BUSINESS: Don’t Be This Guy – How NOT to Network Part I

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By Tina Dietz
September 11th, 2013 Edition

Ah, networking. Do you love it? Is it your favorite thing to walk into a room full of people, most of whom you don’t know, and start conversations? For most people…not so much. There are some odd folks (like myself) who would attend a networking daily if we could because we really do love it, but that is generally not the case. After all, in our ideal world our ideal clients just find us and call us ready to register or buy as if by magic! Since that isn’t generally the case, and because there really is no substitute for word of mouth marketing, it’s up to you to make the most of your networking events and the valuable time you spend attending these events.

Consider this a public service announcement. Please, don’t be THIS guy. What guy? Let’s start with these four poor souls who could use a little help with their networking.
1. Wallflower Guy: The native habitat of Wallflower Guy is against any wall in a room, usually pressed tightly against that wall to the point where he looks as though he’s trying to melt into it. Eye contact is scarce at best, and you may notice a good deal of fidgeting with his business cards, a drink, his glasses, or his phone. Wallflower Guy makes you wonder why he is there if he’s trying to disappear, and he may even spread a sense of nervousness in the room.

2. Shover Guy: Far more aggressive than Wallflower Guy, Shover Guy is found about 6-12 inches from your nose. Although Shover Guy may not talk about their business, he is insistent in getting his business card into your hand, or pocket, or purse, or wherever he can fit it in. Shover Guy’s agenda is to hand out as many cards as possible in the shortest amount of time, and it’s possible that he may be timing himself or attempting to beat his a personal best record of some type. Shover Guy may be the only person Wallflower Guy interacts with during the event.

3. Yapper Guy: WARNING! Interacting with Yapper Guy may cause repetitive motion injury from excessive nodding, since all you can do with Yapper Guy is nod in response to his non-stop stream of consciousness talking. While the average human being can go a whopping 14-17 seconds without interrupting someone (yes, most people don’t have much of a tolerance for listening), Yapper Guy rarely, if ever, asks you something about yourself and is totally oblivious to the glazed over look in your eyes.

4. Jargon Guy: Jargon Guy speaks 1-2 feet over your head, leaving you grasping for some kind of toehold in the conversation, attempting to decipher his acronyms and industry-specific language like Indiana Jones trying to find the Ark of the Covenant. Side effects of talking to Jargon Guy include confusion, disorientation, and light to moderate feelings of embarrassment. Embarrassment lasting longer than 4 hours may require medical attention. Ok, not really, but Jargon Guy has an uncanny knack for leaving people feeling like they are a little, well….dumb.

Do you know these guys? ARE you one of these guys? If you find yourself not being effective at networking, it really does pay to be honest with yourself and work on the networking skills that are going to land you clients and customers, improve your reputation, and elevate your standing in the community as a business leader.

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