I’ve really missed the “real” networking of days long ago. Constant Zooms, Slacks, and digital communication have been invaluable but nothing – nothing – beats sitting across from someone and having a conversation with all the nuance, physical responses, smiles, frowns, laughs and more. In person networking is coming back.
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Yesterday I was able to attend a fully vaccinated networking event. It was amazing, and terrifying, and a whole lot of emotions in between. Our group was very lucky in that many of each other has stayed in contact to some degree during the pandemic. We were doubly lucky in that our monthly watering hole opened for a private gathering of 20 vaccinated folk to take over the bar and outside patio . We let down our masks! Faces! In 3D!
While some people had been vaccinated longer than others, and may have already stepped out of their caves further than others, everyone was absolutely overjoyed to see each other. I thought I’d jot down a quick list of what to expect:
- Not everyone is maskless ready regardless of the environment,
- Expect a slow acclimatization to each other with regards to proximity,
- No one was shaking hands,
- Attempts at physical greetings (fist bump, elbow bump, shoulder pat, waving) happen,
- Expect and respect differing levels of anxiety,
- And last, take a moment to be thankful that while rare so far, it’s coming back.
And one more thing! We were crazily excited to do some of the most typical thanks – people were exchanging business cards even though we knew each other. The desire for the return to “normal” is insanely strong.