By Phil Stella
Ever meet someone at a networking event who turned you off quickly with a negative first impression? Or who really annoyed you with ineffective follow-up? I have — lots of times. I call them “networking slugs.” They earn that designation for different reasons but mostly because they don’t practice the simple art of “Permission Marketing.”
Here’s what networking pros do to avoid that title:
Pros never give their business card to you. They wait for you to ask for it or they ask if they can give you a card. People who shove cards in your face, especially when they begin the conversation, are networking slugs. Most of those cards wind up in the trashcan on the way out of the venue.
Pros respect your time. They indirectly ask permission for only a few minutes of your time at an event by not dominating the conversation or talking too long. They tell less and ask more. When they do follow-up with you, they ask within the first few seconds if this a good time for a brief follow-up on (fill in the blank). They pause to allow you time to respond and honor your request. Slugs talk too much, too long, and jump right into it when they call.
Pros don’t send you anything you didn’t ask for. When discussing a potential opportunity, they ask you what material or information you would like. They don’t automatically send you a resume, brochure, samples or other collaterals without asking first. Slugs kill a lot of trees by sending you unwanted material that goes directly to your recycling bin.
So, if you want to network like the pros and never be accused of behaving like a networking slug, ask more than tell and master the simple art of permission marketing.
Phil Stella runs Effective Training & Communication Inc. and helps people take the pain out of workplace communication, sales presentations, and networking. He is the COSE MindSpring Networking Expert and a popular speaker on the topic. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and 440.449.0356.