Act Like a Star When Networking

Red Carpet The Hollywood award season is in full swing, and I think we can learn a lot of valuable business networking skills from movie stars as they sashay down the red carpet.

Accept Invitations
Often when I see coverage of awards show arrivals I think to myself, “what on earth is she doing there?” because seemingly-random celebrities show up where I do not expect them. Maybe it’s a TV star like Jennifer Aniston who is attending the Oscars instead of the Emmys, or just an actress who has fallen off of my radar. Well, to answer my own question – these celebrities are there because they were invited and because it is excellent exposure.

I occasionally get invitations to networking events that make me scratch my head because they seem so random – I’m not a doctor, so why are you asking me to attend an event for them? I also get so many invites from our chamber of commerce that I’m tempted to ignore them. However, if you are invited and you can make it, you should show up. Just like a celebrity at an improbably event, it’s a great opportunity to be seen and that always makes you – and your company – more memorable when a customer needs your goods or services.

Be Picky
I love the show Ellen, and one of my favorite segments that she does during awards season is she sends normal people to the red carpet to interview celebrities for her. Generally, before they know that the people waving a microphone at them are associated with Ellen, the stars walk right past them and head to Ryan Seacrest and the other well-known entertainment reporters. However, once they realize that these non-celebrity interviewers are associated with a national talk show, they always stop to chat.

While I feel that it’s rude of the stars to walk past people who would like to interview them, I understand that they need to be picky. They have a limited amount of time to walk the red carpet so they want to maximize their publicity. It’s a good lesson for us as we attend networking events: we can afford to be choosy when it comes to the people we talk to. Now, I’m not saying that you should ignore someone who strikes up a conversation if you don’t think you’ll ever work together; however, I do think you should limit the time that you spend with that person and focus on those who really are potential customers. And if he or she gloms onto you, excuse yourself to the restroom or have a friend rescue you from the conversation so that you can really work the room to your advantage.

Go Glam
Whether or not they truly feel that way, movie stars seem to ooze confidence on the red carpet. They get gussied up and strike their best pose and essentially act like they own the place.

Similarly, you might not feel overly confident if you walk into a networking event without knowing a soul there – so fake it! Wear a nice outfit: that always makes me feel more self-assured. Then throw your shoulders back, hold your head up high, and do just what the celebrities do – act like you own the place!

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