Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Networking Tip - Keep your ears open!

Business Networking Tip of the Month

January 2008

I am a painfully shy person—and so striking up a conversation with a stranger in public, can be a little intimidating.

This morning I dragged my little laptop to the local coffee-house after going to the gym. This is part of my daily routine for me, and one of my guilty pleasures. At my little coffee shop, I grab a corner seat and enjoy the ambiance. The warmness, the hustle, the people. And inevitably, people sit around me and talk loud enough that I can’t help but hear them.

A lot of the times it is gossip, or just chit-chat. Sometimes it is so personal that I try not to listen. My hearing the intimate details of their lives, which they pour out to a friend or lover over coffee, would be intruding beyond that which I feel comfortable.

But on occasion, a business meeting is being held—like today. A woman in a fantastic silver trench coat was speaking with a young man in a wrinkled button down and his “funeral” suit about a job opportunity. He is a writer he says, and she was talking to him about freelance opportunities.

So you see why this peaked my interest. I am a freelance writer---I am looking for freelance opportunities!

Now, I did not mean to listen in. Not really. Sometimes you just can’t help it. But I got enough of the gist of the conversation to want to talk to this woman. Of course, right then as she interviewed a guy was certainly not the time.

And so, as she got up to throw away her garbage, I motioned her over and asked if I could have her card.

WHOA!!!! Now that was unlike me, however, it seemed the best way to get a chance to talk to this fashionable, and clearly interesting woman. So I quickly explained that I would email her and explain why I wanted to talk to her later---that I knew she was on her way out, and I would fill her in via email later that day.

Now she looked at me with a quirky smile, most likely thinking that the girl with the laptop in the gym clothes was a strange one…and so she said “I have a minute now...”

Well, I didn’t really want to talk to a potential partner or employer while in my sweatpants, and so impromptu, and while she was in a hurry---or while she was with someone else! So I just said that I was a freelance writer. That was enough for her to understand the purpose of my inquiry, and to realize, as I had, that this moment was not right for a long conversation.

So my business Networking Tip of the month: Keep your Ears Open for Opportunities!
You never know what you will hear...

Meghan Wier
Freelance Writer, Etc.

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