Alright, so last night I went to this ‘thing’ with a friend of mine I have been trying to get together with for a while. I thought it was like a wine tasting event, and to be fair there was wine. Lots of it. And some good food too. But there was an ulterior motive happening. This was a networking event.
Ummm… by the way? I don’t network.
This could be the effect of not being an official member of the private sector, like, ever. Or it could just be that I am anti-social. Or a jerk. I am not totally sure. But last night I went along and really, the cartoon above? That is pretty much spot on. When we arrived at the event, we were greeted by a lovely woman who told us to put our name cards in the box for the lucky draw. [Issue #1: Yo no tengo name card. Not to worry, no one really wins anything in those give aways anyhow.] After we took care of the business side of things out front it was time to go to the party in the back. [Issue #2: Subtle mullet reference here – business in the front… partay in the back – is intentional.] We were immediately greeted by, let’s call him French Uber Networker (F.U.N.) who is clearly a pro and was letting us know how it was done.
“Good evening ladies! How are we tonight? My name is F.U.N. and I am with BigFUN in shipping and logistics. Here is my name card. So, your name?”
“Um, right, yeah, I am Amanda. I don’t have a name card, but well, here, my friend does.”
[Here friend, who actually has quite a bit of networking potential stepped up to the plate and hit a solid double.]
“Oh! You work for XXXXXX! They are sure getting active – there are several of you here tonight!” [Go F.U.N.!]
[At this point wine arrived. Thankfully. But I was not to be let go so easily.]
“So, Amanda, what do you do?”
“Oh, yeah, um, I teach. I don’t really network. Actually, I am sort of useless at this kind of thing.”
“Ha ha ha ha ha ha, ‘useless’! No such thing! Here, have you met [other FunGuy] let me introduce you to…”
And so it went.
Perusing the crowd, there were not too many people there who I would put in the “Wow, you are interesting, let’s talk,” category. There were also not so many who I would put in the “Hmm, not so interesting, but cute so let’s not talk,” category. Frankly, the folks were sort of like a Chinese desert: kinda sweet, a little over dressed, and definitely not so necessary or memorable. I talked to most of the people there at least in come capacity and I don’t think I was noticeably rude. I stopped taking name cards pretty early on, which was an unpopular move, but honestly, what was I going to do with them? Yeah, that’s right, chuck ’em. So really I was just looking out for the environment, and as a Kiwi/Canadian sponsored event, I am not sure they could really complain about that. But, it was cool to have a gimmick – mine being the whole “I don’t network” thing, and it was a basically successful strategy. Every guy that initiated conversation had the same three points, in the same order (they must have a script or something somewhere): 1. My name is… 2. I am in… 3. My wife/girlfriend and I… I was not aware I was wearing the Completely Obvious Single Girl Placard, but I must have been. I tried to overhear how they modified their script when dealing with other dudes, but to no avail, the background noise was outrageous.
The wine was flowing and the food was pretty good. The scene? Well, humorous and definitely improved with each glass of sauvignon blanc. The people there seemed to be fairly familiar with the whole protocol. And perhaps it is actually a helpful business practice – I cannot really say, but for HK$100 to eat and drink as much as you want for three hours? I can see why they do the circuit, good business practice or not. It was the cheapest night on the town I have had in the Kong in ages. And, by the way? Someone did win the door prize. Go Henry! A bottle of the red they were pouring and a new way for F.U.N. to introduce you – “So, have you met our lucky draw winner of the night, Henry? Henry is in……..”