February 13, 2015

Networking Advice: Show Up Early

By: Peter Redpath

I know that when I first arrived to town, I felt doubly awkward introducing myself to people at receptions because I’m a somewhat shy person and I lacked confidence since I was embarrassed that I was arriving to town as an unemployed law student. I had no idea how ahead of my time I was!

gala 2Speaking of being ahead of my time, that’s my tip for this week. Be ahead of the time, as in show up exactly 5 minutes early to receptions. That’s right, DO NOT BE FASHIONABLY LATE. Be fashionably early. It’s ok to be fashionably late if you’re attending a ball and want to make a grand entrance. Other than that, please show up early.

Showing up early is important for a few reasons. One, it allows you to meet the organizers of the event who work for these wonderful organizations. If you’re in the movement or want to be in the movement…show up early and guess what? You’ll meet other people in the movement! And these are great organizations, so get to know the people running these groups from the ground up! The other advantage to showing up early is that it allows you to make your own crowd when you arrive.

Typically very few people show up right at the beginning because they’ve received the “fashionably late” advice. But a few people haven’t heard that advice or disregard it and when those few arrive, you’ll be the only two or three people there. So start your own crowd. You’re the only ones there, after all. Think about it. It’s much easier than showing up late and standing on the outside of someone else’s circle hoping you’ll get invited to join into their conversation. Arrive early, form your own circle, and once you’ve got it formed, invite the new arrivals into yours and make some more friends. They’ll be appreciative of the gesture. That’s a great way to deal with the shyness issue.

But how do you deal with the insecurities that arrive when you’re job seeking? We’ll cover that next week….

Peter Redpath is Vice President and Director of the Student Division at the Federalist Society. This is the second reprint in a series, based on his remarks at the AFF Networking Lunch in November 2012.