Let's get right into it.
Know Your Business-Avoid Being The Target
You have to know what type of business you run on a daily basis before you can seek out those who can become a valuable resource. The money grabber is only looking out for number one and rarely gives back. This person will attach themselves to groups, prowling for a willing face. Usually not a care in the world for what you do but what you can do for them. Offering a fragment of suggestions I refer to as general information so as to sound intelligent. Beware. They have played this game before, so instead of hurriedly scheduling the one-on-one, have a conversation right at your current venue. If you feel comfortable after, accept a business card and plan a meet up later.
Random Acts Of Stupidity
Stop making instant connections on LinkedIn or other sources before you have a chance to meet the person, unless you are quite confident of the return. Another kinder-gentler way of inviting is to inbox the potential client, letting them know of YOUR intentions. Sharing a link of your community efforts especially if they tie into your business model is good. Trying to connect with high profile professionals by telling them you are a fan and would like to get together is not good business or common sense.
The Buffet Kings (And Queens)
You know the ones. Easy to spot because as soon as they make an appearance dishes and drinks go missing so fast you wonder if the organizer hired a magician. Their idea of networking is to throw a few business cards on the table, say "hi" to at least 2 people, and be the last to leave so they can bag the leftovers. Yes! I have seen it. Be careful of who is extending the invitation to events as well as who you mingle with at such functions. If well-planned, these network timeframes are scheduled not as eating contests but to formulate a connection to build on at a later time. Being a responsible connector means you should be alert, attentive, ready to chat-not comatose, sleepy or disinterested. The last thing anyone wants to see is someone sidling up ready for the trough.
When alcohol is being served, don't park at the bar, this may give the wrong impression and again, why did you come to this networking event? Hmm, self examination is a must.
A Is For Apple
Type A personalities thrive -they do. They can be blunt, straightforward, show-offish- take your pick. Coming from certain stock, real or imagined, does not give you the right to be insulting, demanding or crass. On the other spectrum being overly sensitive can be a problem too, as it becomes exhausting if you feel the scrutiny of each syllable uttered. You can create a silent dust cloud quicker than Linus from Charlie Brown, so ease up. Intelligence isn't owned by the minority, share thoughts and ideas to benefit all coming into your space so the wisdom will inspire growth, change and trust. And if you can't channel it-button it. You are not the only person in the room.
There is something to be said about being humble, it empowers, opens hearts and minds to reason, instead of reducing the message.
Until next time~