I recently attended a networking function for the Leader Impact Group. What an amazing group of people with a vision of finding purpose through success! Most everyone in attendance was warm, caring, interesting, interested and attentive. Wow! What a combination! They were natural networkers!
Rarely, have I seen so many positive and like-minded people in one room. It was truly an amazing experience!
I’ve been to many networking functions that seemed a circus with every preposterous performer or cockeyed caricature carrying on calamitously – oblivious to anything, but their own puerile purposes.
Some even think it’s a game – he who rounds the bases fastest, and meets the most people – wins. But that’s all they win, because people who don’t “get” networking, don’t usually “get” much business either.
There are 3 distinct classes of networkers.
The Newbie Networker:
- is inexperienced and not quite sure how to fit in.
- has not practiced and does not usually have the elevator speech perfected.
- is often shy, uncomfortable, and awkward.
- may think that everyone or no one is a prospect.
- does not have to be someone new to business. Many long-time business owners and executives have not mastered the art of networking naturally.
- may share some of the same qualities and habits of the Nuisance Networker, but this is usually attributed to being an unsophisticated tenderfoot, rather than a belligerent buffoon.
The Nuisance Networker:
- thinks that everyone is a prospect and pursues everyone aggressively and relentlessly.
- will interrupt your conversation and will abruptly leap into a 50 second infomercial about their business and all they have to offer. They also laugh at their own jokes and provide their own applause when none is forthcoming.
- will talk over you, even when you try to get a word in edgewise. Anything you say will be turned around and they will make it about them.
- does not listen or care what you have to say. They are there for one reason only. Can you guess what it is? Here’s a clue – It’s not YOU!
- will hand out cards to absolutely everyone. They believe their services must play an essential role in your success no matter what your business is or whether you are interested or not.
- often stands too close and is oblivious to your discomfort. Distressingly, they also seem not to notice when you jerk back, dramatically dabbing at your face, in an attempt to dry the spittle they, less than ceremoniously, sprayed over you.
- will be looking around the room eying the next target, while prattling on endlessly about how wonderful they are.
- does not notice your disinterest, or that you have gone to your “happy place” whilst waiting for them to stop their abysmal blathering.
- usually starts all sentences with the word “I.”
It may easily come to pass that a vain man may become proud and imagine himself pleasing to all when he is in reality a universal nuisance.
~ Baruch Spinoza
Sound familiar? Let’s hope it doesn’t come to mind for others when they think of you!
And at last, we come to the Natural Networker – those like Janet Callaway. The guy or gal who who just “gets” it. Maybe they come by it naturally, or maybe they have honed their skills and learned what works. Either way, these are the people who are pleasure to encounter. They are the ones you want to do business with, and who you’re happy to give referrals.
The Natural Networker:
- is engaging, authentic and always gracious. They always make a good impression!
- will approach, smile, wait to be addressed, or wait for an appropriate moment to add something interesting and relevant.
- will notice another’s discomfort and will go out of their way to put them at ease.
- is genuinely attentive. They will talk to you and ask questions in an effort to honestly get to know you better.
- listens, and will offer assistance or suggestions if they can help in any way. They will help connect you with other’s that may be able to help you, or that you may be able to help.
- is savvy and understands the “Art of the Woo.” They know when and how to deliver a perfectly crafted elevator speech, without making it sound like a pitch.
- notices if your eyes are glazing over ,and will adapt to keep you interested. They can also tell when their time is up and will move on politely and accordingly.
- knows that networking is about relationships and not just about making a sale.
- will always follow up with gratitude for having met you.
- is always MEMORABLE!
Whatever your goal or style, just remember this one simple rule, and you’ll rarely go wrong…
They’ll never forget how you made them feel!
It really is that easy!
So, what kind of networker are you?
Has your style changed over time?
How would you handle a nuisance networker?
Shelley Lundquist is an international best-selling author, motivational speaker, and Self-Mastery & Success Coach who uses her intuitive gifts and powerful transformational breakthrough processes to empower audiences all over the world in leveraging the unlimited power of their own potential.
By guiding you through a journey of self-discovery and a shift in the way you perceive yourself and the world, Shelley will help you create your best life—a peaceful, harmonious life of joy and abundance, that acknowledges body, mind, and spirit.
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