Tuesday, September 20, 2011

lessons in networking, literally (lyn)

I wake up and get on the scale.  Somehow (maybe Penny’s party?) I’m back to where I was at the start of last week.  The cinnamon roll I bought last Saturday at the Farmer’s Market still sits in my refrigerator.  I don’t dare eat it.

My day is planned around eating.  I have only coffee for breakfast and a salad for lunch (though I do include half an avocado). I don’t eat until 1 or so, which is good, since dinner is very early.  This way I won’t have time to snack in-between.

I buy some lobster salad and have that, on a full grain 100-calorie English muffin, along with Pringles-light and ice tea for dinner.  But then I give in and eat two Entenmann’s black and white small cookies.   I have dinner at the ungodly hour of five, so I can make a 6:30 seminar that I’ve uncharacteristically enrolled in.  It’s a 2-hour class called The Top 10 Networking Tips for Powerful Connections.  It’s being offered through an entertainment organization I belong to, New York Women In Film and Television.  I go with the hope of being enlightened on how to connect more powerfully.

I don’t want to dress too casually since this is a seminar on how to connect professionally and I assume most people will be coming from work.  In the end, I settle on black pants, white tank, black and white cardigan, and leopard-spotted Manolo Blahniks (that I wear only when I arrive; it’s Merrell on the streets so I can walk). 

I get there on time and the windowless conference room is just starting to fill.  The man leading the seminar is dressed casually in a tight T and jeans.  He looks more like a middle-aged gym trainer than the life coach-entertainment lawyer-television packaging agent that he is.   I guess I could have worn jeans.  The women range in age from 20’s to 60’s, and even a couple of men show up.  I’m not even the oldest person in the room.

Most of the seminar is taken up with introductions.  But surprisingly, it’s a great learning tool.  What do you say?  How do you say it?  How little and how much information do you give?  The attendees are in the entertainment field and include actors, directors, producers, filmmakers, writers and literary agents.  Everyone appears smart and interesting.  Even (maybe especially) the late-arriving out-of-breath documentary filmmaker.  We are asked, “What prevents you from networking at a social event?”   The responses are the expected: fear of rejection, not wanting to be intrusive, lack of confidence.  But then this doc filmmaker seriously answers, “Drugs and alcohol.” 

On the way home, I make a quick stop at 16 Handles.  I re-think how to present myself when networking.  Maybe mentioning a blog about weight loss isn’t the best way.  I’m long overdue for some new accomplishments.  Ah, but where to start?

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