I recently went to my first Chamber of Commerce Young Professionals event. It turned out to be a much better networking event then I had expected, which was pleasantly surprising, and I was able to meet a handful of pretty awesome folks. There was a handful of great things about the event and I may post about those things another time, but for today… I wanted to talk about my expectations going in.
Let me ask a question before I go further. Have you ever been to a movie and had extremely high expectations going in, only to in the end leave the theater disappointed? Yet, when you talked to your friends about the movie the next day they were blown away. One of the main reasons for this is because of expectations. I have gone into movies with low expectations and been pleasantly surprised and I have gone in with high expectations and been sorely disappointed. Last night was more of the disappointed for me, but that is on me.
I was connected to this group by a friend and I went in with the purpose to talk to a few key people about an idea that I had to add value to the group. I know… stupid. That thought process is against all that I always talk about, but sometimes impatience and our past lives can get the better of us. The one saving grace though is that I was texting a friend before the event and as I was doing this I caught myself about to make a big mistake… going in looking for the sale. Since I caught myself having too high of expectations I was able to temper them a little, but not fully, and that is why I walked away a little disappointed in the whole thing.
No matter the event you are going to, even if you are the keynote speaker, make sure you temper your expectations. A guardrail that I am going to have in place is to go in wanting to share in at least one persons story. That doesn’t mean that I will do business with them eventually, it just means that I will pay attention to them and actually let them be heard. If I can offer advice, fantastic. If it leads to us connecting later on, great. If I can offer a smile, awesome. The outcome doesn’t really matter. I just know that from now on I am going to go in expecting to share in at least one persons story and let the rest fall where it may.
I am glad that I had that conversation with my friend beforehand because if I would have went in hot with barrels blazing, I would have missed the opportunity to connect with two pretty awesome guys that work five minutes from where I do.
Remember to check your expectations at the door because you don’t want to ruin a perfectly good experience.