06 Feb A Practical Guide to Networking: How to spot a Vampire
Read time: 2 minutes
Feb 6, 2018
Networkers come in all shapes and sizes – many of them lovely, interesting people that may well become a valuable business connection. But as always, with the good comes the bad, which means there are also the dull, overbearing and off-putting networkers that you really don’t want to bump into. So, in preparation for your next networking event, here’s how to spot them and how to avoid becoming one!
“Hi, I’m Simon”
Gives no opportunity for you to introduce yourself before beginning his verbal assault.
“I’m from X company and we can offer you X, Y and Z. Here’s my business card. Nice to meet you.” Sees more valuable, tastier meat across the room, thrusts card at you, swings cape and flies away.
The Vampire has one task in mind. To attack as many networking victims with an elevator pitch and business card. The Vampire is not even entertaining the idea that your product or service is something they might need, so will not waste valuable time pretending to be interested.
“Hi, I’m Alison”
Waits for your response as eyes glaze over.
“So what do you do?…uhuh…ok great, do you have a business card?”
Contorts face into a smile that couldn’t be less sincere and shouts great to meet you as she chases after tastier meat before The Vampire can get there first.
The Hunter isn’t there to network. More just to hunt down a business card from every single person in the room, so that they can quickly head back to the office and ‘bcc’ you into a “It was soooo great to meet you today… here’s what I can offer you” email. Yep, we’ve all received one of those.
“Hi, I’m Susan”
“Eugh, it’s so cold today isn’t it. I got stuck in traffic on the way here, which is why I’m late, and then I couldn’t find anywhere to park, so I ended up parking in the NCP up the road, but it is so expensive! How do they have the cheek to even charge that much? Anyway, I’d left my umbrella at home, so I got completely wet….”
You feign a vaguely interested expression whilst frantically trying to think of how you can escape before you have to be seated for your chicken and dauphinoise potatoes and you end up stuck with her all lunch.
The Bore has been forced to attend by their boss and has absolutely no interest in discussing business or promoting their company, let alone seeking opportunities or making valuable connections. They are merely there to escape the office, get a free lunch and have a good old whinge to anyone that will pretend to listen.
Shakes your hand violently.
“So, what brings you here? What do you do? Where are you based? How many staff do you have? What was your turnover last year?”
You quiver in fear, feeling instantly inadequate and forgetting all the answers to these seemingly simple questions.
The Interrogator has been working the networking scene for many years and has got very good at showing you they’re much more successful than you (or so they think) by asking you questions in intimidating ways to highlight your weaknesses. This is just an opportunity for an ego boost and a pastry- nothing more.
To avoid falling into the trap of becoming one of these networkers, be an active listener, ask questions (but not too many) and don’t thrust a business card at someone unless you’ve had a valuable conversation. And remember:
- Networking is a tool: Effective networking can help you to build your contacts and broaden your business prospects.
- You’re selling you: Just because you’re representing your company, doesn’t mean you can’t be human. People buy from people they like and trust, so be friendly, show your personality and build a conversation based on mutual interests. Once your new acquaintance likes and trusts you, they’ll be much more interested in hearing about your company.
- Rehearse ‘why you do what you do’– Try and keep your pitch to 30 seconds, don’t use jargon that they won’t understand and ultimately tell them ‘why you do what you do’. If you can convey your passion and demonstrate a clear mission for what you’re trying to achieve, chances are you’ll have a captive audience.
These were the key points covered at BioCity Glasgow’s latest ‘Top Tips’ workshop by Sharon Ritchie. If you’re based at BioCity and looking to build your professional network or develop key skills for growing your business, check out our full programme of ‘Top Tips’ and Masterclass events.