The reason they threw in the towel was not due to them not meeting good people. It was due to the people they were meeting at business networking functions had no clue what business networking is about and see the gathers only as a place to receive attention and not give.
Business Networking is a Sharing Experience
It is a shame the economy has driven so many people to the unemployment lines which directly results in these people attending every gathering of business executives in hopes to find a job.
To many people who are out looking for work, or who have been pushed by economy into taking a high pressure sales position, see business networking functions as the low hanging fruit.
Combine these untrained desperate job hunters with the business people who are stuck in a rut with their self marketing campaigns, both are turning off the business people who have jobs and who understand that true Business Networking is a ‘give and take’ social function that is part of doing business.
I have written a number of times the reasons why business networking has become a waste of time for small businesses owners and is even a greater waste of energy to the medium and large businesses who really could benefit from getting involved with business networking functions.
It is obvious there is a significant need for people attending business networking functions to understand what business networking is all about and that starts with the organizers of these gathers sending out a clear message on what people are to expect when they attend the function.
There are a large number of reasons business networking functions turn business people off. The list is pretty long but there does seem to be a common thread amongst the reasons which are directly related to how the business networking function is organized.
In order for business networking functions to be a success they need to deliver a clear message on what attendees should expect. They should also:
- Have a focus,.i.e..a learning experience, a focal subject for discussion
- Provides a Printed or url to a page that lists who is in the room.
- Have social hosts or hostesses who freely mingle in an effort to make everyone (key is EVERYONE) attending feel welcome and to answer their questions.
- Secure a location or venue conclusive to purpose of the function..open space for people to talk without having to shout, food and drink readily accessible.
- Allow time before and after the presentation for people to talk.
As you can see, producing a business networking function that will attract the people who know how to business network is not an easy job.
Many who attempt to organize a business networking event will fight the need to provide a purpose, focus or location conducive to people softly talking business.
However, there are those who do take what they do seriously and accomplish what it takes to provide a venue for businesses who REALLY need a regular scheduled gathering to attend. Those are the events business people will leave feeling it was worth attending.
The obstacle now is for those who need to change their approach to business networking and learn what to do and how one should behave…or how to really business network.
How to effectively network your business needs at a business networking function has developed into a form of art.
Many business people think business networking is a dying business skill which is brought on by there being so many people who do not understand what business networking means.
There are a number of articles written on the skills it takes to business network, however, there are a few common points many of the seasoned veterans of the business network arena forget.
Here a few of the top things to remember while business networking:
- Dress Up..not down. I know this is a hard to accept for the many who are part of the so called Gen X-Y-Z culture that was allowed to develop. However, even wearing a nice sports jacket with your golf shirt and jeans makes a more of a professional statement than appearing to look as though you just got back from a hunt for Bigfoot. Unless you actually found Bigfoot, I would suggest staying away from the T-Shirt casual look.
- Listen First Again, this is a hard one for the Type A personality that still troll business networking gathers. There is a time to tell what you do professional and if the function is set up appropriately..with the list of who is attending..it makes it easier to know who you are listening to.
- Business Cards Are Still Needed This is another function of business networking that burns techies up since it eliminates their need to appear influential in the tech industry by not having a card but instead a mobile app they developed that is a virtual business card. I’m exciting that these dudes and dudetts are becoming very rare, but do not be surprised to run into one or two. Having a business card will be a memory jogger once you get back to your office to review who you talked to. Business cards..if they are designed correctly..become little note pads to jot down what was talked about. (Yes, that means you need to have a pen available making that jacket you should be wearing a very valuable resource)
- Arrive Early, Not Late Here is another aspect of real life business networking many people have lost touch with understanding the need for time management. Being early or at least on time shows the serious business people who attend these events you take yourself and others seriously. Those who arrive early to a business networking even stand to gain much more than those who do not take the start time seriously..or feel that arriving late draws more attention to themselves. That just does not work and actually works against that person who feels what they do or who they are is at a celebrity level.
These are just a few of the more important things to remember that many people seem to have forgotten, or did not know.
Hope this helps and I hope to be back with more tips on what you can do to find more leads to more business.
Until then, let me know how I can help.