March 17, 2016

Networker vs NOTworker, Part Two

This is part two of my articles regarding Networking vs NOTworking. Networking has become, for some, a lost art or a forgotten skill. Some would say that today's networker in our home builders association lacks the vision of what could be if done with precision and tact. More importantly, and what can truly derail your efforts and possible loss of opportunities, what not to do. There is no reason to discuss successful networking tips and strategies if you can’t purge your system of some not so desirable qualities.

Today's article is derived by, admittedly, some pet peeves of mine and others by reading up on first impressions. If you want to fail at meeting new people who could possibly help you with your career, by all means please follow the...

5 Ways to NOTworking Success
1. The Physical Impressionist
Excessive Anything:

  •          Body Hair
  •         Tattoo
  •     Cologne/Perfume
  •     Smoke Breath
  •     Provocative vs. Professional
  •     DRINKING

Let’s go down the line…
Body hair; For the men, if you have a beard, keep it neat. If you need a shave, shave. For ladies, the 80s are long gone lose the volumizer and excessive hairspray. Don't judge me for writing this. I'm only letting you know that you'll be judged, right or wrong. It's your choice, though.
Getting a tattoo is a freedom of your expression, with the key word in this sentence being “YOUR.” Not everyone is into tattoos so if you have them, and you can somehow cover them up, please do. This may only apply to some but if your goal is to gain opportunities why, for the freedom of expression, limit your chances? Again, I’m not judging; I’m sharing what I have read on the subject and heard from others.
Go easy on the cologne and perfume. To each his/her own means exactly how it reads. When I shake someone’s hand I don’t need to smell like the insert of a magazine. Again, less, or none, is so much more. 
The same could be said for cigarette smoking. Most people are right handed and those that smoke will naturally utilize their right hand while smoking and will most likely have that "last" cigarette before going from the outside to the inside where general membership meeting is taking place. You'll be shaking hands and speaking with people because that's why you're there. However, your hand will transfer the smell of cigarette smoke onto the hand of another during the hellos. You will also be within two feet of the person so you don't have to shout. You see where I'm going here?
Unless I’m wrong, women, and men attending HBA/business events are not there for mating season. Sure, there are some exceptions to that statement but I would assume an extremely large percentage of attendees do not want to be “hit on” or be subjected to inappropriate behavior, such as blue jokes or leering.
Being in sales, and knowing that alcohol is a fixture at most HBA events, I will repeat again what I wrote above; less means so much more. Do you really want to be remembered as the tipsy woman or inebriated guy? You are there representing your company, whether as an employer or employee. If you do have a drink or two, drinking a glass of water in between should go a long way in keeping you professionally intact.

2. The Pathological Networker
  • Business card "pusher"
  • Talks to as many people as possible
This is the individual you see at the general membership passing out his or her cards in a frenzy, like a dealer in a poker game, obviously there for no other reason than to make a quick sale.They roam from person to person because they came with 50 business cards and by hell or high-water they are not leaving with those cards. Really, not the best strategy for long term success or short term.

3. The Interrupter
  • Barges into a conversation
  • Oblivious to their surroundings
This is an individual who, when spotting a person they'd like to talk to, walk up to that person, already engaged in a conversation, to say "hello." What they don't understand? The "other" person in the conversation could have been in the middle of an important point. Or they could have been ready to set up a continued conversation. You just blocked this person's networking. Do you really think you haven't just made a mistake and possibly soured your attempt at social capital? The "other" person just marked you as a roadblock to success. But if you don't care about expanding your network, please, continue with this rude practice.

4. The Monopolizer

  •  Latching onto a prospect and not letting go

This is an individual who is speaking to someone, at great length, that others might wish to meet and engage in conversation as well. But for some reason the monopolize stays in that conversation oblivious to his or her surroundings. Once again, this individual may cherish the protracted conversation with one person but during the process has sown the seeds of dislike by potential contacts waiting in line.

5. The Tunneling Mole

  • As in tunnel vision
  • Focused on one goal or person 
  • De-prospecting someone
  • Dismissing a "nobody"

They don’t understand one simple rule; EVERYONE in that room, in varying degrees, could possibly help you. Maybe not just yet, but why ignore possibilities? Short sighted tunnel vision is a trait that is not listed in successful people’s check lists.
“If you can’t help me, I can’t be bothered.” I have seen quite a few people like this in my time in the business world. Example – Several years ago I was speaking at an HBA event, one of my favorite HBA activities. There was a member, a realtor I believe, who came up to me afterwards and complimented me on my conversation with the group. He then wanted to know where I am currently building. When I explained that I am a building material supplier the look of disappointment stormed his faced. Realizing that I could not advance his “book of business” he said “great to meet you” and walked in the opposite direction to his next target.

You have one chance at a first impression, don't sabotage your opportunities.

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