Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Networking Etiquette

I've decided I don't mind that some of the people I meet while networking are slightly crazy and half-baked business people. If I didn't run consistently into them, I wouldn't have half as many entertaining stories for my blog and newsletter. In fact, whenever I am in a boring, fallow period creatively just hit the networking scene and something is bound to pique my interest. I've gone to three recent networking events that I gathered some new "whoppers" to share and keep you either nodding, "yes," or wondering if you've ever done that. If you're wondering, then my best advice. Don't feel guilty or bad about it. Just quit doing it. This is the best 10 cent advice you'll ever get in a blog. So, here are some recent encounters to amuse you.

Confrontational Connie -- polite conversation rules the day. When networking no need to be up in anyone's face about anything no matter what it is. A networking event is not the time to start a political debate nor is it time to start asking someone why he/she doesn't like your product. Your need to prove you are either respectively right or that your product is great should not trump polite conversation. Confronting, arguing or cajoling those around you that you want to do business with isn't a great strategy. What this approach will do, though, is drive people away from you.

Organizational Olga -- now this kind of amuses me. I ran into Olga who showed me her unkept files just to make a point of how busy she is. Her files looked like my seven-year-old organized them and used crayons to make appointments. First, we were at an event so the point of showing me these files was somewhat confusing. Second, her messy record-keeping was almost frightening. If her point was to show me how great she keeps files, well, um ... how so? If her point was to show me how busy and unorganized she is, yep, mission accomplished. Either way, this was not a good business strategy. I frankly don't do business with unkept and unorganized Olga. Now had Olga whipped out her fancy new iPad and showed me her fantastic new system, sold!

Stressed-out Samantha and who's the most stressed out wins -- do you ever feel like you ended up in a potato sack race with Stressed-Out Samantha and she's desperately trying to hop faster to win the, "I'm-on-the-edge-of-insanity" contest? Don't ever bring up that you've had a tough day to Samantha -- that discussion will turn into a laundry list of stress that includes everything that is making Samantha's very existence so much more excruciating than 99 or maybe even 100 percent of the population. Just keep your networking conversations to fair roads and nice weather, and you'll be fine. And if Samantha starts pontificating about her impossibly high stress levels, just quietly excuse yourself to get a glass of water.

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