Surviving networking events can be tough; you can never be too prepared. In that case, here’s a list of characters you may meet:
The People Watcher
This person is usually an introvert. Their hawk-like observation skills are unmatched, and they prefer to carefully watch from a distance, silently reflecting on the intricacies of human interaction. They select a perch in the corner of the room and wait for the perfect opportunity to make their move. “Soon,” they whisper. “Soon.”
The Undercover Genius
They may be coy, but don’t be fooled; they’ve founded and sold at least two companies and they’ve already raised a few million dollars for their next venture.
This is the type of person who skips the article to read the comment section and enjoys “just browsing” in shopping malls. They hover on the periphery of conversations, hoping to gleam some meaningful insight, or better yet, witness some high drama.
You can usually hear them before you see them. They have no problem climbing above the dull roar of the crowd and even drown out the mediocre Coldplay cover band. Usually gregarious and demonstrative, they’ve never learned to use their inside voice, but their laugh is infectious, even if it is a little obnoxious.
This person already knows everyone here. This event is just part of their monthly routine. They’ve sampled over 300 distinct craft beers and heard every ridiculous startup idea at least twice. They’re not sure why they’re here (yet again), listening to the same old pitches. But maybe this time will be different; maybe this time they’ll hear something that will light a spark in their cold, listless eyes.
The Drink Ticket Mogul
Some people simply refuse to accept limitations. Most people get two free drink tickets and have one or two drinks. The Mogul, channelling P. Diddy and J.D Rockefeller, turns two tickets into four, and four tickets into an empire.
They’ve turned networking into an art form. They don’t describe, they illuminate. They don’t walk, they glide. They subtly command your attention, and keep a seemingly-endless supply of witty one-liners up their sleeves. You don’t even notice when they smoothly press their business card into your palm.
The Trump (AKA the One-Upper)
Regardless of the subject or the industry, they’re the best at it (or at least they claim to be). You closed five new clients last month? Well, they closed 10. You met the mayor? That’s cute, but they had tea with The Queen once. They may also have an obscene obsession with gold and writing their name all over things.
This is the one person you really want to connect with. But you only manage to catch brief glimpses of them as they pop in and out of the crowd. And each time you manage to break free of yet another round of uninspired smalltalk, they’ve disappeared into the fog once more.
The Kindred Spirit
As you attempt to disengage from an awkward conversation with The Trump, a shining vision meets your gaze and rescues you. A choir of angels heralds their arrival and you spend the rest of the event comparing a long list of mutual interests and connections. How have you never met before? This is crazy. But before you can exchange contact information, the night ends and they float gently away into the ether. You wish you’d had more time, but you feel strangely at peace. “Soon,” you promise. Soon.