The gentle art
In the nine years since we established Pixooma, we have met hundreds, if not thousands, of people at networking meetings and business events, both online and in person. And during this well-trodden courtship dance, we have witnessed all manner of good and bad behaviours.
At its very heart, the purpose of business networking is the exchange of information, advice, and referrals. We enjoy it because strangely enough it’s not all about us. It’s a great opportunity to meet business partners, friends, colleagues and new faces. Plus, over time and with the right amount of agreed contact and relationship building, it can develop and grow our businesses in three ways:
People do not want to be scared or cajoled into using your services…
Best behaviour please?
That’s why when we meet people, we always maintain some common courtesies and basic business etiquette. Because let’s face it, whilst we might be tentatively scoping people out, you can bet your bottom dollar that they are doing the same. So, it really does pay to be on your best behaviour that will feature you and your brand/business in a favourable light.
That’s why I am still surprised when I witness things that are memorable for all the wrong reasons. Two examples spring to mind. To spare people’s blushes I will not name and shame them. However, you might even have met them yourself because I very much doubt that their performances were not just one offs!
Quit the pushiness!
Being told you are not doing something right or following someone else’s opinion of what they think is right can be infuriating. I remember a particular guy who was convinced that it was his way or nothing, and such was his manner that he literally scared people. He got right up in your face and his awful and very forceful communication skills made other people feel useless, unappreciated, belittled and in some cases terrified. This is no way to build relationships or collaborate with people.
Stop inventing more work!
My second example is a little bit more intriguing. A colleague of mine wanted a new website and was chatting to a website company when they tried to coerce her into further design work, including changing her logo. as they thought it was necessary. If your client/prospect wants a website, that’s what you should be offering. Inventing new jobs for yourself on top of the original project is unprofessional, greedy and in poor taste.
If any of this sounds familiar, then take a step back and look at yourself objectively. Be fair, be reasonable and tone it down. Your business might have the most amazing security system to sell but be careful how you share this information with others. Or if you don’t like someone’s logo then keep it to yourself and just get on and design the website they want. The two items are not mutually exclusive.
People do not want to be scared or cajoled into using your services, or charged more because you think you can make some extra money. It’s a buyer’s market and if you persist in bad behaviour people will not keep it to themselves. They will tell others and soon you may find you and your services have been effectively black-balled.
Tell us your story!
What's the most memorable networkers you've encountered, both good and bad? We'd love to hear them, so please do email email@example.com, or tag us in a post about it on social media with the hashtags #NetworkingAce and #NetworkingFail. If you can keep them anonymous too as we don’t want you to be embroiled in publishing embarrassing facts about organisation or people without them having a right of reply
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