How NOT to network
At a networking event recently, a chap came up to me and glanced at my name badge.
“Oh”, he said. “You’re a copywriter. I can’t sell to you.” And then he walked off.
After picking myself up from the floor, I realised he’d given me an idea for a blog. So here, ladies and gentlemen, is how NOT to network.
Don’t talk to anyone
Talking is overrated. Walk into the room at any networking event and it’s all talk talk talk. Stand out from the crowd by standing silently in a corner looking shifty. Believe me, this is a great way to get noticed.
If you absolutely must open your mouth, speak to just one person (ideally, someone you already know) for about 45 minutes. If anyone comes up to introduce themselves, ignore them.
If necessary, walk away and go back to your corner.
Don’t tell anyone what you do
Create an air of mystery.
If you’re asked what you do, say you’re a mover and shaker. Better still, say “business solutions”. This is a perfectly acceptable explanation. If anyone is stupid enough to ask what you mean, close your eyes until they go away.
Tell everyone what you do… at length
If you find it difficult to avoid explaining what you do – and let’s face it, we’ve all been there – make sure you go into lots of technical detail about your job, and how brilliant you are at doing it.
Talk for at least 15 minutes.
Avoid revealing any information about your ideal customer or the benefits of what you offer and don’t, for heaven’s sake, ask any questions. Nobody likes talking about themselves.
In the unlikely event that your listener looks like leaving, grab hold of their arm and carry on talking. If they start mouthing “save me” to a friend across the room, move on to the friend.
Leave your business cards at home
Business cards are passé. Everyone gets headhunted on LinkedIn these days, right?
If you absolutely must bring your business cards, make sure you give away as many as possible. Go round the room handing them out willy nilly until you’ve run out. Then leave.
Everyone says it. When networking, be yourself. Getting drunk guarantees that the real you comes across loud and clear.
What could possibly go wrong? You’ll make everyone laugh.
Once you’re sufficiently plastered, make sure you hit on at least one member of the opposite sex. They’ll love this.
Don’t follow up with anyone
You’ll be given lots of business cards. When you get home, throw them in the bin.
It helps you resist the temptation to follow up.
Sending friendly emails to people you’ve met at the networking event is an absolute no-no. They may think you’re interested in finding out more about their business. And even worse, you might recommend them to other people.
Honestly! Can you imagine?
Sell sell sell. And then sell some more. After all, everyone goes to networking events to buy, don’t they?
And if you follow the top tips in this blog, why shouldn’t they buy you?