I stand by what I said in my title. My apologies if I offend anyone, but….yea.
If you’re anything like me, you aren’t necessarily a shy person, and you don’t mind working a crowd. But there is something about being in a room full of older people that are all in the position you wish to be in that makes you a little less ready to spark up that conversation.
So I went to my very first networking event on my own without a mentor. The event was held at a bar/lounge in downtown Houston! Red flag: If your networking event is at a bar and there happens to be an open bar…limit your drinks. You are not there to get turnt, don’t get carried away y’all.
The room is packed and honestly, my nerves are BAD. I just didn’t know what to say when I approached these professional giants. I didn’t know if my “grown woman” voice was up to par! And I have this thing where I feel like I have a childish name lol, but that is beside the point (thanks Mom). I saw these two attorneys talking at the bar casually and I just decided to go for it…..
Here goes NOTHING…
Me: “Hello, do you mind if I introduce myself to you?”
Them: “Yes, you may, go ahead!”
Boom. I’m In. “My name is Jaylin, I am a 1L at Thurgood interested in hearing any advice you have for someone who aspires to be a solo attorney!” Whew, not too bad. They liked me. In fact, the wanted to schedule lunch! YASSSS! I won at this point. I secured the business cards and now I just have to follow up!
I sent my professional follow-up e-mail on a Monday asking if the two of them were available for lunch on Thursday. The female attorney did not reply and the male attorney replied to me on Tuesday (pay attention to the dates here) that 12pm on Thursday was a good time. Cool. So I respond on that same Tuesday, attaching the female as well to the e-mail, with a location for lunch asking if it was ideal.
These super polite and well manner individuals failed to respond to my message (all sarcasm intended). Y’all, Thursday came around and I was looking like a sad dog. I just couldn’t understand how two people who know what it’s like to be in my position could blow me off with no remorse. It took a lot of courage to approach them. But I am not broken. I know now how NOT to be when someone who actively seeking knowledge approaches me. The least they could have done is tell me that they were simply unable to make it…
Things I could have done better:
- I could have exhausted all forms of communications (phone). The only reason I stuck to e-mail communication was because I was told that was their preferred method of communication upon me meeting them at the event.
- I could have had business cards. I took head shots and everything this summer and I just have not gotten around to business cards… I’m slacking, but I’m getting to it. If you are a young professional I suggest you do the same!
- As far as networking I think that my conversation needs to be loosened up. I felt uptight and that is probably exactly how I came across lol.
- Don’t expect too much. People are people at the end of the day. Don’t let someone else’s actions discourage you. Instead, let them encourage you to be better at your craft and remember that successful people share knowledge!