Is there anyone else out there who can relate to this scenario? You arrive a little later than you anticipated for the networking event. If you are brave you to start to mingle with some of the other "suspects". You may even be unlucky enough to meet the groups life coach, who typically is a bored housewife fully equipped with her business cards and her two day diploma. She barely keeps eye contact with you as she is already on the lookout for her next victim to pounce on, she assures you that she has had a wonderful conversation with you and insists on exchanging business cards....aaarrrrggghhhhhhhhhh. Deep breath, it was only a nightmare!
But seriously though, I used to attend all sorts of business events where networking was high on the list of priorities and there would be these types of characters and more besides that would make my skin crawl.
Now however I have changed myself and practice some simple rules to maintain my sanity and have a safer car journey home:
1) Have fun - the most important rule for me
2) Use the "pay it forward" networking principle - taken from the film of the same name, I come to events never to get business but to see who I can help today
3) Choose wisely the events I attend - my time is precious and I don't attend breakfast events that some of the big business networking organisations provide where the local mechanic and decorator get all the referrals, for my type of business that's a complete waste of time
4) Only ask for business cards from people I can genuinely help
5) Throw away business cards I didn't ask for
6) Only give my card to people who ask for it
7) Have fun - yeah I know I said that earlier but hey it's important
I hope this helps you to get more out of networking. Happy networking.
Mark Buchan is a business coach [http://www.executivecoaching4u.com] has recently started a year long experiment to uncover the pitfalls and positives of business networking. He writes regularly in his blog called "Does Business Networking really work?" which is designed to be informative but at the same time provide a humorous slant to the world of business networking. He provides practical advice about how to make the most of your time and resources while attending these events. Click here to go to his blog