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The secret to success at networking events

Published: Thursday, Dec. 5, 2013 11:59 a.m. CDT

Tuesday, I found myself preparing for the Newton Chamber of Commerce Christmas Party and Award Ceremony, which happens tonight. It will be my first of many networking and social events as a Daily News staff writer.

It won’t be my first networking and social event overall, though. I have done events like this in the past, which has provided me with a few secrets and led me to some interesting conclusions about male professionals who go to these events.

Some of the great business and networking men I have met, when you look closer, you realize the obvious: a woman picked out his outfit and all his accessories. It doesn’t matter if the guy is married, in a relationship, or single.

I am single, and my sister Katrina for the longest time has had a part in making sure I look sharp for these events. I know I am risking intolerable jokes for a few weeks, but it’s true.

So, here’s a shout-out to my sister for helping me on short notice. My sister is also responsible for my OCD with a few concepts, especially my hair. It’s been researched that every year, a man will change his hair stylist after the age of 18.

I have only changed my hair stylist only after moving, which I’ve done four times. I am a regular customer with my current stylist in Newton. My sister was responsible for setting that up, too.

In Des Moines, I did photography for Iowa Nightlife, which wasn’t only photography, but you had to network to get everyone to go to the website. My good friends Caleb Barber and JD Nelson were my two main contacts for the work I did for the company.

I got the opportunity to learn networking and social dynamics in the nightlife of Des Moines. The guys were adamant about interacting with everyone at an event and taking every opportunity you can, so you never run out of opportunities in life.

I’m an avid reader of blogs. Nine times out of 10, if you see me staring at my phone for longer than five minutes without typing something, I am reading a blog. Some of my favorite bloggers are Nick Sparks with Sparks of Attraction and Christian Hudson with The Social Man.

I also read the blogs from Cosmopolitan. I have found that I have gained habits from the blogs I have read. I used to keep paper and pen with me to exchange information, but now I always have my phone completely charged for an information exchange.

I never bring a friend or a date to a work-related event. Sometimes, you will feel obligated to entertain the friend or date, unless they understand your business.

I never put an excessive amount of things in my pockets; I always clear my pockets out before I go to an event. I know if you have seen me, it’s nearly impossible to believe I can be so OCD, but it’s true.

It goes without saying that I have experienced many of things as it comes to social and networking events, but in the end, through 28 years of life, I have made a few theories based off of my own experiences and the experiences of others.

I will never turn down the chance to do something outragous, no matter if its not the smartest idea. I will get reminded about that by the women in my life.

If you have a guy friend who seems to have it all together, look closer to find a woman who’s helping him out with that. If you want the most honest response when questioning the intelligence of a particularly dumb idea, ask a female friend.

Every guy I know has a female friend who is bluntly and brutally honest. She will not butter it up, and while you may never admit it to her, that’s why you appreciate her the most.

In closing, I want to thank all the women in my life — family, past relationships, and current friends — because they put up with my antics and adventures by realizing I am simply trying.

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