Have you ever been to a networking event where you are older than the average age by at least 20 years?
Where you are the oldest person sitting at your table by far (though you have tried unsuccessfully to maneuver yourself into a mixed-age group)?
Where you are the only woman whose heels are less than three inches tall?
That’s happened to me . . . and I hate it!
Don’t get me wrong. The younger people have been nice to me and have included me in their conversations. And I’m rather experienced at networking and handle the situation much more comfortably today than I did in years past.
I’ve got nothing to complain about and even some happy memories to relish.
But it still feels weird.
As December rolls around, I’m more aware than ever of groups that skew much younger than me as the programming veers more towards holiday parties and happy hours than educational lectures.
Before I decide to attend an unknown group, I prefer to do a little research. I look at the website of the organization, especially the photos. I may look at the LinkedIn / Facebook / Twitter profiles of officers. If the event is at a bar, I may look at the site’s website. I scroll through the membership directory (if available and I have access) to see if I recognize any names.
Sometimes I attend anyway if the program is really, really good.
But not usually.
I’ve been reading a fair amount about networking but I’m not seeing this issue addressed.
What’s been your experience?