While there is no single networking style to ensure success (sorry extroverts!) there sure are a few out there that are well, annoying (or become terribly annoying after a while) or really are absolutely the wrong way to go about building lasting connections.
Let’s see if you recognize any of these networkers:
The 911 Networker
This is the person who shows up in your inbox only when THEY need something (and usually they need it NOW). They’re likely approaching everyone they possibly know in this manner so relax, you’re not the only person they are seeking assistance from. Plus, as you know (or will soon discover) you’re not likely to hear from them for a long time, since, yeah, when their “emergency” is over, they disappear.
If you’re a startup founder, then read “Got A Startup? Then Get Communicating!” as too frequently those seeking investors only start reaching out when they need money.
The 411 Networker
The person who jumps in to provide assistance and/or a connection at every opportunity, regardless of whether or not it was asked for or is even remotely helpful. They can’t help themselves (or react so quickly they haven’t paid attention to the problem) though sometimes they hit the mark with their suggestions, so it is worth keeping them in your network (just politely tune out their unhelpful suggestions).
And on the flip-side, you don’t want to always be picking people’s brains. If you need to ask why, then you need to listen to this episode of the BYDN podcast (“Why You Should Never Ask Someone To “Pick Their Brain”).
The Stupid Connectors
This is my pun on the label “super connectors” (which is kind of obnoxious). Stupid connectors are those who enthusiastically connect two people in an email when neither of the new connections really understands why they are being connected. You may be been the recipient of a stupid connection. It’s the email that starts “I just know you two will get along” or “you two should know each other” and finishes will “I’ll let you take it from here” (or similar language). As a recipient of a stupid connection email all you want to do is hit delete, but you ignore it instead hoping the other person figures out why you should both “take it from here”.
Wondering how to make the perfect email introduction? Read this or this post “Two Should Know Each Other…Aka The Dump And Drive Email“.
The Bait + Switchers
These are the networkers who email you for one reason (“I’d like to give you an update” or “I’m updating my contact list”) and then the next thing you know, the supposed update call is really a sales pitch with their three new work mates, or you’re now subscribed to a mailing list that you didn’t ask to be subscribed to. These are the people spam filters were designed for. No one can get mad if you never got the email, right?
The Mirror Image Networker
This is the person who says “hey, I like to meet people just like you do” before proceeding to detail how they typically network, make connections, attend events….meanwhile, you’re looking in the mirror shuddering “IS THAT WHAT PEOPLE THINK OF ME???”.
Listening to what your network thinks of you is critical as I share in this post (“Listen To Your Network – And Ask Your Network“) and this episode of the BYDN podcast (“Ask Your Network For Feedback“).
The Hey, We Just Met But Let’s Jump On A Zoom Networkers
Nothing more needs to be said about those who – a year into digitally dominated human interactions – approach networking with new connections this way.
Alternatives to Zoom, check out “3 Ideas For Networking Beyond The Room + Zoom” and “How To Network At Online Conferences And Virtual Events” and “24 Easy Ways To Add Some Networking Into Your Day (No Additional Zoom Meetings Required!)“.