Like any smart job seeker, you’ll look your most professional, with well-maintained and tasteful attire, every hair in place and shoes that pair style with comfort – you can’t network when your feet hurt.
However, you may have overlooked an important accessory that can send even more signals than your wardrobe: the drink in your hand can say a lot about you, or even act as a serious barrier to effective networking.
Beer is a safe bet. It’s conventional, relaxed and has the right amount of “work-after-work” feeling to it.
Also, if you’re at an event for several hours, no one will begrudge you having more than one.
A martini perfectly captures the goal of a networking function: make a very strong impression in a very short time.
However, you may find it hard to close a promising conversation when you can’t find your business cards…or your wallet…or your shoes, for that matter.
Since these drinks are small in size, it’s deceptively easy to wind up with a glass full of ice, which can be distracting, particularly if you find yourself in a crowd with no table in sight.
If this is your particular poison, ask for a watered-down one in a highball glass, not a squat rocks glass. You want to be sure your drink has staying power.
Wine is the popular go-to drink for networking functions. You’ll avoid the bloated feeling that can come with beer, while radiating class and sophistication (sip, don’t gulp, junior).
White wine is always a safer bet, as red wine has a nasty reputation for staining: fabric, teeth, moral character, you name it.
While there’s nothing wrong with a cocktail, networking bars are usually pretty rudimentary, and there’s often a line behind you.
Avoid anything that involves “construction.” This isn’t the moment to demonstrate your knowledge of mixology or argue with the bartender about how to make a Velvet Horseshoe.
Though many find a drink helps them relax and ease into a casual event, it’s important to consider the various merits of water.
Water will not only be free at most networking events, it will help you ensure you keep a level head and stay hydrated for the all hand-shaking and card-swapping.
You’ll never know what small decisions can spark conversations, and which conversations could lead to great job opportunities. Something as small as a shared favourite drink could lead to big things. You can’t read minds, but you can avoid some obvious drink don’ts.