Yes, You're Networking, But What Are You Thinking?
A sure sign that the economy is beginning to recover from the pandemic is that, over the past couple of weeks, I have received invitations to speak at local networking groups -- live and in person. So it's time to dust off some "inconvenient truths" about the do's and don'ts of networking. While I would be flattered to think that attendees flock to these programs for the privilege of touching the hem of my garment, I realize that their mission is primarily to network with each other.
Entire books have been written about networking techniques, but it basically boils down to this. You show up someplace -- usually at an ungodly hour like 7 a.m. -- with 100 of your business cards. As soon as the speaker stops speaking, you hand out your cards to everyone in sight. They, in turn, give you their cards. You go back home and count your cards, using the following scorecard:
-- 50 points for the speaker's card.
-- 25 points for a local politician's or dignitary's card.
-- Five points for another attendee's card if there's a chance they might become a customer.
-- One point for another attendee's card if they won't become a customer.
-- Subtract five points for every competitor's card.
The player who dies with the most cards wins.
Now, when people try to get my card at these events, I don't mind playing the game. But the way a lot of people go about it makes me wonder what sort of idiots are out there teaching these people networking skills.
Here are some examples of how NOT to network with the speaker at a business event: