Networking dos and don’ts.

At a networking event, you can either build meaningful connections with the right people or be a royal jerk by being ‘that guy’ who doesn’t know the unwritten rules of networking. #dontbethatguy and follow these 3 tips instead.

I just came back from a networking event here in Bangkok – I’m flying back to Singapore, and it was an awesome event. Lots of fun. Some great contacts. But there’s always that guy that you never want to meet and you never want to be. I’m going to break it down right now and share with you some really important tip: don’t be that guy!

It’s this guy that swarms in when you’re having a conversation, interrupts everybody and starts throwing out name cards all over the place. Don’t be that guy!

Also read 7 Networking Tips for Sales Professionals

Also, sometimes, you’re networking with people. You’re having a good conversation – you think – and he’s just nodding his head or she’s just agreeing, but she’s just read to pounce and tell you all about her business and what she wants. Don’t be that guy!

Instead, ask a lot of questions. Be curious about people. Genuinely curious, genuinely interested. Ask some questions about their business. Why they’re here. How did they hear about the event? Where did they work? What role are they in? What are the biggest challenges they’re facing in their business?

Learn about their business. Learn about them. Be more concerned about their goals, their dreams, their aspirations, and less about you and selling. Don’t be that guy!

I also spoke in Manila a couple of days ago, and as much as I love speakers, they always want to promote themselves. Don’t be that guy.

I sat down at a table. I saw a speaker across the way and I just gave her a polite nod, a little hello. First thing she did was she threw me an envelope. I opened the envelope. What’s inside? It’s her business card and a brochure. I didn’t ask for this brochure. Don’t be that guy!

Then, I’m leaving the event and then a whole bunch of speakers – and I love speakers! I am a speaker. A lot of them come up to me and they want to give me their book. “Sir Tom, here’s my book. I want you to enjoy my book.” I didn’t ask for your book. I love you. I’m so proud of you, you wrote a book, but I didn’t ask for your book. 

I’m a traveling speaker. I can only carry so much in my carry on. Don’t weight me down with your book and who said I wanted to read it? Send me an e-book instead if I ask for it. Don’t be that guy! Alright?

Something I learned many years ago about networking and in sales – and this tip is going to be killer for you and it’s going to help take your business to the next level. It’s more important to be interested than to be interesting. Stop focusing on trying to sell and tell and be a better listener. Focus on your customer, focus on the person in front of you. Be genuinely interested. Less focus on being interesting. Be that guy! 

About Tom Abbott

Tom Abbott is the author of 'The SOHO Solution' and 'Social Selling'. Sales leaders engage Tom for his proven solutions to building high performance sales teams that exceed targets and for motivational keynotes that energise their audiences.

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