At a networking event recently, a chap came up and glanced at my name badge.
“Oh dear”, he said. “You’re a copywriter. I can't sell to you.” And then he walked off.
Nice one, mate. But hey, I'm always on the lookout for blog ideas so I guess he did me a favour. Here, ladies and gentlemen, is how not to network.
Don’t talk to anyone
Talking is overrated. Walk into the room at any networking event and it’s all talk talk talk. Stand out from the crowd by hiding silently in a corner looking shifty. Believe me, this is a great way to get noticed.
If you absolutely must open your mouth, speak to the one person you already know for about 45 minutes. If anyone comes up to introduce themselves, ignore them. If necessary, walk away and go back to your corner.
Don’t tell anyone what you do
Create an air of mystery. If you’re asked what you do, say you’re a mover and shaker or better still, say “business solutions”. This is a perfectly acceptable explanation. If anyone is stupid enough to ask what you mean, close your eyes until they go away.
Tell everyone what you do… at length
If you find it difficult to avoid explaining what you do – and let’s face it, we’ve all been there – make sure you go into lots of detail. Talk for at least 15 minutes.
Avoid giving away any information about your ideal customer or the benefits of what you offer and don’t, for heaven’s sake, ask any questions. Nobody likes talking about themselves.
In the unlikely event that your listener looks like leaving, grab hold of their forearm and carry on talking. If they start mouthing “save me” to a friend across the room, move on to the friend.
Leave your business cards at home
Business cards are passé. Everyone gets headhunted on Twitter and LinkedIn these days, right?
If you absolutely must bring business cards, make sure you give away as many as possible. Go round the room handing them to people willy nilly until you’ve run out. Then leave.
Everyone says it, don’t they? When networking, be yourself. Getting drunk is an easy way to guarantee that the real you will come across loud and clear.
What could possibly go wrong? You’ll make everyone laugh. Once you’re sufficiently plastered, make sure you hit on at least one member of the opposite sex. They’ll love this.
Don't hold back on this one. After all, everyone goes to networking events to buy, don’t they? And if you’ve followed the top tips set out above, why shouldn’t they buy you?