Unfortunately, the term “networking” has gotten a bum rap. I have consistently asked professionals I am working with to share with me what they think of when they hear the word ‘networking.’ Far too often I hear it conjures up images of manipulative, self-serving, insincere and predatory individuals, who are on the prowl for someone they can pounce on, try to sell something to, or solicit an unearned favor from.
When meeting someone new, ineffective networkers will rapidly scan new acquaintances to prejudge their usefulness while regurgitating their blanket sales pitch and robotically handing out their business card before abruptly moving on to their next victim. This is a waste of time for the ineffective networker and the unfortunate people they corner.
Here is an actual conversation I had with an ineffective networker.
Me: Tell me about the networking event yesterday.
Ineffective Networker: I did great. I handed out 35 cards.
Me: Did you strike up some good conversations?
Ineffective Networker: What? I was busy. I handed out 35 cards.
Me: OK. How many cards did you get?
Ineffective Networker: Ah, I think two.
Contributed by: Dean Lindsay, Award Winning Speaker and Author of The Progress Challenge & Co-Author of Stepping Stones to Success