dc’s favorite recreational sport- networking

I was out last night at that most DC-ish of all social events… the networking happy hour.

It was a Capital Cabal event, which was sponsored by my employer and held at Gua Rapo in Courthouse. (The Cabal is run by some very nice people, and you should check it out sometime, btw.)

I have sort of a love-hate relationship with these things. On one hand, I am a passionate believer in the value of building strong, genuine relationships before you need something, being free and generous with your expertise and assistance in that network, and then having it already available if you find that you need something- even if it’s just a recommendation for a good dentist. On the other hand, most people really suck at that, and think of networking as a competition to see who can collect the most business cards, and who think networking is only something done at an event organized for that purpose. These people are tiresome to deal with.

Also, there’s just the whole event itself. I’m five feet tall, so I’m trying to make my way through a packed room full of people who are looking right over the top of my head. You tall people don’t understand how claustrophobic it is to walk around in a crowded room when you’re chest-level to everyone else. People hold their drinks in the hands they’re supposed to be shaking with. When the food served is greasy, it’s a law of the universe that there are insufficient napkins provided. And for some reason, the music is often turned up loud enough that you have to shout in order to be heard. What the hell? Is not the point of this thing that people get to know each other?

But even if I weren’t such a relationship evangelist, it’s still an expectation of my job that I attend several of these events per month. So come out to some- eventually you’ll run into me, most likely.

1 Comment so far

  1. Bin_round (unregistered) on August 9th, 2006 @ 10:43 am

    The worse is the networking wearing name tags! The whole social dynamic of pecking order is established:

    Vendor seeks buyer
    Buyer avoids vendor
    Vendor avoids other vendors
    Buyer seeks another buyer to shield each other from vendor
    Buyer only seeks vendor so s/he can buy him/her a drink

    It is a fascinating dance with name tags. Without name tags, it is guerilla warfare. Or just another social event meeting new people.

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