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We’re all familiar with the 30 second elevator pitch.However, professional networking events usually call for a more social, conversational, and situational approach.Although going to a networking event is contextually very different from speed dating, the expectations are shockingly similar; in both cases, you get a limited window to chat up a complete stranger, assess if he or she is into you, and try to get his or her number (okay, business card – but there’s usually a number on the card, right? There was a write-up in New York Magazine a few years ago discussing an interview prep guide distributed by the career services office at Columbia Business School reminding students to brush their teeth before going on interviews.

You’ll be surprised how often guests say “I liked so and so but they were a bit serious about it all”.It’s surprising that so few of us would wear rain boots to a date that we’ve been looking forward to all week, but some of us need to be reminded not to wear rain boots to an interview we’ve been prepping for all week.[Even though we’ve been advised that the Columbia memo was more related to Columbia’s lack of coathangers and places to change shoes in their employer presentation areas than actual lack of common sense] Dressing the part is literally half the battle in making it look like you have it together. Unlike an interview process, which involves resume intensive screening, when you’re walking around and meeting people at a networking event, you’re meeting a lot of people over short interactions and there are basically only two things to judge you by: what you’re wearing and what you’re saying.One of the best dating tips I give guests is to avoid talking about work too much at singles nights. Although it’s nice to hear what people do to get a sort of background picture, don’t spend your precious 4 minute speeddate explaining how you’ve just taken on a new really complex finance modeling system which is bound to boggle and bore your date.You want to be memorable and have 4 minutes fly by and leave your date wanting more.

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