Today, friends, we're going to talk about the power in running yo' mouth. No, we're not talking about tea a.k.a. gossip; this post is about networking.
Transparent moment...I absolutely hate small talk. I understand that it's necessary sometimes but for me, I'd much rather get straight to the point. I don't want to beat around the bush to talk about things that don't really matter. While people are trying to force a conversation with me, I start running Migos ad libs in my head, then I smile and nod. While people are talking, majority of the time, I am in my head like, "I don't care...I'm not really interested in that...how can I exit this convo?" I meet so many people, most of which I won't remember, and sometimes I just want to say, "Hi, I'm Jessica. I'm good at everything. What resources can we exchange?" I meannnnnnn, you just never know who you're sitting next to and how they can help you and/or vice versa. However, I don't want to talk about your dog to get to that point.
Yesterday, I was sitting in a training and the instructor said to work in a group of 4 for an activity. The people that I knew in the training went the opposite way forcing me to work with new people. Initially I rolled my eyes because I wasn't in the mood for small talk, but we worked on the exercise and of course, that naturally led to a generic conversation. I never introduced myself or even asked any of their positions. At the sound of the stop watch, the instructor called one of my group mates to the front of the room and asked her to give insight on her experiences. At that moment I realized that I had missed an opportunity to properly represent myself. She said her name and then nonchalantly mentioned that she's a CEO that has successfully expanded her business in SEVERAL locations.
I was kicking myself under the table. In my head, I was like, "Yo Jess....do you even know who you are sitting next to?" Who knew that I was sitting next to a CEO that had the answers to some of the logistical issues that I've been facing? Clearly I didn't because I didn't care to entertain 2 minutes of small talk. I could've picked her brain about strategies, gotten tips on processes to implement, acquired resources, etc. Most importantly, I could have and should have at least introduced myself. Instead, I had to take my "L" in peace for the missed opportunity.
After my experience, I pose these questions to you...do you ever introduce yourself to strangers? Are you networking with the people around you? Who are you sitting next to? Are you judging a book by its cover?
In the same training, there was a man who strolled in late and stood in the back with rugged jeans and an unintentionally faded t-shirt. He stood out because the rest of us were trying to look polished in business attire, yet his relaxed look was a complete contrast. Let's just say that if he had a cardboard sign, I would've given him a dollar. Does that paint the picture for you? Turns out that "bum" in the rugged jeans grosses millions of dollars per year. He can teach us all a thing or two.
Moral of the story, don't make small-minded mistakes. You never know who can help you on your journey. The next time you sit next to someone new, introduce yourself, hug a neck, kiss a baby, and offer some help. In the meantime, let me scooch my chair up to this millionaire table so we all can eat.