I remember my exact words clearly.   “That website’s dodgy –  it looks like it hasn’t been updated since the early 90’s.  Who uses Times New Roman font anymore?”

I couldn’t understand, as the words were coming out of my mouth, why my colleague was giving me the panicked shifty-eye.

“Our company owns that website,” came the dry response from the person I had just met.

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The “Moray-Eel-waiting-for-laughter-after-delivering-a-punch-line” look

I managed to break the ensuing awkward silence with a goofy laugh followed by a “yes, well, a redesign might get you more traffic” followed by a mumbled comment about “being allowed out of my cage”.  The show ended with a Moray-Eel-waiting-for-laughter-after-delivering-a-punch-line look as I looked for an escape.

This event is definitely marked as a “blip” in my otherwise pretty solid networking track record.  Guess we can’t be the life of the industry function all the time.

I’m sure we’ve all had a similar cringe-worthy experience (please, tell me we’ve all have had a similar experience….).  Post yours in the comments below.

2 thoughts on “The Random Post: A networking faux pas

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