Having just returned from an event where I was the speaker I wanted to share why these networking events seldom leave me with a warm and fuzzy glow toward my fellow man. Being the speaker was not the problem, it was the attitude of one or two individuals attending. I’m currently writing the next book from the Romancing the Customer business guides so this was a splendid opportunity to test some of the material (all about communication).
Joining me at the start of the event was a networking virgin – a young, ambitious and really interesting solicitor called Lucy. As she was unsullied by the ravages of networking past I decided to share some of the material I was developing in order that she might avoid uttering the 4 most useless words in networking ‘what do you do?’
All went beautifully until we met the network dinosaur who was so rude it was breathtaking. He destroyed his opportunity to connect and discover how interesting someone is simply by looking at her name badge, recognising the law firm and dismissing her with a ‘oh right, you’re a solicitor’.
I remain convinced this was not his intention; it was simply due to a thoughtless word and a mindless gesture. Yet he did so much damage to his brand integrity that I doubt either Lucy or I will ever be referring or recommending him or his services any time soon.
I do hope this experience doesn’t put Lucy off. If nothing else, she at least discovered some useful alternatives to what do you do, and I trust embraced some rather smart ways of responding to the faceless herd who decide this is the best way to connect and create potent brand experiences.