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I Hate Networking Slugs…

And So Should You

by Phil Stella at Communicate Confidently

➔ I hate Networking Slugs… I really do. And so should you. They typically create very negative first impressions at networking events by doing lots of dumb things. They probably didn’t plan to behave like Slugs and what they do is often out of mindless habit or lack of focus. But, the results are just as lame… and just as annoying.

Most Slugs are real amateur networkers, but not all. I’ve encountered some veteran schmoozers who elevate Slug Behavior to an art form. So have you. When you see them coming, you turn and run. Or, at least, start talking to someone else.

To help you make sure no one ever accuses you of Networking Slug Behavior, here are five things they do to earn that designation and Non-Slug Alternatives they – or you – should consider instead.

No need to thank me… it’s my job

1. Network Slugs give you their business cards up front and most wind up in the trash can on the way out of the venue. I’ve even seen Slugs going around the room passing out cards to everyone, as if they were candy we’d all enjoy. Lame. Very lame. And I’ve been known to put on my curmudgeon hat on occasion and comment ‘I don’t recall asking for your card’ just to mess with them.

Non-Slug Alternative – wait for people to ask for your card or ask them if you can give them one. Wait till the end of a short conversation to prompt a possible follow up. And ask for theirs first – that usually prompts the return request.

2. They don’t respect your time. Slugs talk too much, too long, mostly about themselves and launch right into their sales pitch monologue when they call you. It’s all about them and what they’re selling, because they don’t realize – or care – that networking and selling don’t mix.

Non-Slug Alternative – don’t dominate the conversation or talk too long. Tell less and ask more. Talk less and listen more. The conversation is more about them than you. And never mix networking with selling. When you do follow up with a call, always ask within the first few seconds, “Is this a good time for a brief follow up chat on…?”

3. Slugs don’t interact with class and style. If they suggest a coffee meeting, they show up late, expect you to pick up the check and couldn’t be bothered to confirm plans. And they talk too much… about themselves.

Non-Slug Alternative – send a confirming email or text the day before. Show up on time, if not early. It you initiate the meeting, always pick up the check. KISS (Keep It Short and Simple) and focus on how you might be able to help each other.

4. They ask before they give. You’ll encounter two basic kinds of people at networking events – givers and takers. Slugs are takers – always thinking ‘what’s in it for me? And if you do help them, instead of a note of thanks, you usually get another request for your help. They rarely offer to return the courtesy.

Non-Slug Alternative – ask what you can do for them before asking them for anything. And when you do need to ask first, make sure you have earned the courtesy. Believe that “givers gain” and “what goes around comes around” and prove it by your courteous and consistent behavior.

5. Networking Slugs send you stuff you didn’t ask for. When following up, Slugs kill a lot of trees by sending you unwanted material that goes directly to your recycling bin. At an event, they shove brochures, resumes… even SWAG… in your hands without asking if you want any of it. Like they’re doing you a favor.

Non-Slug Alternative – ask what they want or need up front, then only send or give them what they asked for. Ask when they want it and respond accordingly. Under-promise and over-deliver. If they say they don’t want anything, honor that by not sending anything. Simple as that.

So, if you now realize that you hate Networking Slugs as much as I do, make sure no one can ever call you that. It’s all about networking with simple uncommon courtesy, class and style. No one will ever hate that!


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