You Don't Want To Be That Guy
You have seen them. We all have. If you don't recognize the following description, I implore you, look in the mirror. If you find that I am describing you, I respectfully request that you make some changes. At the very least, please don't attend the same events I do.
The individual I am describing is the one who comes up to you, with a fake smile, and his business card in the hand he intends to shake yours with. He doesn't want to learn about you, just to add you to his database, he could care less about anything having to do with you, your database or your needs...
You see, somewhere along the way, he learned that he who has the most contacts wins. While that could be the case, last I checked, there was no such prize, and networking isn't a game. It's a way to help others, and hopefully yourself, along the way.
So, you and that guy are engaged in conversation and you find yourself wondering if you are in fact talking to that guy. Here are some identifying factors you should be able to recognize:
1. They tell you all about themselves and their business without asking a question of you or being invited to do so. Just when you think it's your turn to speak, *poof*, they're off to talk to someone else.
2. They spend the duration of your conversation (or should we call it a monologue?) looking around the room to see who else is there. They certainly don't want to speak with you if there may be someone better to meet.
3. They demonstrate poor listening skills. Let's assume you're actually granted the opportunity to speak, you will likely be interrupted or just feel that you aren't really being heard.
4. The individual has a bad case of one-up-man-ship. You know the drill, anytime you say something, this individual relates a story to what you said, that in his mind, was way cooler than what you did.
5. They tell you about their cool newsletter and that they will be sending you one.
6. They name drop so that you will be impressed with all the cool folks they know.
I'm not crazy about the numbering here. I liked it better the way it was, but I assume there is a reason.
The real problem with that guy is that most people feel the same way about him. So when it comes to leveraging the relationships he has, you quickly realize that he has very little... both leverage and relationships.
There are lots of people you can be at a networking event, that guy is not one of them.