In my new job, I go to a lot of networking events. Some are schmoozy, some boozy, some make my inner introvert want to cry sit in silence by myself. Most are generally enjoyable with the right attitude and with at least one decent connection coming out of it.
Tonight, I did have a good, productive event. I met good people, I'm one step closer to understanding the bewildering mortgage industry (one step of many, I'm aware), and my organization walked away with a $10,000 check and a foot in the door with the mayor. But, I also have idiot moments, all of which I aim to not repeat.
Lessons from my night tonight, that one should NOT DO:
1. Make small talk that makes you sound poor and poorly connected
You note for no reason that you've never heard of the golf club where the event is hosted, you will regret it later when you realize late it's one of the oldest and well-established golf clubs in the city and that the likes of the Nordstroms (the originals, not the kids) are from there.
2. Ask stupid questions about an industry you are unfamiliar with
Asking a mortgage banker to describe for you the secondary mortgage market is is like asking the grocery produce man what a banana peel is.
3. Leave your keys in your car, with the battery engaged
Not due to safety, but because your car will be dead and you'll have to call up the duo of schmoozers with whom you gratefully exchanged business cards, after they leave in their blue-interior-lit sports car for a battery jump. (If you're lucky, one of those two happens to have gone to your high school [and you may have gone on a date once], so it will be made much less embarrassing. Or more embarrassing, I haven't decided)
Runner up: If your event is at a venue where there's at least a $15,000 membership fee, don't pick the vegetarian dish, the beef will be better.