I am a networking junkie. I attend quite a few events each month, and am always looking for a few great connections. It is fun to see old friends, and renew acquaintances as well. And some times, it is just fun to sit back and watch the room.
- There are the Rabid Sellers: The people who come to the event with brochures, and portfolios in hand, forcing them on anyone who will stand still long enough to get one thrust into their arms. If this is your approach, you are probably wasting your time. The majority of your brochures will be left on the table, or in the trash on the way out. Instead of pushing your product on everyone is sight, strike up a conversation, and listen to what the other person is talking about. Then follow up with a few qualified prospects
- There are the Rookies: They move around the room, with a “deer in the headlights” kind of stare, hoping someone will talk to them. If you are a rookie, stop waiting for others to talk to you, and jump in! Introduce yourself to someone else and watch what happens.are
- There are the Regulars: These folks seem to know everyone in the room. If you are a Regular, don’t forget to welcome the Rookies. It is nice to catch up with old friends, but don’t forget to widen your circle too!
Recently I met someone at a networking event that didn’t fit any of these categories, or any other category for that matter. I approached him, welcoming him to the event, as I often do. I politely asked what he did, and who he wanted to meet. He proceeded to tell me – at great length, how he had all the business he needed, and didn’t want to meet anyone at the event.
While I should have let it go, but I couldn’t so I asked if he didnt’ need to meet anyone why he bothered to come, it clearly wasn’t for the stale chips and dip? While he explained he had come as a favor to a friend, I had already checked out. Mentally I moved on to the next person, especially when he it was obvious he clearly wasn’t interested in finding out anything about me.
He left early, and I doubt anyone will remember he was even there. Perhaps he really didn’t need to be there, was showing off, trying to make himself seem important or maybe he was just a jerk. If you are in this last category, stay home. If you don’t know why you are at the event, don’t want to be there, don’t want to meet people, stay home, and I will send you a few stale chips and dip. Stay home, and let the serious networkers find each other!