Months ago, from the comfort of my home, I saw an ad for BC Business’s Top 100 Networking luncheon.
It sounded like a great idea at the time; I was in a brave expansive mood. Get a single ticket and go on my own…to meet people!
The day drew near and my enthusiasm had flagged a bit…going to an event by yourself is hard. Will there be assigned seating? Will I have to find a place and ask people if I can join them? Hmmm….maybe I just wouldn’t go. No! I wanted to hear the speaker, the man who started the Cactus Club restaurants: Richard Jaffray. So I stuck to the plan.
A few blocks before the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver, walking and soaking up all the sights on the downtown streets, I spotted a fabulously dressed woman – wearing a bright red Chanel-style suit and gorgeous red high heeled shoes to match. Wow. She really stood out from the crowd.
A client of mine was calling, so I ducked into the quiet of a nearby building atrium to answer her questions…. 5-10 mins later, I carried on.
Now I saw the same woman in front of the Fairmont. Maybe she was also going to the luncheon…but waiting for someone? I said “you look absolutely fabulous!” as I passed. She gave me a big smile and answered “thank you so much!!” I waltzed into the hotel and up to the conference level.
I picked up my badge and looking around: how daunting….how would I connect with people? Most people were in groups or had a conversation buddy.
I found one guy who was standing alone: “Thought it was a good idea to come alone months ago…..” I remarked…and we started talking. Then another, then another. “Are you here alone?” I asked a young lady standing by one of the food tables. Yes! She smiled in relief. We started chatting and moved over to one of the stand-up tables to eat a bite or too. A few others joined us. I took to cruising the ballroom and stopping along the way when I felt I could touch down and introduce myself to yet another friendly person. One guy had great shoes….I commented….(Fluevogs’s no less)…He was an art director and is going to send me the name of someone who might help with editing my book.
An hour and a half later, I had talked to 20 wonderful people…everyone was very open to meeting, saying hi, reading name tags, it was very encouraging. A public speaking coach, an owner of an architectural millwork shop, accountants, a CEO of a credit union, an events co-ordinator, a project manager for industrial construction, IT advisors….
Then I caught a glimpse of the red suit, and shoes, again. I went up to her and introduced myself. She said “You made my day”. We talked. We both have 20 year old sons, who are travelling or about to travel, she’s a financial advisor that I may hire for some planning/advice. We will meet for coffee.
Veteran publisher Peter Legge interviewed Richard Jaffrey in a lovely, relaxed, casual and intimate style and the large audience sat so silently listening to his every word. His early days, his first restaurant, the hard times and the good times. It was a great story.
I left happy, excited, inspired, strong, positive, pleased, and satisfied. I had it in me all along.