Wednesday, August 8, 2012

The Importance of Networking

Before I moved to Traverse City, I had heard of Networking Events. I had seen them in movies. I had even heard talk of some of my peers attending them. They always seemed like swanky after work cocktail parties where everyone knows everyone else in attendance and they all have a fabulous carefree after-work celebration wearing only the best new business attire.

I knew that once I was a part of the working-post graduate world, I too would have to be a part of these networking events. This terrified me. My work clothes only got as sophisticated as the occasional outfit from Banana Republic (which is still absolutely one of my favorite work numbers to date). I was convinced that I would be completely out of my element.

Upon starting my life as a Young Professional, however, I found out that I was slightly misinformed. While I was beyond nervous walking into my first networking night, Business After Hours, I walked out at the conclusion of the event breathing a sigh of relief...and with twenty new business cards in hand.
Macaila, another TCYP, and I at The Cherry Festival YP social event.
Source: National Cherry Festival

Traverse City Networking Events are such an essential part of fitting into the professional community- especially as a younger member of the area. They have provided me with not only a chance to introduce myself to a ton of business owners, but also have allowed me to strengthen the connections I have already started to make by giving me a chance to catch up with individuals I crossed paths with in the past.

These networking nights have given me a chance to establish myself in a new town. True, they can be intimidating at first, but as long as you hold your own and make your presence known, you're golden. You cannot go into an event expecting people to flock to you because you're a fresh face (which was my first mistake...luckily Allison Beers made me aware that this would not work well for me early on). Once I made my introductions, I felt so much more comfortable and was able to chat about work and possible connections with ease.

Networking has given me an easy way to socialize with like-minded individuals and create lasting connections at the same time. I'm a huge advocate of multi-tasking, so clearly I'm a big fan of, the food is always exceptional. There really is nothing not to like!

Today marks my seventh month living in Traverse City and working with Events North. Thanks to both my job at Events North and networking events like Business After Hours and TCYP Social Events, I usually say hello and stop for a quick chat with someone every time I walk down Front Street.

And let me tell you- It's a great feeling.

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