The 8 faces of business networking (By Michael Goldberg)
No matter how great an event is, you probably won’t like about two-thirds of the people you meet there. Yes, two-thirds! Of course, that depends on the event, your communication skills, purpose and understanding of networking. And by “don’t like” I mean “you don’t have a great connection.” Not “hate” although I suppose that can happen too!
Here are the 8 faces you will encounter:
There’s always someone in the crowd who’s negative. They’re negative about the economy, health-care reform, the political climate, job search — “Nobody’s hiring.” They’re negative about their business, the industry that they’re in, their profession. They’re negative about the event and everyone they meet and everyone else’s products. They’re negative about companies they’ve worked for.
All Hard-Sell Harry cares about is selling to everyone that he can. He only wants to talk about his products and services. He is sizing you up as a prospect, trying to identify pain you might be suffering as it relates to your business and looking to shake you down for your money.
It’s a similar situation with Self-Centered Sally, but it’s not so much that she’s pitching her wares; she just wants to talk about how wonderful she is — how great she is at what she does, how everybody loves her, how much money she makes. “I’m so successful. I’ve been published here, and I’ve been reviewed there, and I’ve been in business here, and I know this person.”
Ravenous Rick is just there for the buffet and the booze. That’s it. He basically wants to kibitz (as they say in the trade) a little bit, get some drinks and nibbles, and he’s happy. Yes, it’s all about the food. The ball game is on anyway, and he can fill his belly.
All that Blackjack Betty really cares about is business cards. Throwing cards at people and collecting them. She thinks she’s in Vegas! So when Betty is at an event, she wants to talk to a lot of people, but not for too long. It’s really just about handing a business card to everybody she can. It’s barely a conversation.
Silent Sam is someone who doesn’t want to be there in the first place! He’s the guy who’s hanging around at the coffee station. He is shy or at least reluctant to get out there to shake a hand and kiss a baby because he doesn’t want to come across as pitchy or salesy. He hopes that other people come to him. But even if that happens, then what?
All that Social Susie wants to do is hang out with people she already knows and have a good time. Yes, it’s all about socializing. And that isn’t all bad. If you want to just go and have coffee with a few pals, there’s nothing wrong with that. But the flip side of that is, why are you going to this networking event in the first place? Go to Dunkin’ Donuts for coffee-talk with friends.
Networking Nick knows exactly why he’s at an event or in a conversation and what the outcome ought to be. Networking Nick is out to meet people and help them. He is out there to learn something. He is looking for his next venue so that he can do more of the same type of work that he is so good at. Networking Nick is cool!
So, look around the room, do you recognize anyone?