Overcoming Awkward Moments When Networking
Just like anything else, networking has many opportunities for awkward moments. Knowing how to handle those moments can help put you and the person you are with at ease. These are some of the awkward moments I have experienced and some I have only heard in discussion or read the stories.
8 Awkward Networking Situations You Must Avoid or at Least Be Able to Handle
Not Remembering Someone’s Name
I’ve had these experiences; everyone has these memory lapses. Don’t be embarrassed if you can’t remember someone’s name. Get over it and reintroduce yourself. Chances are this person may not remember your name either and shares your discomfort. Even better if you remember where you met previously and can reestablish the circumstances you can move toward a stronger relationship.
Don’t Force Your Business Card on the People You Meet
You don’t need to give a business card to everyone you meet. Only give your card if they ask; otherwise forget it. On the other hand DO NOT FORGET TO GET THEIR CARD! Ideally you should do this early in the discussion. The person who gets the business card first takes control of the meeting and gives this individual the opportunity to direct the discussion.
Always Have an Ample Supply of Business Cards
Guilty again! In times past I was confused as to what I was trying to do and therefore wasn’t sure what to put on my business card. What a mistake!
If people ask for a card you must be ready with your business card. Saying you forgot your cards is a weak position and very unimpressive. In many ways you are telling those you meet that you don’t take yourself seriously and therefore they shouldn’t take you seriously either.
Don’t Get Caught with Your Mouth and Hands Full of Food and Drink
If you are truly there for networking purposes don’t try to eat all the shrimp (my weakness). Keep your hands empty so you can shake hands, collect business cards and show you take your networking seriously. If you feel you might offend the event host, take a small plate, eat quickly and clear your hands. After that you should never have more than a non-alcoholic drink in one hand.
Don’t Be Distracted When You Are Talking to Someone
You have seen it and maybe you have done it as well. Someone is in a conversation and simply can’t stay focused. They are looking around to see who else is there or who is walking through the door. Your credibility is at issue; the person you are currently talking with is the most important person at the moment!
Be Friendly but Don’t Over Do It
Some people believe they must meet everyone at the event, but they don’t know how to do it gracefully. Actually few people can do it gracefully; so don’t make a fool of yourself and show insincerity!
Don’t Get Too Involved in Detailed Business Conversations
Networking events are just that; an opportunity to network and start a relationship. Some people do not feel a networking event is successful unless they walk away with new business or at least a very hot prospect.
Networking events are the opportunity to find some common ground, other than business, where a relationship can get a foothold. People like to do business with people they know. They want to be comfortable with the relationship and feel their new contact has credibility.
Don’t Use a Networking Event as an Opportunity to Get Free Advice
Many of the people at networking events may have valuable information you could use for your business. Don’t use the event as an opportunity to try to get free information. These individuals have invested time and money to get their knowledge, just as you have invested to get your knowledge; don’t compromise the relationship just so you can get something for free!