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Matt Kendall

7 Reasons Why You Suck At Networking

     
 

   
   

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.

Editors Foreword:
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.

 

7 Reasons 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 other people.

2. You Fail To Follow Up
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 Once
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 to happen.

7. You Are Easily Forgotten
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 happy!

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.

Final Note
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:
MeetUp: The Interesting Business Club

 

   
     
     

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