Learn: in:

Why Networking Events Stink

Use networking events properly to build contacts.

Networking events stink. Nothing to do with bad odors, but if they're not "played" properly by you the attendee, they serve no purpose for your business.

This isn't about the groups that put functions on, but the business owners that attend them. It is the very definition of "Push & Pray": You go to an event with a stack of business cards and gauge your success by the number you hand out (the Push) and hope people will follow up afterwards (the Pray).

Your goal should not be how many you give out, but how many you take in! Wait a minute--even that's not right. It's even worse to challenge yourself to GET as many cards as it is to give them! You should be "pulling" cards from people with whom you've made a real connection--someone with whom you've had a real discussion. Too many people go to the events with their self-serving mindset, hoping for a sale or a new customer instead of focusing on building multiple relationships with people that last much longer than the event itself.

Give yourself a goal at the next event you attend: Ask open-ended questions to at least three people about THEIR business, and let them talk. Don't relate their story to one of yours, or burst in with your business plan, just listen. When you ask for their card, make a note on the back of what you were talking about and then send them an email immediately after the event to mention how much you enjoyed speaking with them. I'd rather leave an event with the cards of 10 people I really met, than 50 stuck out to every passerby!

Scott Stratten is the President of Un-Marketing, a firm that works with business owners to help them become customer magnets. He uses proven methods of successful marketing to increase awareness and sales both within a company's current customer base and new ones. He recently appeared in the Wall Street Journal, USA Today and Fast Company and his articles have been published all over the world. Find out more about Scott at Un-Marketing .

Other Articles