Emmy M. Vickers, Guest Author –
Many entrepreneurs and professionals who attend networking events tend to take pride in “working the room” to see how many people they can meet; how many business cards they can collect in the shortest amount of time. This can lead to the unintentional condition that I like to call “star gazing.”
Like an amateur astronomer scanning the night sky for recognizable star patterns, the “Star Gazer” in networking terms is that person who is half-heartedly involved in a conversation while scanning the room to see who else they would like to talk to before leaving the event. “Star gazers” do not realize how rude and disrespectful this behavior actually is. More importantly, it may be counter-productive to the extent they are at the event – ideally to meet people who can help them grow their business by word-of-mouth marketing; by being a resource or even a client.
It is rather easy to recognize “star gazers.” They have wondering eyes while you are talking to them or sharing with them what you do. They give half-hearted answers to your questions because they’re simultaneously scanning the room. Worse case, they give you the impression that you’re in a monologue because they are not responding to your questions (not listening to you), therefore leaving you to feel like you are being ignored, as they continue to scan the room. In short, “star gazers” are incapable of giving you their undivided attention.
As a strategic networking specialist, I want to share with you several options you can use to counteract the rude behavior of “star gazers.” First of all, you remind yourself that you want to be a good referral source and that first impressions are very important. This awareness should serve as a reminder to not retaliate by becoming rude.
Option #1: Bring the behavior to the other person’s attention by asking them if they would like to finish the conversation a little later during the event, as it appears that they are focused elsewhere in the room. Sometimes this awareness brings the “star gazer” back down to earth long enough to see the rudeness in their behavior.
If the “star gazer” persists after your attempt at raising their awareness, then it is time to simply end the conversation.
Option #2: “John (use the person’s name here), it appears there are other people you would like to meet, it was a pleasure to meet you. I wish you much success this evening.” At which point, you both move on separately to continue networking.
Option #3: “John (use the person’s name here), it was a pleasure meeting you. I apologize, but my time is limited and there are a few other people I need to catch up with before I leave. I wish you much luck in making new connections this evening.”
The difference in the three options is that option #1 puts the ball in the “star gazer’s” court and gives them an opportunity to apologize for their rudeness and a choice on whether they would like to continue the conversation. The second and third options allow you to take control over the situation and make your graceful escape.
In closing, remember that strategic networking is about building positive, long-term, trusting relationships. It is about listening. And it is very difficult to trust your business to someone who is incapable of focusing on the human being standing in front of them.
As a strategic networker you should question how likely is it that the “Star Gazer” will get your order correct, deliver the service they promise, or serve as a dependable referral source later in your relationship if they can’t even stay focused through a brief introduction. So, the next time that you attend a networking event, leave the “star gazing” to the astronomers and give your undivided attention and respect to the person in front of you. Happy Networking!
Copyright © 2010 – Emmy Vickers. Emmy Vickers Enterprises, LLC would like to help you “raise your net worth through strategically networking TM.” Teach you how to create and cultivate your business relationships. We listen, motivate, encourage, educate and guide you. Emmy M. Vickers is a national corporate trainer and speaker specializing in teaching others how to strategically network for business success. She is also the creator of the country’s first entrepreneur network kit. Please visit her at www.emmyvickersenterprises.com. To schedule a consultation contact her at 301-593-2072.
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