The Wallflower Opportunity

Tis the season for mixers, social, and networking events. We know that in addition to celebrating the holidays, one of the best reasons to attend a business mixer is to make new contacts. But, if most of the room consists of new faces, it can be difficult to break the ice. The people who know each other tend to pair up or cluster together in impenetrable cliques and before you know it, you’re standing awkwardly on the periphery wishing you had someone to talk to.

Well, chances are you’re not alone. Scan the room and you will find at least one other person who is in the same unenviable position. They may look awkward. They may look lonely. But they are the most approachable person in the room, and even before you introduce yourself, you already have something in common with them.

It’s a prevalent networking faux pas: people who attend business mixers look for familiar faces and chat with the people they already know. This minimizes the chances of finding new contacts and opportunities. So, the next time you are in a professional gathering, seek out the wallflowers. It may seem like a counterintuitive move, especially if you have friends in the room, but often the best opportunities are found in the place where no one else is looking.