Sparked by Richard’s reference to John Corcoran saying people are terrible at networking follow up. I added this to the Inner Circle questions for 20/01 but conscious it’s a bit off piste thought I’d post it here too.
On the subject of basic communication, do people have any top tips for extracting oneself from the people who want to tell you the life-universe-everything at networking events?!
I’m relatively inexperienced at networking and was stuck with someone last week who quickly established we didn’t need his IT service but wouldn’t stop talking long enough to allow me to say “good to meet you I’ll take your card, shall we mingle”. Should I have touched his arm to make him pause? I am so rubbish at this I end up with the life coaches, pyramid cosmetic salespeople, and others cornering me for far too long!
What extraction techniques and phrases do people have that leave the person still thinking positively of you?
Really, just stick out your hand, shake theirs, say “It’s been good to meet you, I’m going to circulate around the room – I want to meet as many people as possible tonight.” Also, end the conversation by asking for their card, giving yours, and tell them directly that you need to meet other people. That’s the point of a networking event after all.
I’ve tried out “open networking” events and don’t find them to be too useful. I go sometimes still just for fun – an evening out of drinks on the company dime – but I don’t expect to meet anyone who will bring me work. I believe you do meet 4 types of people though: 1) people with “legitimate businesses”. electricians, plumbers, etc. 2) “financial weenies” – these include real estate agents, financial planners, CPAs…3) “massage therapists” – these are attractive women with really dubious business plans. Met one once who was a “life coach who could solve all your problems of health or business using massage therapy and salsa dance”. 4) the “electricity people” – either pyramid schemes or someone else who is trying to sell you something right then and there.
So…you probably are attracting massage therapists and electricity people because that’s the only type of people who are there.
BTW, I’ve read it is better to approach a two-people group (instead of one to one) for several reasons, one of them being you can leave without making it awkward.
Other reasons (not related to extraction):
– You get to know two people instead of one
– People are less worried about being stuck with you the whole event so they are more open an chill
– Double the chances of it not being a disaster and a bore
– They could be both “massage therapists” or “electricity people”