4 minute read
If you were of speaking age in the early 00’s, I’m fairly certain you’ve uttered, “Whassssupppp,” while imagining the Scream-face mask. Although “Whassup” wasn’t originally from the movie Scream, the Wayans Brothers send-up of the film (Scary Movie) permanently linked the two in a hilarious scene. Aside from being satired, Scream felt fresh and new when it was released. It combined the teen-speak of Mr. Dawson’s Creek (Kevin Williamson) with a slasher director that understood what teens wanted to see in a horror film (Wes Craven). Most of all, it was meta before meta was a thing, which made it seem groundbreaking at the time.
One of the “meta” scenes was fanboy Randy’s explanation of the horror film rules of survival to party-goers, right before most of them break said rules. Networking can be scary, especially for an introvert, and it helps to have rules and guidelines to understand the process and push yourself to participate. Below, I’ve used Randy’s horror film rules to create Introvert networking 101: How to keep networking from making you scream.
Scream rule: You will not survive if you have sex
Networking rule: You will not survive if you flirt
While some women turn to their feminine wiles to gain contacts, it’s best to take a different route while networking. You will see these people at many events throughout the year, and hopefully create and maintain a working relationship, so the last (and unprofessional) thing to do is flirt. Or, you know….
Scream rule: You will not survive if you drink or do drugs
Networking rule: You will survive if you drink (or whatever floats your boat)
If you’re a drinker, that one little glass of wine may help you feel at ease. The dirty little secret is that no one genuinely loves networking…it’s an all-around stressful event where you’re expected to make friends very fast, based on chit-chat. The best you can do is make yourself comfortable (via whatever method works for you), and slightly uninhibited when it comes to approaching strangers.
Scream rule: You will not survive if you say “I’ll be right back”
Networking rule: The best tool you have is “I’ll be right back”
When you’re working a room, you need to talk to more than one group of people. However, it’s sometimes hard to break away from a conversation that has gone into deep territory or you start to run out of small talk. Having an “out” line is a key part of the process. If you don’t, you end up only meeting one person – the opposite of networking. Letting the person you’re talking to know you would love to continue the discussion at another time, and exchanging cards, can cordially cut the convo and let you move on.
Scream rule: Everyone is a suspect
Networking rule: Everyone is a potential
Look around the room and understand that everyone in that room has connections. If they themselves aren’t your target market, they likely know someone who is. Make a good impression, tell them about your product or service, and ask them for a referral. It’s terrifying, but the only way you’ll get what you want is by asking for it. Scream rule: You will not survive if you say “Who’s there?”
Networking rule: You will not survive if you go in with expectations
You really never know who will be at networking events, so you need to attend with a lack of expectation. I’ve met C-Suite executives at events where I thought I would only meet other marketers.
Scream rule: You will not survive if you go out to investigate strange noises
Networking rule: You will not survive if you make an excuse and sneak out early
As an introvert myself, I employed this tactic at the first few events I went to. I didn’t understand networking yet and was pretty freaked out by it, honestly. I would give myself an easy-out excuse so that I could go back to work. I quickly learned, though, that you get what you put into networking. If it’s a long event, promise yourself to stay for an hour of it, and then leave if you’re still uncomfortable.
Keeping in mind the aforementioned rules, you have to try and step way out of your comfort zone if you want to gain anything from the process. Stay for the full term of the event and you never know who you might meet or what contacts you may make. It can be excruciating, but the worst that can happen is you sit through a little awkward alone time for a pre-determined amount of time. (Images via, via, via)
About the Author
Stephanie Norell is the Marketing Director for North by Northwest’s Boise office. She loves horror movies and Pinterest, adores the classic film Xanadu, and “enjoys” disseminating her thoughts for trolls to discuss online.