I have a confession to make: Networking is both the scariest and most enjoyable part of my job. There is a small part of me that panics about the uncertainty of meeting new people in a professional setting: Who will I talk to? What will we talk about? What if I say something that makes me look like a total idiot?
I've learned a few tricks over the years, the most significant of which is the power of knowledge. It helps to come to prepared -- research the people and companies attending, the venue, anything that will help you to navigate social politics with intelligence.
Here is a great example: Last week I attended the thinkLA Spring Mixer, which was held in the Foundation room of the House of Blues in Hollywood, Calif.
The fabulous House of Blues
The first thing someone said to me was, "Jim Belushi owns this place, and when he comes to eat dinner, he sits at the table you're looking at." What a great way to start a conversation, right?
The view from Jim Belushi's table at The Foundation Room
This inspired me to break the ice by asking folks about how they break the ice at professional functions. Here are... Read more