Business networking is a nightmare waiting to happen. And, I know that this might land up becoming a controversial topic. But, I can't tell you the number of times that someone has asked me, “Ronsley, which networking events do you go to”? Don't get me wrong, I do go to events. But I'm not so sure that it should be a strategy, and I'm going to tell you why. But before I do that, Lifehacker covered a blog post I wrote about networking events, you should read that. So here are the top reasons why I think you may need to consider changing tactics going forward…
Business networking events have agendas.
When have you ever been to a networking event that doesn't have a hidden agenda? I can't remember the last time this happened. Whether I am speaking at an event or I'm there to mingle, the event is usually a small part of a much bigger sales plan. There isn't anything wrong with selling to the “right” people, but most of the times the people going to a business networking event have other things on their mind.
They are looking to solve bigger issues within their business and I feel like they don't exist at networking events anymore. Primarily because the organiser is looking to get similar kinds of people in the room that they can sell to. In that case, every one in the room has a similar problem to you.
People at business networking events are looking to take.
The last time you went to a business networking event, did you go there to give, or to take? Did you go there to see if you could be of service, or if you could find someone to introduce you to your next client? Or even be your next client?
If you did go with the intention of giving, then you will stand out (see the net point). But you'll stand out to the wrong people. While I grew up in India, I stood out for being different in every scenario. Because I thought differently. But, I didn't stand out for the right reasons and it was definitely to the wrong people. I just didn't fit in.
When every other person is looking to take, how could you possibly benefit from being there?
At a business networking event, do you stand out?
Standing out is key. For the right reasons, to the right people, for the right qualities. You are unique and we are all blessed to have you, I urge you to find your unique. Not try to be someone else's copycat. Be you.
Whatever it is you are good at, the people closest to you know what that is. And you don't give it enough value because you think its easy to do what you do. Figure this out, because we need you and we've been waiting for you to give your uniqueness to the world.
If you have figured it out, this will make you stand out. Easy.
Why the nightmare is real.
A lot of the times the people going to a business networking event have bigger problems. They feel like the shotgun approach might be the best solution. Sometimes they hear other people talk about their exploits at networking events, and feel like that is where their energy should go. If you are looking to solve an immediate problem like cashflow or new business, then you need to go and get your clients one-on-one. Your clients aren't going to networking events, unless you are the one putting on the event. What are you running away from? What business nightmare is keeping you up?
Either way, this post is for attendees and organisers to think about their next business networking event. Create the right environment… the state of entrepreneurship depends on you.
Author: Ronsley Vaz
Ronsley is the founder & chief day dreamer at AMPLIFY. He is an author, speaker & serial entrepreneur.
He has a Masters’ degree in Software Engineering and an MBA in Psychology and Leadership. He is known as the creator of We Are Podcast – the first Podcasting Conference in the Southern Hemisphere, and the host of The Bond Appetit Podcast and Should I Start a Podcast. He has an audience of over 3 million in 133 countries.