Networking gone wrong! Completely wrong.
Posted by Molly Wendell // in Networking
I should have followed my own advice. But no. Time was of the essence and I couldn’t afford to wait a moment longer. What a mistake! What a HUGE mistake. It went something like this:
I want to get a meeting with Marty, an SVP of a fairly large technology company who shall remain nameless, but safe to say they are the backbone to networks (and might rhyme with disco). I have this great idea that will help them increase their business dramatically and I wanted to see if they’re interested in some growth.
So, I’m on my computer Tuesday night – checking out their site – and I happen to notice that they’re having a partner conference in my city on Thursday. And guess who the keynote speaker is. That’s right. Marty! He and I are going to be in the same area code. I have to take advantage of this incredible opportunity!
Quickly, I reach out to a few people that might know Marty. No response. So, I give Marty a heads up. I leave a message on his voicemail Wednesday night – letting him know I’m going to drop by, match a name with a face, and just say hello. No warm intro. No one to vouch for me. Just an enthusiastic voicemail letting him know I just wanted 2 minutes of his time (or less!).
Thursday comes along, and I get ready – wearing my best corporate suit. I look very professional, and no one in their right mind would confuse me for the absolute stalker I’m seemingly about to become. I’m kind of nervous. I can’t remember the last time I approached someone without a warm introduction. It’s been way too long. And I thought, this is either going to work out really well or really poorly.
I got to the hotel conference center about 20 minutes before Marty was scheduled to finish his speech. And that’s when I met, and was stopped immediately by, a large man named Richard. “You need to get a badge” he said. No problem. I can do that. I waltz over to the registration desk and explain my plight. “I’m here to see Marty. I need to quickly get a badge before he finishes speaking so I can catch him before he leaves town.” Felicity – my new best friend – does what she can, but can’t seem to get in touch with anyone on the team who can authorize me to walk in the door. Eagle-eye Richard keeps lurking at me from afar. I’ve got to get out from under his watch!
By now, I have about 10 minutes before Marty is finished. Maybe he’s going to leave from the stage? Let me go check – to make sure he’s not all presidential – and pulls an escape out the back. I walk around the building to the parking lot (making sure Richard sees me leave). All I find around the back is a production person – smoking. I ask him if he thinks Marty is leaving out the front or the back. He was really nice, and said he’d go check with his boss. We walked up to the back door – and much to my dismay, there’s Richard saying “There she is!” like I’ve just committed grand larceny or something. My new friend, the smoker, finds his boss and he lets me know that Marty will likely leave from the front. So, off I go, back to the conference center.
Richard beats me to the area. And I check in with Felicity again. No luck. She can’t help me. So, then I figure I’ll just wait until Marty comes out. Next thing I know a guy approaches me and asks if he can help me. “Absolutely, I’d love your help. And you are…” Head of Security for the company. Great! I go from being so excited to say hello, just match a name with a face, to having the Head of Security keeping a trace on me. I’ve matched a name with a face alright. And I probably have now made their corporate list of “people to watch out for.” But it’s not quite the list I was shooting for!
Needless to say, I didn’t get to meet Marty. I felt horrible. I was so close. I think what bothered me the most was not that I didn’t get to meet Marty, but that I went about it the wrong way. I was so eager in trying to leverage an opportunity that I neglected to heed my own advice. I know better! Shame on me!
So, I think I’ll let things cool off a little, and look for a referral. And one day, I’ll be able to share this story with Marty in person. And maybe we’ll have a laugh or two. Until then, rest assured, his crack team is certainly shielding him from the rest of the world – and possibly many other potential opportunities.