How Do *You* Do It?

So, since I have officially committed to being a full-time blogger, I thought I should spread my wings a bit and get to know the growing tech community right here in Central Florida. (Pssst! Did you know that Orlando is building a Creative Village dedicated to techie things right where the old Amway Arena was? How cool is that?!)

David Glass, the brain behind the Florida Technology Journal and iSummit was hosting FTJ Live last night, featuring a panel of local tech leaders, so I thought what better way to get to meet people than volunteering to do the check in for him?

Bess Auer Florida Technology Journal

 

The event was held at Mad Cow Theatre, which I had not been to in its newest location, right in the middle of the new and redeveloped Church Street Station – yes, you old time Orlando residents need to venture back down that way and see what’s happening – it’s pretty hip!

As people started arriving, I quickly found out I picked the right place to “rub shoulders” with all sorts of tech and media people ranging from FIT and the Orlando Business Journal to Full Sail and Row Sham Bow.

Bess Auer Mad Cow Theatre

The place was soon packed with over 150 people, which then revealed my weakness… I am just not good at small talk! I fumble around for words, I lose my train of thought during a conversation, and sometimes I find myself at a loss for what to say!

Maybe as a former teacher I just haven’t had enough practice. (I NEVER had to make small talk except once a year and that was only if parents lingered after open house!) Or maybe a person just has to have a knack for this type of thing!

I was quite relieved when the crowd filed into the Harriet Theatre for the panel discussion to begin. (Yes, that theatre is named for Harriet Lake the semi-famous but uber gracious local philanthropist.)

Bess Auer FTJ Live

 

If you have ever been curious about attending one of these free, networking events, you should! They are fascinating and the information shared by the panelists is enthralling… unless you are the one being called out by one of the panelists:

Bess Auer Kyle Steele Doccaster

 

Well, what can I say? I never used the word “sucked” – ever! And Kyle and I are definitely friends… and I guess I am glad my feedback helped Doccaster – watch for incredible things from this company! But still!

So all this leads me back to to the fact that I am uncomfortable in these types of situations, and I can’t be the only one! How do you network? What are your tips for mingling and making connections? We’ve got FLBlogCon coming up in September and it is a major mixer where you can make some lifelong connections, so what’s your best piece of advice for people attending? (I need your help! haha)