This article is about how butting in to Word of Mouth conversations can damage 3 networking brands in one go and what can be done about it.
Welcome back, or if you’re new here you can sign up using our orange RSS button to the top right of this page. You will receive highly relevant business networking tips, new articles, as well as information about events and promotions which will help to increase increase the number of profitable introductions you, or your network, make.
Networking – the breakfast of champions
I’ve been working with a firm of solicitors who want their to get the introductions they deserve thanks to the excellent results they achieve for their clients. Recently, one of them attended a breakfast which advertises itself as executive networking.
He told me that everyone was really polite around the table, yet he observed some odd behaviour when one of the other guests seemed impressed with the work he did and wanted to speak to him about “an issue”.
What’s the story?
Once the breakfast was over and everyone got up to stretch their legs my contact was approached by the interested party. As they started to chat, a gentlemen butted in and said that the lady should also discuss their issue with one of the members of the group, who happened to work in a similar sector. This is like the advert you get on YouTube when you want to watch a video…..you can’t wait for the 5 seconds to expire so you can get on with what you originally intended.
Both parties politely thanked the “connector” yet were underwhelmed by the intrusion. The person they were trying to “sell” did not have experience in this specialism, so it would not have made sense to speak to them. My contact was also miffed that they had been invited to promote themselves and then, when they had established interest, the rug was tugged at whilst they still stood on it. Both the group and the individual were damaged by this practice.
Networking is not working
This happens all too often in networking groups. It’s no wonder people don’t join them or even leave because of cliques. I have no idea whether they wanted to promote someone they considered a friend, or felt that only paid up members of the group should get a return from it or felt, like the BBC, they had to caveat any conversation in the interests of balance, with “there are other equally favourable brands that you can buy x from”.
We may never work out what was going on in their head so what can you do to prevent this happening to you? My opinion, the leaders of a group set the tone so always ensure you have a meeting with them before you commit yourself. Make sure they understand you want to find out about the group rather than have them pitch to you.
Wrap Up: During the meeting assess the style of the leadership, their group aims and member objectives. You could also ask how they ensure their brand aims or objectives are flooded through members to ensure conversations can flow.
To Tip: A networking group has a brand to protect and it’s innocent members can miss opportunities if conversations are cut short. The hard sell is loathed by most people, even when the sales person is not actually employed by the company it is promoting. Just. Don’t. Do. It.