If you attend a lot of networking events like I do, then you’ve probably noticed a few interesting characters in attendance. At any event, there are a few people whose personalities and behaviors are pretty daunting, and can kill your experience … and even your career (Muahahaha!).
These networking monsters may lurk or pounce, but the one thing they have in common is that they aren’t interested in a long-term, mutual connection with you. When you head to your next networking opportunity, seek out the types of people you really want to build professional relationships with, and connect with them.
Which monsters will be creeping around your next networking event?
The Networking Werewolf
Werewolves spend a lot of time howling to make sure everyone knows they’re present. Networking werewolves may try to pass out business cards to everyone without taking the time to develop any type of relationship.
They often use a scorched-earth approach to networking by attending as many events as possible and pouncing on everyone they can before moving on. However, the werewolf will quickly vanish at the mere thought of business professionals who want to network with them properly. Just like the full moon comes around only once a month, networking werewolves disappear once their howling for attention has not paid off.
The Networking Zombie
Just like “real” zombies, networking zombies attend business functions and wander around aimlessly with no idea of how to connect with others. Zombies do not take networking events seriously, and you’ll notice them grabbing a cup of coffee, standing against a wall, or just sitting alone. Other zombies will spend the majority of their time on a cell phone talking or texting, and because you never know when a zombie will show up, they are constantly arriving late.
Just like the zombies in horror films, networking zombies are in the need of brains. In other words, these zombies don’t understand all the great opportunities right in front of them at business networking events (or at least they don’t know how to take advantage of them).
The Networking Vampire
The most feared of networking monsters, the vampire will use you and suck you dry. This terrifying specter will feed off your knowledge, success, and connections. A lot of times, the vampire will pressure you to converse even when you are no longer interested, or after it’s become clear that it’s a one-sided relationship.
At first, you may find them charming - but soon, you realize that they’ve attached themselves to you for the long haul, taking up all your time and preventing you from networking with others.
In monster movies, there’s almost always a conquering hero who will take action to make a situation better. At a networking event, the hero is the one who always has a smile on, is always shaking hands, is a great listener, and is consistently finding ways to help someone else.
The hero is the ultimate business professional, learning about others and solidifying relationships. Networking heroes practice the “givers gain” philosophy, and it earns success for them and their businesses every day.
As we learned in Shaun of the Dead, the hero usually survives – and you will too, when you strive to be the hero at your next networking event by simply asking, “How can I help?”