I found myself at a music festival this weekend. Literally. On Friday night, I stood on the edge of the grass behind the sea of lawn chairs and felt myself arrive – piece by piece. The sky had miraculously cleared and there were at least 4 constellations (of which I knew the names). The sun had blazed over Lake Huron an hour before and now here we all were, many hundreds of people, all sitting / standing /swaying and all strangers.
It was a relief to not be “on” - to be anonymous – to be part of a crowd with no agenda but to be there.
Which completely freed me to do what I love best.
What? you might think, Isn't that the opposite of the anonymity and the purpose of getting away from it all?
I think that's the biggest mistake we make when we talk about “Networking”. It is not a task to be undertaken or a challenge to be overcome. It doesn't have to involve your game face or your most polished presentation.
Here we all were at a large gathering for a common purpose. No one asked me what I do for a living. No one was seeking anything. Heck, folks didn't even ask my name unless the conversation was going really well.
We all wandered about this lovely park (could've easily been a big hotel ballroom) and nodded to each other, made comments about a book tucked under an arm, the source of a sandwich, a compliment... a commentary on the musicians... found an old acquaintance. Some conversations evolved. Some will stretch on and off through the event. Some were simply polite.