I’m a big fan of networking to build your business. I’ve written about how to get started with networking, what to expect when you go to a networking group, and here’s a list of which business networking groups to go along to in Brighton.
So, here I want to go over a few things not to do when you’re trying to build your networks and make friends with people, especially when you’re at a business networking event. And I’m not talking about doing spider puppet shows, or whatever I was doing in that photo.
Your follow up email
While it’s great to follow up and say hi after you’ve met someone, it’s really not a good idea to send this “damning with faint praise” email.
“Just a short follow-up note to say what a pleasure it was to meet you at the BHCC Breakfast on Friday. Your work sounds interesting and I will bear you in mind for those of my clients who could be in need of your type of service.”
I’m really not expecting any referrals from this guy, who has obviously sent the same email to everyone he met that morning, and possibly everyone he has ever met in his whole life, including his mum.
Don’t work the room when you’re networking
Then there are the people who “work the room” and collect as many cards as they possibly can, without taking any real interest in anyone, and certainly not making any friends.
If you can meet 3 people and have a genuine conversation with each of them, then you’ve had a successful event.
Networking is about making relationships, not collecting people like they were football stickers for your album.
And there are the people who are talking to me but make it clear that they’re desperately trying to find someone less boring. If you’re looking out for someone in particular at an event, why not ask the person you’re talking to help you find them.
They might be able to introduce you or help you out with this. And if I really am boring (I know I can go on about the joy of spreadsheets) and you want to move on, then just say “Shall we mingle?”Don’t just keep looking over your shoulder for someone better.
Business card etiquette
When someone offers you their card, please don’t refuse to take it, as I saw someone do to a friend of mine recently.
This guy thought he was doing my pal a favour, as he didn’t want to take a card unnecessarily, but he ended up being ridiculed by me and upsetting my friend.
You can always throw it away later (although you never know if that person might be useful, so I wouldn’t) but there’s really no need to be rude. Think about how you might feel if someone did that to you – it wouldn’t feel good.
Make friends, don’t sell
If you’re desperate to sell something, then please don’t be so very obviously desperate. The whole point of this networking thing is to make friends with people who may buy from you or encourage their friends to buy from you.
If you rush around telling people about your product or shoving leaflets at people, they will be disinclined to buy from you, even if you’ve got the cure for cancer ready to be dispensed.
Right, that’s enough ranting about poor behaviour for now…I shall be watching out for more dodgy techniques and will probably rant some more.
If you want to find out how to network successfully, then read some of my other blogs for tips
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