Full disclosure: Anytime the word “networking” is thrown around, I immediately envision the hipster incarnation of “American Psycho,” with expertly coiffed people standing around in carefully curated jacket/denim ensembles, swapping business cards. Though the whole “Patrick Bateman meets Bon Iver” thing was definitely part of the view, I could tell that something of value was actually happening under the surface.
On the first Monday of the month, Columbus creatives pour into Brothers Drake Meadery for motive., which aims to inspire and “motivate” attendees with a range of guest interviews, artist talks and networking. The well-dressed crowd was dense enough to create a comfortable hum. It was brighter than usual, due to the spotlights pointed at a stool and a chair positioned talk-show style on a stage. A projector attached to a Macbook displayed the event’s logo behind the set-up.
I recognized many of Columbus’ usual social suspects exchanging small talk as they mingled. It was pleasant to see everyone discussing the artwork and the previous speaker, but it became increasingly awkward when I kept running into the same people I’d already greeted.
I dodged the chit-chat by grabbing a drink and scoring a table down front. The photographer slated to speak settled into a chair on stage. The crowd quieted, and a host started asking him open-ended questions about his career. I was genuinely interested at first, but as his answers got longer, it became less of a Q&A and more of a lecture. I started to get antsy, since etiquette kept me from getting another drink or using the facilities while they recorded the interview. I wondered when I was supposed to feel “motivated.”
After a much-needed stretch and a fresh drink, I struck up a conversation with a guy who just happened to be standing in my general area. Turned out we already kind of knew each other. We swapped horror stories about working for the same defunct southern Ohio media company, and chatted about upcoming projects.
On my way out the door I glanced at my notebook. Without realizing it, I had been jotting story ideas and notes separate from my assignment in the margins. I left Brothers Drake with less of a buzz than intended, but I had a way better time than expected.