OMG, Networking Is NOT About “Gift of Gab”!

I’ve been noticing something at networking events and I’ve got to comment, at the risk of offending someone.

People who think they are GOOD at networking often are NOT. On the flip side, people who think they are BAD at it, are doing better than they think!!

Please rethink what you’re doing.

This Really Happened to Me.

Recently I was approached at an event by a woman who is clearly excited about her new business. She walked up, started talking, handed me lots of promo material, took my card, and then walked away. I was stunned. I watched her “work” the room like that. Then she called me later asking to meet up. Uh, not sure I want to return that call. Would you?

Maybe I should call her back and offer her a little free advice, or better yet, some marketing coaching. Hmm.

Networking Is NOT About “Gift of Gab”

Networking is too often equated with a “gift of gab” and a numbers game. Thus, many people just talk to lots o’ people and think that’s working. While, off in the corners, people who are making a few meaningful connections think they’re doing it wrong. It’s the opposite!!

Unfortunately, both groups of people are missing some key ingredients. “Talkers” need to listen. And “listeners” need to talk and also initiate follow-up contact later. (It doesn’t mean you’re salesy or stalking them if you stay in touch.)

Give Yourself a Check-up

  • Do you think you have to be pushy to make it work?
  • Do you get tongue-tied when someone asks “What do you do?”
  • Are you getting the right referrals?
  • Do you feel awkward calling people about your work?
  • Do they return your calls?

If you don’t like your answers to any of those questions, it might be time to fine-tune your networking because something is out of alignment.

Related

More of my blog posts on networking:

More from the web:

The Secret Power of Introverts (Forbes, 1/26/12)
Reveals a bit of how the “talking” culture has dominated and perhaps part of why networking has gone astray. We can all learn from what comes naturally to most introverts.

11 Simple Ways to Create Genuine Connections with the People Who Make Failure Impossible (Zen Habits, 10/16/12)
Leo of Zen Habits always gets it just right.

The Introverts’ Guide to Networking Without Selling Your Soul (OpenCollegesBlog, 11/26/12)

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  • Andrianes Pinantoan

    Hi Val! Thank you for mentioning my post on Open Colleges blog. I am an introvert myself so a lot of it comes from personal experience. 😀

  • Love this! People who own a business are also…just people 🙂