It can also be one of the best ways of losing hearts, minds and business opportunities.
And here’s another truth:
Most business people really do not know how to network.
No matter what their job title, the business they work for and even their ostensible intelligence, they let down themselves and the businesses they work for, thereby missing some wonderful opportunities.
I have seen so many people turn into Networking Nitwits once they’re giving an opportunity to do something as simple as engage with other human beings.
What a shocker!
Talking to other people who might have something interesting to say…from whom you can learn something that might help re-shape your day, your business and even your life.
But no. This is just TOO MUCH for so many people in business, it would seem.
Instead, they become Networking Nitwits and a networking nightmare for them, their business and the people they come across.
Those few who TRULY get networking
Of course, there are a few who really do get networking and what it’s really about, namely…
Getting to know other people, often strangers, without any expectation of what it will lead to for you, but with every hope of engaging them with a warm, sincere and positive sense of interest in them and their life, hopes and fears…so it can potentially lead to something worthwhile for both of you.
Put simply: It’s better to be interested than interesting.
The 4 Types of Business Networkers
So, who are the 4 different types of people you can come across in business networking environments?
The Negative Networker
These people are notable by their sometimes deceptively negative body language and matching facial expression. For the most part, their attire and attitude are also alarmingly aligned – dreary, uncomfortable and unflattering. If you approach them – perhaps out of charity – then they might give you a nervous nod. This could be out of disbelief that someone like you is going to talk to them…or…that they’re already feeling overwhelmed by your positive energy.
When suddenly faced with such people, sidestep with a sincere smile. Otherwise, it will be like getting stuck in conversational quicksand – with you being slowly sucked into a sludge of joylessness that will make you feel like you want to be anywhere but there. These people regard business networking as a few steps up from cleaning public toilets – unpleasant, unnecessary and something only other people should do.
The Card Collector
These people are like the original gold prospectors in the American West in the middle of the 19th century who panned for gold, invariably with more desperation than luck. And today, these types of networkers will do anything to get hold of your business card and, for that matter, anyone else’s cards as they equate quantity of cards collected with the quality of the networking event and what it can lead to.
Alas, they couldn’t be more wrong. They won’t remember anything about you – unless you spilled your glass of whatever it was you were drinking on them or inadvertently spat out a stray piece of masticated food while eagerly trying to talk while you ate. And you probably won’t remember anything about them…because you may have only have had a short and superficial chat with them. Most likely, this would have been because they were intent on amassing as many cards as possible to give them, their colleagues and their boss the impression that they had been “networking” hard and were not enjoying themselves because they were too busy “building bridges.” Bridges that will never lead to anywhere because…they will not have been built properly!
The Status Searcher
This awful and affected individual is probably the worst type of “networker.” They invariably have an air of avaricious arrogance, searching for prey who they subsequently prey on themselves in the hope these people they consider of suitable status can help the Status Searcher earn the professional, financial, political, social, financial and other forms of status they yearn for.
They will look you up down, sometimes with an awkward surreptitiousness that they don’t always pull off, and then assess your name badge to see if you can be useful to them. And, if they think you’re not the right status, then they don’t bother with you. A blessing in disguise because, in short, they’re ALL about them and certainly not about you – whether you can help them or not. This anti-networking tends to earn the Status Searchers a reputation rather than the rewards they try to force out of other much more likeable people.
The Natural Nurturer
Sadly, this is far too rare a networker. These are the people who, although they may have a variety of ambitions and hopes of their own, truly get networking and what it is about, namely getting to know people properly, bringing the best out of them so both of you enjoy the experience. Who would you rather want to develop a business relationship with? Someone who’s truly interested in you, whether you’re directly useful to them or not, and who brings out the best in you without expectation – surely.
They will nurture you with integrity when meeting you and afterwards…so you develop both a rapport and a trust. And these qualities are likely to nurture the sort of business and other opportunities you BOTH want.
So, what type of networker are you or have you been…and…what type of networker are you now going to become?!