Well, well, well. Look at you being all fancy and ready to take on the world of networking and contacts and events and business and OH GOD, it’s just a lot, okay.
You’ve gotta know how to handle yourself when you’re roaming the floor all debonair-like and professional. Luckily for you, if anyone knows how to look classy while sipping a beverage and making connections, it’s this human right here.
1. Make sure you look fresh AF
Obviously you’re an incredible dashing example of humanity (you’re welcome), but even you can scrub up just a little bit more than usual on these occasions. I’m not saying bust out the pocket watch and monocle, but you want to class up the place a bit. Rock a slightly fancier get-up, make sure your hair is neat and for the love of all that is good in this wretched world, make sure there’s nothing in your teeth.
And you gotta keep that standard up over the course of the day too. That means avoiding foods that’ll leave stains on your teeth, using a napkin and taking extra care not to sit on something sticky or stand underneath a precariously perched bird after feeding time.
2. Keep your hand free for a good shaking
Let’s not forget that you’re here to make connections with the fine folk in your industry, so to do that you’re gonna have to actually… you know… make a connection. You’ve hopefully mastered the art of the handshake (we don’t want limp fish hands here thank you very much), but to execute it in practice is another thing entirely.
Hold your drink in your left hand – most people are gonna be right handed and it avoids the awkward shift. Trust us, nobody wants clammy condensation-covered digits moistening up their own shakers and you don’t want to be responsible for a surreptitious wipe on the pant leg. That’s not the lingering impression you wanna leave.
3. Get your shit together
If you’re going to a structured networking event, then you better be prepared, friend. These are people who are expecting you to be selling yourself and they’re anticipating a 10/10 prepared version of yourself who knows what they’re on about.
There are a couple of obvious things to have on your person (honestly mate, if you’ve got business cards, do NOT forget them) but you could also score a reputation for always being prepared if you also have some handy extras like chewing gum (for booze breath) or a lil’ pack of tissues (for spills). People will remember you being ready for anything.
4. Choose your bev wisely
It goes without saying (but we’ll say it anyway because you’ve made it this far), you don’t want to make a fool of yourself by having too much grog. Best way to make this work? Choose a drink that you’re actually going to be able to savour rather than just necking it mindlessly. Something that you can sip elegantly and get a bunch of flavour.
Truly, you’ll have a much better and more productive time if you’re slowly and smoothly bonding with a new connection over a glass of Jack Daniel’s on the rocks than you ever will by getting rowdy. Plus you’re far less likely to make a fool of yourself by going overboard – there are some bells that can’t be un-rung, friend.
5. Look like you know what you’re doing
Staring off into space while standing in the middle of the room is never a good look, no matter how nice your duds are. Same for standing off in the corner, peering around for a new person to talk to yet looking like a dejected vampire scoping out their prey. Approach people purposefully, and make yourself seem more put together than you feel inside.
It’s the little things that do it – say for instance, do you know how to hold a glass properly? You’d think you wouldn’t have to be taught, but there’s a knack. For the most part, if your drink is in a fluted glass you should hold it by the stem (so your hand doesn’t warm up). If you’ve got a short glass or snifter though, the opposite holds true.
6. Know when to call it a day
This one goes for both the chatter and the drinks. As you go to more networking events and functions you’ll start to get a read on when things start to wind up – and when you should start making tracks for the door. You don’t want to overstay your welcome or be the person who won’t shut up even though the rest of the group keep making pointed comments about how late it’s getting.
And in a similar vein, you also gotta know when to cut yourself off the drinks. It’s important to drink responsibly no matter where you are, but in situations where you’ve got to be professional, calm and collected, it’s even more important to know your limits.
Jack Daniel’s knew better than most how to get the party started. He also knew when it was time to call it a night. Enjoy responsibly.Image: Instagram / @chrishemsworth