Usually because they are hoping to make some connections that can help their business.
I’ll be honest. These types of events are not my favorite way to spend 90 minutes. When I first became serious about building my business I made a decision to get over myself and start attending networking events anyway. I know it works and as a marketing coach I will not ask my clients to do something I am not willing to do myself. So with my apprehension in tow I jumped into the pool of networking. Each event I attend gets a little easier and I definitely get more energized when I leave having made some great connections.
I have noticed four types of people at networking events:
The Wallflower – this person is either shy or may not be really sure what they are doing there in the first place. They will not make the first move to engage in conversation.
My Take: Some of the best conversations I have had are with wallflowers. They are usually very interesting people with interesting careers – if only someone would draw them into conversation.
The Social Butterfly – this person’s goal seems to be to talk to everyone in the room and they usually accomplish their goal.
My Take: Since the purpose of a networking event is to meet people and make connections this can be an excellent approach. You cannot go into any depth by doing this but networking events are about starting the conversation.
The Trainee – this person is fairly new to the networking scene and is just learning how to concisely answer the question “what do you do?” Unless you are a totally polished and competent salesperson I think everyone goes through this phase – I know I did.
My Take: Give them grace and let them practice on you. You might just find a meaningful connection.
The Unapproachable –This person stands against the wall with arms crossed or sitting at a table with their head down. Their body language says “don’t bother me – I’m in the zone”.
My take: If you want to get “in the zone” do it in your office and stop taking up space that could be filled by someone who really wants to make a connection.
What is your take on networking groups? I have several blog readers from networking groups I belong to – please chime in and share your experience!
Looking for new connections…