With Halloween just around the corner, the thought of ghouls, ghosts and goblins can give anyone a good fright. For many business professionals however, the fear of networking is just as scary. We spoke with three young professionals who revealed their scariest networking moments and what they learned as a result.
“I remember the first time I attended a conference and met various professionals. I was a recent college graduate and in my early 20s. I felt like I didn’t fit in or I didn’t know what to say. At the time, there weren’t very many of ‘me’ in terms of young professionals my age.
Although I was scared to take a leap of faith, I engaged in conversation and made some really great connections which I still have today.
One of my mentors always encouraged me to step out of the box and join committees for nonprofits in the community because that would be a great way to meet other professionals while helping great causes. Since then, I have been engaged in several nonprofits over the years and met great people who I’ve kept in my network.” – Erika Castro, community outreach for corporate contributions, Salt River Project.
“I was at a networking event early in my career and was making my rounds and chatting with other people when a pretty influential person in my industry suddenly flagged me down and motioned me over.
We started to talk and he pulled up a chair to sit down, there were no open chairs that I could see close by, but we were right by a refreshments table. Concerned it would be awkward if I was standing and he was sitting down I leaned a bit on the corner of the table – which then proceeded to collapse and slide all of the food and drinks off of it.
Turns out the legs weren’t properly secured on that side of the table…I wanted to die.” – Joel Eberhart, director of marketing, Ideas Collide
“The very first unnerving and possibly one of the scariest networking moments I have encountered was finding my first mentor. I was a new finance manager and I was eager to find a mentor, but not just any mentor, a mentor who had a high status in the organization I worked for.
After an empowering speech by one of our organization’s leaders I got up the courage to ask this gentleman if he would mentor me. Of course, he didn’t know me from anyone else in the crowded conference room, but I was determined that since he delivered great presentations, he was high up in the organization, and he seemed to have a positive aura about him, I was gung-ho about asking this man to become my mentor.
As sweaty as my palms were and as much as I was probably (we will say) glistening, I got the gumption to ask him to be my mentor. He was definitely taken back since he didn’t even know my name because I didn’t introduce myself, and of course, my elevator speech was lack luster at best, but after a few moments we were able to establish a connection and he did end up mentoring me for about six months.”– Jessica Hipskind, student care group manager, University of Phoenix.
-Written by Carolina Lopez, digital marketing administrator for the Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce.