If the skeeviness of dating events matches it’s cousin, networking – bullet dodged.
I’m sure that when hormones are involved, the grossness is even more abundant.
When I first broke out on my own, I thought I would try networking events. I thought it would be a great way to meet new people – and not just prospects.
I LOVED working on my own, but I really missed interaction with smart people.
I thought I might find smart, interesting people at networking events.
I found an event that seemed interesting. It was just for women. It was at a great restaurant, and who doesn’t love a great lunch? The woman who ran it was enchanting.
I thought “This is going to be great”.
I had hopes and dreams of finding best friends, fellow masterminders, and a sea of business prospects.
Everyone was very nice. Warm, not overly aggressive. There were some network marketers that all seemed to be circling the same prospects like sharks. But a lot of the women seemed great.
What I didn’t realize was that these people, who were women, mostly marketing to women, saw me as instant access to a huge market. They didn’t see me as a potential peer, friend, or someone with whom they could create a mutually beneficial referral type relationship.
They just saw dollar signs.
A lot of them worked from home. The people they met in this group must be the extent of their social life. Especially if they treated their friends the way they treated me. Everyone would have ran away years ago.
At the time, I played professional football for DC’s women’s team and left a very large firm. They saw me as a connector.
I guess, they thought I was there to purchase stuff from them and introduce them to thousands of people ready to give them money.
Being a connector is awesome. But there has to be some sort of gatekeeping so the vultures don’t eat up your connections. No one will talk to you anymore.
I approached this event with the naivete that only networking virgins can have.
I followed up with everyone I met that was interesting.
That is what you are supposed to do, right? All the networking books and tips say so.
I scheduled coffees and lunches. I thought I was building relationships.
I am a firm believer in “no one wants to hear what you say until they find out how much you care” and you have to listen first to find out what people need.
These women had missed the day that was taught in entreprenuer school.
They dove in.
Obnoxiously. Apparently the invite to coffee was networking code for ‘please hound me about purchasing your service, product, whatever’
Not one listened to my business, what I was doing. What was going on in my life. I think one of them didn’t even remember my name when we met for coffee.
They just wanted what was in it for them.
- Can you set up a meeting with the general manager of your football team? Why are you a coach? Would you like to sponsor us? Advertise with us? Oh, you just want to sell us stuff. Awesome, what we need is not people to support us, but people to sell us more stuff.
- Would you like to buy my incredibly overpriced, strange service? You haven’t stopped talking about you long enough to show me the value for me.
- Would you like to sell this service? I can make you rich. Ludicrous thought.
- How about giving me some names of friends that would be interested? Just give me their names, phone numbers, emails. YEAH RIGHT. I would then be like you, with no friends. Maybe even become so desperate that I would start trying to become friends in this weird way.
This was not the utopia of businesswomen that I imagined. It was gross. It was like the worst first date ever.
I talked to none of these people again. Just like you don’t talk to a creepozoid that hits on you. They were creepy marketers.
Don’t be a networking pervert. Take the time to listen. Become friends. Build relationships. Figure out how you can help
I did become friends with the leader of networking group and helped her with some projects. That was another mistake on another day.