There Are Pitfalls – Avoid Them
This is Part Eight of the Relationship Networking Series. Here is a collection of mistakes I have observed at local mixers. Suffice it to say “there are pitfalls-avoid them!”
Arriving at a mixer without name tag and business cards.
Never go anywhere without business cards! A professional-looking name tag helps people see and remember your name. You can order a very nice name tag from Trophy/Imprinting companies for a reasonable price. Having your items organized gives an impression that your business is organized as well.
Finding a group of friends/acquaintances and forming a circle that excludes others.
Your purpose is to connect with people you haven’t met before. Find another way to connect with old friends. Form a new circle; start with one person and keep open to including others as they amble by.
Not following up.
If you discussed a possibility of some sort, be sure to follow up promptly in a personal way. Your credibility depends on it. It’s good etiquette to find a way to acknowledge this person and how pleasant you found the chatting experience. Develop a non-salesy way to do that. It could be a phone call to arrange a coffee date, a chatty e-mail, or a connection through your favourite social media.
Hogging air time talking about you and your business and forgetting to ask about the other’s business.
Your goal is to get to know the other person and to discover what you can do to assist. So when someone says “tell me about your business” keep your response brief and follow with a question. Keep it conversational – avoid monologues.
Barging into a group and taking over the conversation.
This is a sure way to have people avoid you at the next mixer. When joining an already formed group, observe and listen first and then join the conversation flow.
Getting stuck with one person all evening.
Form a tag team with a friend/colleague to come to the rescue. Or catch someone going by and introduce them. Find a socially acceptable way to excuse yourself and move on. Just make sure you are not leaving this person standing alone.
Focusing more on the food than on the people.
Eat before you go there if you can and focus on the people you are meeting. It’s difficult to give your full attention to someone you’ve just met while focusing on your plate. Connecting with old friends around the buffet table is acceptable so long as you remember to move on later to meet new attendees.
Waiting for someone to suggest what she can do for you.
Shift your focus to her. Ask and propose how you might help her.
Failing to reciprocate when someone introduces you and says something nice about your business.
To do so will make you known as a “taker”. Avoid taking this opportunity to go into a long elevator speech about your business. Thank this person for kind words and say something positive about your experiences together in the past and find a way to join the flow of conversation.
Assuming you know all there is to know about the other’s business.
Show your curiosity. If you know quite a bit about their business, try asking about the trends they are noticing in their industry.
Shrinking into a corner because you feel shy.
Look around for someone else that looks shy and introduce yourself. Make it your job to help someone feel more comfortable.
Failing to give your name when you join the group or connect with a person.
You may have met them before but maybe they can’t recall your name. Help them out! Remember to say your name slowly and distinctly so that it registers in their memory.
Mindset Monday Challenge
Here is your opportunity to air your pet peeves about networking mixers. What makes a mixer a great experience for you?