If you’ve attended a Twin Cities Wedding & Event Professionals monthly networking event then the chances are very high that you’ve either met, talked, or glimpsed Jaime Engebretson networking. She’s the event planner to luxury brides. Owner of J’aime Events.
On April 10th, amidst applause and cheers, Jaime Engebretson was awarded the 2019 Diamond-of-Dedication Best Networker in the Twin Cities award.
A few days after the award gala, I asked Jaime to share some of her networking experiences and insights. She kindly obliged.
What does networking mean to you?
Networking means connections to me. I don’t see it as a task or something I need to check off of my list, but more similar to how I check in with my friends to see how they are doing. If you make networking into a formal thing then it is going to feel like work and won’t be relaxed, if you just see it as a way to check in with your industry friends and maybe meet someone new it is less “scary”.
Does what you wear matter while networking?
I think what you wear and how you present yourself is important. Especially if your product or service is yourself. If you are the sales representative for the company, then the client is basing their impression of the company off how you present yourself. The same can be said for when you are networking.
How you look is your brand image. The image I have for my company is luxury wedding planning, so I don’t tend to wear jeans. Even if it is a casual networking event, I don’t come wearing a suit, but I find something that says I am professional, approachable and represents my company and the image I want them to see.
Was there a moment in life you realized you are good at networking?
I wasn’t always good at networking. I was actually very shy when I was growing up and would be the person who would stand in the corner and survey the room to see who looked “nice” so I could go say hello. I did learn a trick that if I brought a friend with me, then it didn’t seem as overwhelming. So now I offer that to people. If they need a wing person I can be that for them, because I know how it is. I also try to introduce those around me into the conversation, something as simple as “Hey Sue have you met Paul?” Then they don’t feel awkward joining the conversation.
What snapped into place for me was the realization of not being in high school anymore, and not having to care what everyone thought of me; I also found a tribe of people who are my go-to if I need to vent or need to have a pick-me-up. They know what to say to motivate me again. They are always supportive of me. I hope they feel the same about me.
How would you describe your personality?
My personality is a bit sarcastic. I use humor a lot. Not that I am always funny, but I do try. This helps to diffuse silence, if you can throw in a joke or share a story of something funny that happened to you.
If you make networking into a formal thing then it is going to feel like work and won’t be relaxed, if you just see it as a way to check in with your industry friends and maybe meet someone new it is less “scary”.Jaime Engebretson, owner J’aime Events
Any networking stories to share? Good or bad?
A little pet-peeve of mine is that I hate when people talk about the weather at a networking event because that doesn’t tell me anything about you, and I really have nowhere to go with that other than to agree that winter sucks. But if you tell me something funny that happened to you, then I will probably tell you about the time I walked into the wrong apartment thinking it was mine and the family was having dinner and I said “smells delicious” and shut the door.
What would you tell someone new to networking?
You just have to do it. Like a band aid, rip it off and just do it.
If you need someone to be a friendly face then let’s meet up for a coffee first, then I’ll be at the meeting and introduce you to some new friends.
Anything else you’d like to share before you go?
I am very honored to have received the Best Networker award from the TCWEP group. It means a lot since I have been really trying to build on connections and I am always open to meeting new people. It’s a long way from being the wallflower and it feels good to be recognized for that work.
Thank you so much Jamie for sharing. You’re inspiring. We look forward to more of your work and continued success.
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