It’s easy to think that everyone’s become a networking expert today thanks to the din around networking events and companies trying to attract attention from the career-minded. However, some people must have missed the memo judging by these networking horror stories from some of our readers.
1. “So do you have any kids?”
“It was my first time at a networking event and I had binge-read articles about networking and what I was supposed to do and all my prepping must have made me very nervous. I ended up tap-dancing in a spot and waiting for anyone to approach while I practiced my elevator pitch but no one came. There was one man not too far from me so I summoned up courage, walked up to him and shook his hand. He had a look that said ok? And everything I had read completely evaporated my mind. The only thing I could come up with was ‘Do you have any kids?’ He mumbled something but I was too mortified to hear it.”
2. Pride before a fall
“I was invited to speak at a non-profit employment fair so basically it was a good number of non-profits meeting and interviewing college grads for positions. I was invited since I had been involved in non-profit for over a decade but what they didn’t know was that I was nervous about speaking in public and that I felt as if my story would not resonate with a young audience. I got off to a shaky start but by the time I was 10 minutes in, everyone was laughing so hard at my real life experiences. I guess I was so stunned at their reaction that I missed a step and fell down the 3 steps as I descended from the stage. The grads got really quiet while I dusted myself off and hurried out.
3. Women’s Lib
“I had just got a promotion at my firm but I felt like an intruder in an old boys club. It drove me nuts even though I acted like it didn’t matter. I wasn’t very sure that ignoring the issue would make it stop but I didn’t want it to get worse. I reached out to a woman at our parent company because she seemed like a ballbuster and I wanted to be just like her. If there was anyone that knew how what to do, it would be her. Our first meeting was a long rant about men, the need for freedom, and her dead-beat husband. It was clear that I would have to find my way and lay down the rules. Yes, she was a ballbuster but it was so ugly to see it up-close that I wanted no part it.
4. Real Housewives of LinkedIn
“My schedule is really hectic or at least that’s the perfect excuse for not going out often. To make up for it, I try to be as engaging as I can on LinkedIn and it was going great stalking old acquaintances until I decided to take try LinkedIn’s new publishing feature. I put up a post and fell asleep on the couch watching Game of Thrones reruns. Woke up in the morning to see a few texts and LinkedIn messages telling me to take down my post. My sister’s post was something like this “Take down that article, you little shit.” I had published an article Project Management Trends that was supposed to make me look really cool but I had forgotten to delete a rant about how women might be playing up childbirth pains for sympathy sake. I had forgotten about typing that in the same word document and skipped final edits. I took it all down and I’ve stayed away ever since.
“I attended an after-work networking event in the city that was chock-full of the hottest guys. I thought I had walked into the wrong place. I was so nervous whenever anyone walked up to me for an introduction that I was gulping down my wine to ease my nervousness. I was swaying on my feet by the end of the night and 1 kind gentleman had to help me into a cab. I might or might not have run my hands all over his shirt that fit like a glove and whispering um…things. Now I’m so scared of meeting anyone from that night that I’ve changed my hair color. Do you think I should move out of the city?
6. The Thing about Referrals
“I had been trying to get an in at a startup I was very interested in when I met someone who seemed like a solution. He was close friends with the founder, kind of like a silent partner. He took his time telling me about they developed the idea and expansion plans in the pipeline. I finally set up a meeting with the CEO and made the mistake of mentioning that I was an acquaintance (more like tight buddy) of the ‘silent partner’. Turns out this person was not a silent partner but a former employee that sued the company and lost. The meeting ended rather quickly. I’ve learned to do basic fact checks before dropping any names.
The only way to get better at networking is to keep at it and the thing is it actually works! It’s a great way to meet new people and sell your brand. Do you have any networking horror stories? We would love to read it if you email us at firstname.lastname@example.org