Finding Connection: The Power of Pre-Networking

Pre-Networking, finding connect. Do you dread this moment? You walk into an expansive conference room filled with the buzz of conversation, clinking glasses, and the palpable energy of potential connections. You look around and don’t see anyone you know. You alternate between awkwardly looking at your phone and scanning the room looking for a familiar face so you don’t feel so alone. It seems like everyone is talking to people they came with or already knew, and you can’t find a way to break into the conversation. It feels overwhelming and isolating. 

I don’t care if you’re the captain of the football team or you’re the biggest nerd on campus. You’re insecure until you get connected to your group. Every single one of us has that feeling when we go and network. When you walk into a ballroom or a conference room or a bar, it’s hard. And if you don’t have your people, even if you’re traveling as a group, but they’re not there yet, and you’re waiting, you sit there, it’s awkward.– Laura Nelson, podcast episode 6: Crafting Inclusivity at Events.

Pre-Networking: Emotional Rollercoaster of Networking Events

For introverts or those of us who don’t drink alcohol, networking events can sometimes feel like being a wallflower at a high school dance, watching as everyone else seems to effortlessly mingle and laugh. The bar becomes a beacon, not because of a desire for alcohol, but because it offers a place to linger, a way to blend in without having to plunge into the intimidating sea of networking.

The feelings of isolation and discomfort aren’t just imagined. They’re real, palpable emotions that can turn what should be an exciting opportunity for growth into a stress-filled ordeal. The thought of striking up a conversation with a stranger can seem daunting, and the fear of rejection or of not being interesting enough looms large. The networking events feel like they’re centered around a “cocktail” hour and as the night goes on, inhibitions are lowered. How many times have you heard the stories the next morning about how “wild” last night was? 

If events are supposed to create impact, change, and collective liveliness, attendees have to be at their best and feel comfortable to engage. It’s time we stop leaving quality connections up to chance. 

Pre-Networking: A Lifeline for the Introverted and Sober

What if you could walk into every event feeling like you already belong, confident in the knowledge that you have a tribe waiting for you?

Pre-networkingthe act of forming connections before stepping foot into the main event, is a game-changer. It’s about transforming the anxiety of being an outsider into the comfort of familiarity. It’s for those of us who have ever felt the prick of discomfort, the gnawing sense of not fitting in, and the longing for meaningful interactions.

Imagine, instead, arriving at an event armed with the knowledge that you’ve already made connections, that there are friendly faces in the crowd who recognize you, not from a hastily exchanged business card on the exhibit floor,  but from previous interactions. This is the essence of pre-networking and the core of the Sober Life Rocks community—creating a space where you never have to feel alone at an event again.

This is where the magic of pre-networking comes into play. By reaching out and forming connections before the event, you’re not just building a network; you’re building a safety net. For some, this comes easily and can be done on social media.  But for others, event forums and communities like Sober Life Rocks are invaluable tools for fostering connections. They allow you to introduce yourself, share your interests, and even arrange to meet up with fellow attendees in a more controlled, less overwhelming setting.

The Sober Life Rocks Community: Never Feel Alone Again

Sober Life Rocks has been busy compiling a list of every dental conference across the country so members can indicate which ones they are attending and be connected in event-specific Voxer groups before, during and after the meeting!  Want to get connected?  Become a member today!  

Engaging in pre-networking turns the daunting expanse of a networking event into a series of enjoyable reunions with acquaintances you’ve already made. It’s the difference between feeling lost at sea and navigating familiar waters where support and camaraderie await.

“What I’ve been the most surprised about is how many people I’ve spoken with that aren’t sober, but drink very moderately. And they don’t like the heavy drinking culture either. They’re excited to know that there are other people who they can show up authentically with and have networking that is meaningful and memorable. This is what makes the dollars and time we spend going to events worthwhile. I’m so excited to be part of building this tribe –  I have not felt this energy and relief for a long time.Margy Schaller, podcast episode 10. Navigating Professional Pressures.

In this community, pre-networking becomes more than just a strategy; it’s a pathway to finding your tribe. It’s about knowing that when you walk into an event, you’re not an outsider. You’re part of a collective that values deep, meaningful connections over superficial exchanges at the bar.

The Benefits of Pre-Networking Extend Beyond the Event

Seth Godin says, “A group needs only two things to be a tribe: a shared interest and a way to communicate.”  Sober Life Rocks has built in numerous channels and ways to connect to help foster their growing tribe of members.  It’s a place where you can connect with like-minded individuals who understand the unique challenges and triumphs of blending into networking events without the crutch of alcohol.

Being part of a tribe fosters a sense of belonging that can significantly impact your professional and personal growth. Having pre-established connections often lead to deeper conversations, more meaningful collaborations, and a support network that extends far beyond the confines of any single event.

Pre-networking teaches us that the power of connection lies not in the quantity of people we meet but in the quality of the relationships we build.

It shows us that even in a room full of strangers, we can find familiarity, comfort, and a sense of belonging.

Networking events don’t have to be daunting. With the support of communities like Sober Life Rocks, they can become something we look forward to—a place where we can confidently walk in, knowing we belong. For the introverts, the sober curious, and anyone who’s ever felt like an outsider, pre-networking is not just a strategy; it’s a lifeline. It’s a reminder that we never have to feel alone in a crowd again.

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