There we all were, in our own kind of private space, standing around squashed between the pool tables being blasted by ridiculously loud music in a room at the end of a huge bar with the rest of the place mostly populated by 20 somethings dressed way down. A small amount of barely edible bar food was placed on one of the tables. Gloppy chicken wings, cut carrots and celery with some sort of dip, soggy tortilla chips with a small amount of something greasy on top of them. The only drinks available were beer or bar wine. You get the idea.
The event? A Networking Event hosted by four companies looking to do something nice for existing clients and land a few new ones. The people there? Business people of varying levels but all well beyond being 20 somethings. All of us screaming at each other while dripping food all over and hoping not to spill something on those crushed up against us.
The hosts? In the spirit of protecting those who apparently know no better, I will just say that they included a huge global consulting firm, a huge global insurance brokerage, and a couple of regional firms that seem to do things in the financial and IT realms. I can’t be sure because I never saw anyone from any of the host firms.
The conversations? Difficult. The noise I mentioned. With a bit of screaming I managed to share some stories with a few people I knew and chat with one or two bankers trolling for potential borrowers. Every single conversation I was in included some amazed discussion of the venue, the food, the noise, and the fact that those who just wanted a Makers Mark on the rocks had to fork over 8 bucks.
Quite a few people were wondering who set this up and what they were thinking. Hardly showed the hosts in their best light. Actually, since I never saw any of them, the light didn’t matter.
The good news is that I got introduced by a friend who was there to someone who desperately wants me to contact him as his company can use my help. One of the bankers discovered that Benari uses his bank and asked if I had ever been to their holiday party. Upon hearing that I hadn’t he got a card from me and promised to invite me a really nice party with excellent food and a bar to match. As he said, “nothing like this.”
I cut out early with someone and we went to the nearby Capital Grille where we sat at the bar with excellent glasses of wine, some of their home made potato chips, and nice background music that allowed us to have a conversation without burning out our vocal cords.