Author: Matt Kendall (Founder
of The Interesting Business Club)
Article Title: 7 Reasons Why You Suck At Networking
Article Date: September 2013
Mini Biog: Founder of The
Interesting Business Club and Interesting
Talks London which is one of the largest MeetUps in the UK.
The phrase 'It's not what you know, it's who you know' is never
truer than in the film industry. With year round screenings,,film
festivals, events and parties we are constantly meeting and card
swapping with new people in the industry, netowrking goes with
the territory and good contacts very often result in quality paid
work and could perhaps lead to that big break we're all looking
for. Matt Kendall has run several business networking companies
and his observations and experience of networking apply so much
to our industry, Matt was kind enough to share these in the following
article - read, take note, implement, and reap the rewards.
Why You Suck At Networking
There are a few people who do very well at networking,
however most people totally suck at it! Here are the 7 main reasons
why you suck at networking:
1. You Treat Networking
Like A Selling Event
This is probably the most common mistake I have
seen. People attend a networking event in the hope of selling
their product or service to the other attendees. A networking
event has not been arranged for you to treat like some sort of
market. Instead of trying to sell whatever it is to who is there,
you should be trying to establish and nurture connections with
2. You Fail To Follow
I simply cannot understand people who attend networking
events, meet amazing people and then fail to actually do anything
about it. Not following up on leads really shouts volumes about
you and how you conduct business.
Make sure that you have set aside a suitable amount
time the next day (or later that day if possible) to process the
leads and follow up with people. This is the single most important
part of networking. Don’t just dump the business cards you
collected into a draw. The longer you leave it, the less likely
you will do anything.
3. You Don’t
Make Any Kind Of Notes
How many people do you meet networking? How many
conversations do you remember and what actions you have agreed
to take? Chances are that you have multiple conversations and
promised to do a range of things from meeting up for a coffee
to sending over a file to giving someone a quote.
How on earth are you able to remember all of this?
Some people will write notes on the back of business cards, this
is ok but unreliable. What I have found to work the best is to
have a small note pad and pen. When speaking with someone, make
notes about who they are and what the next step is and then paperclip
their business card to that page. Simple, yet highly effective.
4. You Only Attend
Networking takes time. The kind of deals I have
seen done at networking events can involve serious amount of money,
so build trust with people takes more than one meeting.
By attending an event just the once and then writing
it off is simply foolish. You don’t go to the gym once and
suddenly become fit! You should commit to going to a few networking
events regularly and build and maintain relationships.
5. You Treat It Like
A Social Event
You often forget that you are at the networking
event to work and you are also representing yourself and your
business conduct to others. By treating these events like a social
event, you are likely to put people off working with you.
I have seen people getting really drunk, doing drugs
and even making out with each other. There are often free bars
at networking events, it is ok to have a drink but you must really
limit yourself. You can get drunk any time, just not when you
are being evaluated and judged by potential business partners.
6. You Have No Plan
I have met so many people who attend networking
events just because they think by attending things will just work
out. They have no plan what so ever and just assume attending
alone will generate sales and joint ventures.
Before you attending a networking event, think to
yourself “why am I attending this event? Who would you like
to meet? What would I actually like to get out of it?”.
When you have a clear idea about what it is you want to get from
the event, you can create a plan. When you get there you can get
on with things, rather than standing around waiting for stuff
7. You Are Easily
The sad reality is that you are just not than
memorable and people will soon forget who you are and fail to
connect with you after the event. Think about your appearance,
your business cards, your conversation patter, your perfume/aftershave
and your overall impact. Chances are you are probably very bland
and will blend in to the background. Instead you want to appeal
to people on all senses.
You want to stand out from the crowd and attractive
positive attention. Your business cards should be colourful, possibly
an unconventional shape and with a clear picture of yourself.
Your clothes should represent your ambition and you should be
Having something quirky, unique and memorable will
help you to stick in people’s minds. People are going to
make assumptions about you and your business, so make sure that
you have as much control over this as possible.
So there you have it, the 7 reasons why you suck
at networking. If you network successfully then you can build
and expand your business in amazing ways.
Matt's Contact Details:
Interesting Business Club