The truth is, I have attended hundreds of networking events over the last 5 years as a single woman, and I have yet to encounter the possibility of true love. Though I have hope, I seem to know how this story ends. Essentially, I’ve become so numb to it while simultaneously praying that I’m wrong. While, popular opinion states that finding love at a networking event is inappropriate, I beg to differ. As a matter of fact, in 2018, there is a unanimous belief that this is the year of success and completion. With that being said and everybody’s biological clocks ticking, let’s explore the possibility of finding love anywhere including networking events.
“A 2017 WalletHub survey shows that South Florida is one the best areas to find true love with “Fort Lauderdale ranked 86th and Miami as 49th out of 182 cities… yet, more than 45 percent of the U.S. population remains unmarried.” So are we all looking for love in the wrong places, or have we deemed the perfect match matching opportunities as inappropriate?
Luckily for my readers, I had the pleasure being one of the 40 VIPs invited to Chef Creole’s Wine & Light Bites Mixer. There was a man and a women less than 10 ft. away from me having what appeared to be a romantic connection. Not because I am nosey, but for us, I watched this couple (“Tommy and Tina”) gaze into each other’s eyes while partaking in Chef Creole’s amazing lite bites and German wine selections. Again, for us, I zero’ed in on them to discover their secret in transitioning from finance to romance. They were smiling from ear to ear, and the space between them allowed no room for others to enter, but I squeezed in to get the Pre-Valentine’s Day gifts listed below. Singles, especially hardworking singles who spend most of their free time networking, these gifts might have us all on a real date by Valentine’s Day.
Pre V-Day Gift #1: Be Nice - Tommy was immediately attracted to Tina’s “nice” factor. According to him, “She was not your typical Black Woman afraid to smile back at an admirer.” Ladies, we must let go of the unapologetic “Don’t talk to me, I am #BlackGirlMagic” face. Fellas, her elevator pitch shouldn’t be a signal for competition or intimidation. It’s okay to admire and compliment her drive.
Pre V-Day Gift #2: Put Your Network to Work - Let your network work for you. Tina prepared for the networker ahead of time by telling the event organizer for Chef Creole, Jimmy Nickerson CEO of JNICK Management Group, what her professional needs were. This made it easy for Nickerson to be on the lookout for business relationship matches, so when Tommy arrived and introduced himself, he was the perfect match for Tina and was immediately escorted over to her.
Pre V-Day Gift # 3: Be An Active Listener - Both Tommy and Tina were excited to find they have shared interests. Through active listening, they discovered commonalities that were great for both business and pleasure. Tina found it intriguing that Tommy was not trying to one up her with his accomplishments, but rather he was listening intently to see how he could be an asset to her.
Pre V-Day Gift #4: Be Available - At networking events, single folks who are interested in love should avoid being busy bodies, passing out business cards excessively, taking 1 million selfies and updating your social media with minute to minute details of the event. While these things could be key in 2018, moderation and quality over quantity have value in intimate settings. “Consider connecting effectively by introducing yourself first, and allowing salutations and your name to be your opening line,” according to Patrick Jackson, the CEO of Yes You Can Men. Typically, we are so busy following networking dos and don'ts, we fail to be present and in the moment.
Now remember, the rules of engagement still require that we lead with professionalism, but these 4 gifts will help singles discover that with the right approach we can have it all. It is possible. It can happen. Because wherever there are people, the basic human desire for love is always prevalent and worthy of pursuit even in networking environments.
Check out Crystal Chanel's On the Scene article in The Westside Gazette: