When you hear the word “networking,” sometimes you think that means you’re wanting to meet people just to look for a job. Well, that at least was something a friend of mine told me when I told him about the amazing 3 Year Anniversary of Atlanta Under 40 at Tongue & Groove. As a student still in college at Georgia State, he expressed concern that “everybody there knows everybody is looking for a job so I just feel awkward approaching people to just use them for small talk.” If you simply like to talk to people, this event is just for you.
Going to Atlanta Under 40 was my first exposure to a networking event as a new young professional who graduated from college in 2012. College taught me that it’s about building relationships, not opportunities. Sometimes, it is difficult to build connections with people outside your daily work or personal life. This organization is the perfect opportunity for anyone, whether they are a recent college graduate, up to business professionals in the corporate world, to build meaningful relationships in a fun, informal setting of enjoying each other’s company at a beautiful venue in the city. Imagine it to be like a social happy hour for anyone in the city who has a passion for what they do.
As an Admissions Counselor at my alma mater, Georgia State University, I invited two Welcome Center Tour Guides as my guests so they could get their feet wet with these types of events, to get exposed to this before graduating. At the event, one of them sheepishly told me that they wanted to talk to a young lady just a few feet from us, but she was in conversation with others, so she felt discouraged to approach her. I simply said, “make eye contact, listen to their conversation, and easily find an opportunity to introduce yourself. It only seems awkward if you think so.” She tried and was a born natural! Before she knew it, they were all laughing together having great conversations. So even if these types of events are not really your “cup of tea,” come with a friend, enjoy a few drinks, and network away! It’s much easier than you think.
I’ve attended 2 Atlanta Under 40 Events and I absolutely love them! You’ll never know who you’ll meet, and I definitely recommend anyone coming to the next one, to build your network and to build great friendships too.