I read this by Dennie from her blog Similar Circles...takes the pressure off sometimes
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.
It is ok to say 'hi' to folks. It is ok that some conversations go nowhere. It is ok to just be in the room and not 'work it'. Often the room works itself :-)