How to Simultaneously Network While Also Seeming Like You Aren’t ONLY Interested In Them Because They Work For the NHL Even Though That’s Why You’re Even There In the First Place
Networking is ugly - it’s true. But that being said, networking is also like that total hottie that you just ran into that you remember as brace-faced and acne-ridden from middle school. If you put the work in and take your time, networking can pay off as a huge investment.
I can tell you though, that a lot of people have come up to me and told me to “fuck off”. They’ve also told me that they feel that networking is awkward. It feels to them that everyone is just looking for a job or looking for people to leverage. How are they supposed to develop meaningful relationships with other people when it’s so obvious everyone is in it for the same thing? I’ll admit, it is really hard because everyone knows what’s really going on. Nonetheless, it’s important to put everything into perspective so that you can maybe end up getting invited to that NHL party that Auston Matthews is at. How cool would that be?
First thing’s first, you need a good handshake. The problem with many people is that they think that they just need to have a strong, confident shake and they’re good to go. The problem with this is that it’s not memorable at all. Remember the last person you shook hands with? Unless you’re like me, and it was Alex Trebek so you’ve never washed your hand or shaken another once since, you’re likely to forget. For that reason, make sure that you mix it up every time to keep people off balance. That way you have the power in the interaction and they won’t be likely to forget you. I like moves like the floppy fish, the just-came-back-from-the-washroom-but-the-dryers-aren’t-Dyson-brand-so-your-hands-are-still-uncomfortably-moist, the thumb tuck, seesaw, the log-cutter, and best of all, and inarguably the most important, the normal handshake into lock-it-in bro hug. Do these handshakes and you’ll be on the way to hanging out with Gary Bettman in no time.
It’s also important to make sure you know how to make jokes about the whole thing. You need to be self aware about networking. You can tell other people at the event things like “don’t worry I’m not looking for a job referral out of this” or “look at all these idiots pretending to be interested in everyone else.” You can make links with other people about how dumb networking is! That way, you seem generous when you tell Mike from Sports Branding that Branding has always been your passion as you pass him your CV.
Lastly, make sure that you are yourself. Too often people try to talk themselves up when dealing with serious networking players. If you sometimes watch too much TV or don’t wear clothes in the home, tell people. Why should you expect them to invite you to hang out with Nazem Kandri if they don’t know who you really are.
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