I’m a reformed Boston driver, especially when my wife and daughters are in the car, and even on my best behavior I’m struggling to remain calm Friday night as two cars on the side street up ahead of me run a stop sign, one right after the other, to cut me off on route 151 East heading toward Mashpee on Cape Cod, and then slow down to less than 30 mph in a 45 mph zone.
To jump in front of me
Just to slow me down.
And it gets me thinking about your Elevator Pitch.
Because business networking events are full of people
Who are in a really big hurry
To cut you off.
They aren’t doing it intentionally.
They’re just so nervous about their Elevator Pitch that
They don’t realize that their behavior
Slows down everyone’s results.
Here, then, are techniques for dealing with the Five Most Obnoxious Business Networking Behaviors.
1. Business Card Bullies
There’s this persistent myth
That if you can get enough business cards
Into enough people’s hands
Your business will grow.
There’s just one thing missing:
It’s presumptuous to hand someone a business card
Before you’ve started a conversation.
So start a conversation.
An interesting conversation.
A conversation that inspires them to ask you for your card.
That’s a lead.
2. Conversation Interrupters
It’s awkward to interrupt a conversation between two people.
Yet people do.
All the time.
Then stand there looking annoyed when
You can’t think of anything (polite) to say to them.
As if you’re the one being rude…
Looking for someone to talk to?
First approach people who are standing alone.
Ask them if they attend a lot of these types of events.
They’ll be relieved that someone so witty and charming approached them.
What if nobody’s standing alone?
Approach a group of 3 or more.
And wait patiently for an invitation to join the conversation.
Oh, and if someone approaches your conversational group,
Find an opportunity to introduce yourself and
Include them in the conversation.
3. Buffet Gobblers
It’s a waste of time to eat
When there are so many people to meet.
There’s no graceful way
To hold your food and drink
While shaking hands.
Leave the juggling act to the professionals in Faneuil Hall.
Have a snack before the event.
At the event, focus on talking to people.
They don’t mean to drag you down.
It’s just that they’re drowning
In a sea of people
And you’re the only one they know
Who knows how to swim.
You know what?
Networking is more fun with a friend.
So team up!
Meet people together.
Introduce each other.
Before too long
They’ll be engaged in their own conversations.
And you’ll miss them.
Just a little.
Just a little.
Then go find someone else to talk to…
Asking for a business card
Does not imply permission
To add anyone on any sort of mailing list.
Then how do you grow your list?
Start a conversation.
If you get a sense
During that conversation
That this person might be interested
In the kind of information you publish,
Mention that you publish a newsletter
And ask if they would like to receive it.
If they say yes,
Then you can add them to your list.
What obnoxious business networking behavior have you seen?