You’re committed to networking. You’ve heard how much it can help your business. Not the type to half-step, you work to make sure everyone knows who you are and what you do. However, if you’re getting a lot of side eye and some less-than-enthusiastic responses, it may be you, not them. Here’s what you need to know to network without winning the title for Mr. or Mrs. Obnoxious.
Back Off, Slick
Being friendly and open is a great thing, but don’t crowd other attendees at networking events. Don’t you just love that person who stands within 6 inches of you, and every time you back up, they move closer. It leaves you with one option. To immediately say, “Well, it was nice meeting you.” But then they interrupt and say, “Oh, but one more thing…”
Observe personal space and allow others to get going when they need to. Pay attention to body language to determine whether someone you’ve met is really interested in what you have to say or is just too darn polite to tell you to shut your freaking trap.
Shut the He** Up
Think the sun comes up just to hear you crow? Get over that attitude right quick. Networking is about interacting, giving help, and hopefully, getting help in return. Don’t blow it by proving you can win the record for the longest monologue. Listen more than you talk and it’ll all be fine and dandy.
Remember Your Manners
There are just some things you don’t ever want to do in networking. For starters, don’t lie. Maybe you think you’ll get an easy in by saying Jane Doe, the person you just met over on the other side of the room, told you to come up and say hello to this Jack Murphy guy. After all, old Jack sure looks like one of the most popular guys with all those people all around him. Resist this obnoxious urge to lie. You’ll be outed, and when you are, you’ll lose both connections. And remember how to say please and thank you. No one wants to be associated with a jackass or a rude person.
Don’t Be an Interrupter
You know the type. You’re standing there talking with someone, exchanging information, and out of nowhere this person comes up, jumps into your conversation and starts to introduce himself. Or better yet, he starts focusing on the new contact you were in the middle of getting to know better. You haven’t even had time to answer your new contact’s question as to what business you’re in and what you do before old loud mouth chimes in.
Becoming a pest is a sure way to ruin a connection. Instead, feel free to move up to the group, stand there, and wait your turn. Make sure both sides have had an opportunity to finish talking. They will surely see you and invite you into their conversation. Because let’s face it, they want to meet you too.
Remember, you’re a business person not an attack dog.
You got something to say or are you just sitting there looking pretty?–Charles Strickland, 2016
Charles is far from your typical business person. He’s always ready with big ideas and the initiative to back them up. Heck, at age 13, he started his own window-washing business and sold donuts door to door. And let me tell you, when you grow up in the woods of Georgia, the doors are miles away from each other. He did this all while helping his dad run one of the larger moonshine stills in Georgia. “Oh, those were the days.”
Charles, a devoted husband and father, has been building legitimate businesses since the 80s, including three successful contracting companies. He even tried out a personal and business bankruptcy once. That hurts. Don’t try that one out; it’s no fun.
Committed to helping others, he also put his considerable experience to work founding The National Aids Awareness Center, spearheading The Children’s Wish Come True Foundation and running Hope 4 the Homeless. Sounds exhausting, doesn’t it? Well, Charles wasn’t finished yet. He heard a voice (his wife’s ) say, “Move away from there! Michigan is the place you ought to be.” So they loaded up the truck and moved very slowly… toward big houses, cheap money and plenty of it. So somehow, he found himself in the mortgage business. Like Charles would say, “Now, that was a hoot.”
Always looking for something fun and profitable with one of the smartest women in the USA by his side, it was time to jump into the world of digital marketing, and the timing was just right. You will find Charles at different networking events promoting Michigan Marketer, which he co-owns, along with the other online publications he owns and operates with his wife.
Never content with being ordinary (because that’s just plain boring), Charles also teaches a class on entrepreneurship a couple of days a week at a private school. He brings a little bit of down home to everything he does, cracking epic jokes while he’s closing the big deals. Charles’ motto is “Work until you no longer have to introduce yourself.” Send Charles a message at Charlesfstrickland@gmail.com if you’ve got something to say.
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