Networking Etiquette #2: When is it appropriate to throw etiquette out the window?

Posted On: January 16, 2020

WHEN IT COMES TO YOUR SAFETY AND/OR THE SAFETY OF OTHERS!!!

I cannot stress this enough as it is quite common to hear of and even witness people who put themselves in unsafe positions and scenarios simply because they “Don’t want to be rude” or “Don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings.” Understand this – the person who is putting you in potential jeopardy DOES NOT AND NEVER WILL CARE ABOUT YOUR FEELINGS!

Today, we talk about safety as it pertains to networking events, holiday parties and/or charity events.

Alcohol. Unfortunately, too much alcohol is a source of poor choices. Many networking events and mixers are in the evening and will have a bar. It is not uncommon to buy some drinks for others who you are connecting with and possibly even pursuing in business. It’s also not a bad thing to put someone else’s drink on your tab as a gesture. I have no problem with this and in fact I believe it’s a nice thing to do.

The pitfalls lie in the amount consumed and the behavior which is inevitably altered. First and foremost, please know your limits. If you are attending a 2hour event, perhaps you should limit your intake to 2 drinks. Throwing in a glass of water is also a great idea. However, if you over did it then grab an Uber or ask a trusted friend or colleague for a ride. If you’re not sure, be conservative and err on the side of caution. After all, it’s not just you who is at risk – it’s everyone else on the road.

Creeps exist!!! Listen to your instincts! – There are some real creepos out there. It’s sad but it’s also reality. There are people who will stalk your social media pages. There are people who are married and who try to use networking events as hunting grounds in the hopes of scoring an affair. There are people who are single and also use the guise of business to land one on one meetings with others they’re attracted to and then treat it as a date. There are also pervs who like to push the envelope by staring, taking pics of your shoes, they may greet you with a hug that lasts too long, or their hands may land in very inappropriate spot. DON”T ACCEPT THIS BEHAVIOR!!! They do this because they get away with it and if you allow it to continue, then you’re only letting these disgusting people build their confidence. If you find yourself in a conversation which you feel is inappropriate and you’re uncomfortable, get out of it. You can say something like “Excuse me, I have to find my friend who I am meeting here.” Or you can just say “Excuse me.” And if you’re really disgusted, just walk away. This is the one scenario where it’s more than ok to be rude!!! Please don’t let someone take advantage of you for any reason…EVER!!!

Don’t go it alone! This one is not just for the ladies. Pickpockets, muggings and other crimes happen. The fact is that predators choose their prey and what they look for is an easy target. There is strength in numbers and having just one person to walk in and out of an event greatly reduces your chances of being that target. Use the buddy system and if you’re about to walk to your car alone, you can always ask someone who works at the venue to escort you to your car. There’s no shame in safety.

Always keep your valuables on your person. A friend of mine just had her Michael Kors jacket stolen from her at a restaurant. There was no coat check and she was not paying attention to it because she was on familiar ground. These things occur all the time.

Do not leave your drink unattended. If you’re going to the rest room, either have a friend watch it (not my favorite advice but better than nothing), ask the bartender to hang on to it (out of reach) or just get a new one when you return.

Stay Alert! This one sounds scary and I understand that but again, here’s the truth bomb – SHIT HAPPENS! You want to carry yourself in a manner which exudes confidence. The message that should be received by a potential creep, perv, mugger, etc is this…”Messing with me is the worst decision you will ever make!” Stand tall, do not carry large bulky items, do not wear your headphones, always look around and beware of your surroundings and look people in the eye. If you’re walking to a subway and you think you’re being followed, jump into a store or flag down a taxi. Carry mace and/or a sound alarm on your key ring and keep your keys out so you don’t fumble for them.

All too often, people walk around with their guard down. I truly hope that this changes. Sharpen your axe in the world of safety and self-defense. You are loved and needed and we don’t want anything bad to happen to our beloved fellow networkers!