Networking events are a great way to meet new people, build connections and share your brand. As you do so, you are sure to run into many wonderful people. Unfortunately, you may also meet a few who have not learned the art of good manners and etiquette while networking. Here is a cast of characters you will want to avoid.
The Speed Networker
We’ve all run into this one. She is quick to ask who you are and if you have any leads. If you don’t have a lead, the speed networker dashes off, looking for a better connection elsewhere. Lasting impression: Rude, abrupt, and short sighted. After all, if your only goal is immediate leads, you’re missing the point of networking. It’s about mutually beneficial relationships and long term connections.
With this networker, the conversation is more than a little one-sided. He talks your ear off, asks no questions, but gives you his full life and career story in what seems like one long breath. Lasting impression: Self-centered and lacking in self-awareness. Networking is a dialog, not a verbal assault on anyone who will listen.
At some networking events, there is a person, or several people, of high interest. Perhaps they are recruiters or work for a company that is hiring. The hog hones in on, and monopolizes these high interest people. Determined to make her pitch, the hog takes as much time as she can get, leaving little room for others. Lasting impression: Selfish and unkind. It’s natural to try to get a moment with a person of high interest, but it shows professionalism to take a reasonable amount of time and let others have a chance.
The Resume Dropper
This annoying networker measures success by number of resumes given out. He greets each contact with a handshake and a resume, and considers the evening a success when his stack is distributed. Lasting impression: Desperate and inappropriate. Networking events are rarely, if ever, the place to give out resumes. Better to make a great impression and exchange contact information. Resume sharing will come later.
Determined to work the room, the interrupter has no qualms about barging in on any conversation. She does it in the name of mixing and mingling but the lasting impression is one of cluelessness and poor social skills. It’s OK to ask “May I join you?” when looking for a new conversation, but flat out interrupting is just plain rude.
The Wandering Eye
This networker is always looking around for the next person he wants to talk with. During conversations, he often looks past the person in front of him, surveying the room and plotting his next move. Lasting impression: Disingenuous and arrogant. In good networking conversations, each side is fully engaged, listening and making eye contact, not thinking about the next person they want to meet.
Now that you know who you DON’T want to be, take some time to think about who you DO want to be at the networking event. What lasting impression do you hope to make? Tell us, how do you try to present yourself at networking events? How do you behave in an effort to come off that way?