There are a lot of different types of Networking meetings. There are many formats. There are large groups, small groups, free groups, breakfast groups, evening “cocktail party” groups, event groups and others.
The thing that they all have in common is the vast majority of the folks who attend are doing so in order to grow their own network of prospective clients and referral sources. Everyone is there to meet others and increase the size of their community. We do this by learning about the other folks at the meeting and helping them get to know us as well.
The one exception, is the paid, industry limited groups – you know, where there is a limit of one person per industry. These groups primarily exist not to help people grow their network but to exchange leads. The following list does not necessarily apply to those groups.
The thing that I am fascinated by is the number of attendees whose behaviors are counterproductive to their own best interests.
Here is a list of 5 of them.
Spend most of your interaction time talking about your own business. When you just flit from person to person making the same pitch repeatedly, you will be noticed as the guy who is only interested in talking to people about why they should buy something.
Wear your Bluetooth ear piece while mingling. The statement you are making is: “I’d love to have a conversation with you as long as no one important calls me.” This makes you appear very arrogant. No one wants to talk to someone arrogant.
Barge into a conversation between two folks that you don’t know. There are some tactful ways of being included in the conversation but never just start giving you opinion about they are discussing. If you know one of the people, you can just walk by, pat him on the shoulder and smile then walk away. Your acquaintance may actually invite you in and even introduce you to the other person.
Hovering around one of your competitors while they are having a conversation. You will most likely come across other people who do what you do. Show courtesy and respect by letting them have conversation. You can always introduce yourself to the person they are talking to a little later.
Not participating in the part of the meeting that you don’t think is going to provide you with instant leads. If there is a speaker, a charity auction, an idea round-table or a guest performer of some kind – stay and be part of the group. You will be noticed if you don’t – and if you do this on an ongoing basis at other meetings you will earn the reputation of the guy who is only interested in serving his own needs.