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I failed to properly introduce you to the family. Rude. What an uncomfortable feeling, right? Not knowing anyone. You walk into an event, you know no one, yet you're suppose to magically connect with everyone here by the time you leave. You're an awkward introvert when it comes to these things. You've always been conditioned your entire life to be afraid of strangers, and now you're expected to befriend all of them!

Networking is hard…and awkward. You’re thinking “I don’t even know these people, how will I hold a meaningful conversation for more than 3 minutes?!” Make networking more personal. There has to be a human element to it. We ARE human. I find that talking about something I know and love (i.e. dogs) makes the conversation more natural, and usually leads into getting to know the stranger better.

Now for introductions…

Here are the men of the house…Tyler and Church E. Bear. These two have stolen my heart. Church is a major momma’s boy, but as you can see here, he is pretty fond of his dad too. Church is our gentle giant. He wants to sit in your lap, literally he wants to sit in ANY lap that will allow it. He'll be 2 years old in January and has just taken up a hobby as a therapy dog (bless his big heart!).

                                                                                   My boys.

                                                                                   My boys.

Tyler and I work together, so he’s a forester too. But he’s really a financial planner in his heart and he inspires me to be a better human…daily. It’s been an incredible, risk-taking journey for us to be together. I love him more today than I did yesterday and I’ll love him more tomorrow too.

And now for our newest addition…Airy, also known as Air Bear. We rescued Airy at the end of August. Drove over 12 hours round trip to pick her up! We think she is about 10 months old. There is only one word to describe Airy at this point…firecracker.

So that’s my crew. And if I’m at a networking event, they’ll know about them too. Executives and VP’s at my company know Church by name and ask for photo updates…I am obviously not timid when it comes to talking about what I love. 

It’s okay to ask personal questions that aren’t TOO personal. Here are a few examples that are usually my go to’s:

  • What do you like to do for fun? (outside of work that is)
  • What’s your biggest challenge right now?
  • Have you always been passionate about (insert their current job role here)? You will be surprised how many people have ended up in a field they never initially knew they had a passion for!

People like to talk about themselves, so let them! But listen, REALLY listen, so that you have a personal experience of your own to relate or a follow up question when they finish. People connect better through stories, so don’t be afraid to tell stories about experiences you’ve had, both personal and professional! Being personal and sharing your life is a part of LIFE! Who wants to work for/with people that you can’t even talk about your giant lap dog with?!

Adrienne Dorison