After 7 Event Report ...definitely not a guide on networking...
The station exit led into an upscale shopping boutique and restaurant building. I assumed the bar would be outside on the side street. I looked around and saw only some construction and high rise buildings mostly closed for the night. All the salarymen left, off to their watering holes and ramen. Outside the posh building Mitsukoshi-mae station resided in, I looked for and found a sign. The sign indicated the bar, XEX Nihonbashi, was in the vicinity, but it didn't list the floor on the sign outside, only on the one within. It was on the fourth floor.
The Savvy Tokyo event ad was a little shy on the details, as well. Add to that, I didn't receive a email confirmation of my ticket purchase, so I only knew from my bank account that I had paid, so I was feeling lost. Luckily not having an email or bar code was inconsequential to me entering the event, but it made me quite nervous. As an anxious, introvert, not being able to convince myself that I had location or the right credentials to enter this party was making me break into a sweat. When I did locate the elegant looking bar and the diverse line of people, I noticed, immediately, I was vastly outnumbered by extroverts. I heard them, saw their confident smiles and swagger all around. I thought I should pretend, as I had 2 glasses of red liquid courage in me, I could have. However, a long day at work and a longer week trying to catch up on my blog and YouTube channel convinced me to be me, but friendlier than my sometimes stoic, aka resting bitch face, leads people to believe.
When I googled, how to network for introverts on the way to the event, I realized I already had 3 strikes against me.
1. I was late. Not the last person, but not early enough to make it easily into a group. Lone wolf, introvert is definitely not the way to network.
2. I didn't have enough of the business cards I had, nor did I have the business cards I wanted. I had spent the weekend redesigning my business cards to better represent the creativity and nerdy air of my site and channel. Unfortunately, I don't know how to use Adobe Illustrator and all the quickest 'design your own card' sites required a complicated template, font lining, and more than I had the energy to learn in 24 hours.
3. I hadn't worked out in my head, prior to reading the article, what kind of contacts I was hoping to connect with or how to identify myself.
Shortly after entering, and having my first failed conversation with a headhunting fox (not that he was particularly attractive, just obviously trying to find potential prospects), I spotted another timid, lone wolf and convinced her to team up with me. After that, problem one was less of an issue but it increased the likelihood of two becoming more of and issue.
In the next conversation, I realized No. 3 was, actually, going to be the issue of the night. The moment I said "I'm a teacher", people were, visibly, no longer interested in talking to me. Headhunter fox, I could understand, but others I was slightly taken aback. Though by the third conversation, I realized, mistakenly trying to push my YouTube channel in after the switch off felt tenuous even on my own internal ear.
I hope it was not all in vain, as only headhunting fox pulled a barely veiled excuse and escape move. Some people even accepted my cards, and talked of collaborating. If getting my name cards out was the goal for the night, I managed that. And my hangover the next day was minimal.
Hooray for small vistories, right.