One of the “joys” of breaking into a new market is getting your name out there. There’s the slow, plodding cold-calling-one-person-at-a-time route. Or there’s tapping into big(ger) gatherings of like-minded professionals where the potential to mingle has greater mass appeal.
I’ve been attending the Ad Fed luncheons now for a few months, and have been lucky to meet some very nice people who have not been bothered by my constant nudging for introductions. These affairs are always sit down meals with guest speakers, with a little social time before and after. Granted, most of these attendees have to rush back to office jobs, but it’s been a nice, varied group I’ve met so far.
Last night was the big MarCom mixer. I had been told it was “the” event to attend for networking purposes. And it didn’t prove to be wrong. I met some great people last night, and had the opportunity to finally chat with some I’d been introduced to on other occasions.
The part I didn’t get (nor did I partake of) was the food. I never ventured over to the buffet tables to see the spread, but what I saw on people’s plates….well, it really made me LOL. Seriously, I know putting out a spread for a big group can be a challenge. I learned that from my 10+ years in the food biz. But when you have hundreds of people (with only limited opportunities to plop down to eat what you’ve scored off the buffet), why would someone choose RIBS and HUMMUS??!?!?!
Neither facilitate mixing by any means. One leaves your hands a mess, which makes me hesitant to shake any of ’em after they’ve been chowing. And the other potentially leaves your breath reeking of garlic, and would make even the strongest of us want to pull back when someone leans in to be heard over the noise.
That being said, the mixer left a great taste in my mouth. It was a successful evening of networking for me. And I’m guessing it was a success for the hosts, too. The agency’s office is way cool. And I hope to have the opportunity to hang around there more in the future.
There’s one thing I’m learning about this town, and myself, is that you do have to mix things up to be introduced to the right people at the right time. Even if that means getting a little messy in the process.