I met the World’s Worst Networker last month. Networking guru, Andy Lopata, had just given a speech about ‘how not to network’, and suggested that you never use the opening question “What do you do?” Instead, you start a conversation about something you might have in common, such as the weather, or the traffic, or how you came to be at the same event. That way you start to build relationships, not attempt to ‘sell’ in a room full of people who are not ready to ‘buy’.
Shortly after Andy shared these words of wisdom, I was having a lovely chat with two new people when a third stranger burst in.
“Hope you don’t mind me interrupting you?” he asked.
Hmm, well, yes, actually, it did seem a bit rude.
He thrust a yellow leaflet into each of our hands.
“Let me tell you what I do,” he continued, and went on to explain.
I felt like shredding his yellow leaflet and throwing it back at him.
“Didn’t you hear the speech?” I asked him (while my new friends fell about laughing).
He looked at me blankly. Then he turned away to interrupt the group that was standing beside us.
The saddest part is, when I read his leaflet, he offers a service that I might actually like to buy. His offer is so tempting, I might even want to recommend it to my friends.
But now, simply because of his boorish behaviour, I have no intention of doing so.