Another day, another networking group launches.
Nice venue. Nice breakfast. But then the regional director stood up and said: “I’m now going to bore you all to death about [Name of organisation] for 10 minutes.”
Oh no! That’s called ‘setting expectations’. He said it twice, and our expectations were well and truly set.
He went on to say: “I’ll try not to muff it…I’m going to sit down because I’m old and decrepit and need to support the weight of my stomach after breakfast.”
Trying to convince us to join: “You don’t have to bounce up and down like some other groups I could mention…This is networking for grown-ups…I don’t like people who think they’re better than anyone else…I’m looking for people to run clubs for me, because I don’t want to do it.”
And later: “I’ll probably cause a mass exodus when I tell you the cost of joining.”
How keen do you suppose his audience was at this point?
When talking about the rules & regulations of membership, he held up a little leaflet, and said: “Most members don’t even bother to read it which is why it’s so small. If you ask our members what the rules and regulations are, they look at you blankly.”
As a membership perk, he proffered a green plastic “leather-look” folder, and warned us that the magnetic button drops off and that we should buy our own Araldite to fix it.
It wasn’t just his negativity; his facts weren’t right either. He announced: “You don’t need a degree to be an accountant; anyone can become an accountant.” And: “Most people know at least 20 people so 460 are represented in this room.” 20? In my book, I claim that most people know at least 250, with ‘networking tarts’ knowing 1000s. Despite his “weighty” stomach, he was thinking far too small!
He didn’t represent the group well. He didn’t represent himself well either. He told us he was “quite lazy” when looking for somebody on Google, that it was all “getting too depressing” and that he’d been bankrupt prior to setting up as a debt counsellor and then joining this networking organisation full-time.
In case he hadn’t managed to offend everyone yet, he finally claimed that someone had offered him their daughter and he’d replied: “No need, I’ll pay for her.”
And then he asked: “So, is anyone interested in joining the group?”
There were 21 guests in the room. Not a single hand went up. I wasn’t surprised.
I fear that he is suffering from a self-esteem issue, and desperately needs some coaching in public speaking. Allowing him to speak without the proper skills makes him a liability. It may well be a successful networking concept, but he’d be far better to let someone else come forward to represent it.