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Is There a Right Way and a Wrong Way to Behave While Networking?

NetworkingYes! There are certain agreed upon behaviors that are not considered acceptable when networking on and offline. Jumping right in with a sales pitch is frowned upon in both online and offline social networking. Would you go to a wedding or a Bar Mitzvah and try to sell the other guests your blue widgets? No – I wouldn't think so. And if you did, you would more than likely find that others steer clear of you. 

If you are part of an online community and all you do is talk about yourself and your product, you will either be tagged as a spammer or in some cases, asked to leave the group. As we all know, there are TONS of social networking sites out there and it becomes our challenge to decide which ones provide the most value for us and which ones we will devote our valuable time to. I have found that some of these networks are akin to large numbers of people standing in a stadium all just shouting out their marketing message, not listening to anyone else, and not engaging in any conversations. Needless-to-say, I do not participate in those groups. Why should I? I don't need to listen to myself speak – I already know what I have to say, right?

Marc Gordon shares his insights with his usual humor in Five Awesome Tips for Networking Success. Click on the image below to watch Marc on the Marketing Tips from New Horiozns 123 Web Show.


About the Author

Julie Weishaar We will work with you to increase your online visibility by leveraging the latest in Internet and video technologies while helping you grow your business. We provide video marketing services and offer video marketing products for those who like to “do it themselves”, specializing in camera-less animated video production. We also provide consulting services for those who are just starting out on the Internet or with Video Marketing and need help with their Internet and Video Marketing Strategy.

13 Responses to “Online and Offline Networking Etiquette”
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  1. I couldn't agree with you more Dennis. Let's face it, we are all in this for the same end result – to make $$$ but I did use the word "end"! Networking is about meeting people, building relationships, and sharing, and I have personally benefited as much, if not more, from the "relationship" end by meeting some really awesome people who have a wealth of knowledge and wisdom and are more than willing to share, thereby adding value to what I can offer to potential clients.

  2. I would rather people be upfront than beat around the bush. I've been too many networking events and have heard the undercover sales pitch and it you know right away this person is only looking out for themselves. When people just show up to meet people, you can tell they're real and ready to create some relationships. Loved the video!

  3. Goa Resorts says:

    Cool…. Nice article on networking and I also appreciate with Susan.

  4. Hi Catherine. Isn't Marc a riot? The sad thing is we have all met those people who are always looking over their shoulder to see if there is someone more interesting to talk to right? Gotta love them – not! LOL

  5. This is a great video Julie – I learned a few things. There are unwritten rules when it comes to person to person networking every business owner should be aware of.

  6. Hi Susan, I like that suggestion about a link to the sign up – thanks for making it :)

  7. Susan Oakes says:

    Hi Julie,
    I think a quick email after the event mentioning your newsletter and a link to the sign up is better than adding them without permission. If you don't you can ruin a potential relationship before it even starts. And thanks back to you for being there when I want to toss around and idea for my business.

  8. @Adrienne – I agree with you totally that developing a relationship of sharing, engaging, and trust is the way to go – congrats on your partnership. Obviously you are networking effectively online. I am sure you do the same offline :) the disadvantage being that offline you only have one shot to do it "right". There isn't the same amount of time to be able to develop and nurture a relationship. Glad you enjoyed the video. Marc always makes me laugh :)

    @Keyuri: Your dad obviously taught you how to have a relationship with someone – anyone – showing that you care about them and not just yourself. I hear you about the emails – how about those that send out emails every day that soon turn into what I call SPAM? Your "How can I help you" and 'I've learned, not to ask if I don't think I'll be able to deliver" reminds me of what I adhere to which is "Don't ask a question if you don't want to hear the answer". I recently told a client that about one of his marketing campaigns. Thanks for your comment!

  9. Keyuri Joshi says:

    Excellent post and video Julie.  When I was a young teenager, I remember my dad telling me how he stopped by a colleagues desk and saw her kid's pictures.  He asked about them and that made the lady light up like a Christmas Tree. Though I didn't "network" at the time, it was a good lesson about taking an interest in someone else instead of talking about myself.  Of course the video points that out beautifully.
    In your reply to Susan's comment you ask about people taking liberty to add others to their email list just becaue they've gotten a busiess card.  My words might sound strong but I absolutely despise that.  There is nothing worse than to start getting emails that you never signed up for.  It strikes me as a rude and aggressive gesture and turns me off from wanting to work with that individual.  I think my strong stance on this is why I do not engage email marketing.   In my field as a Parent Coach, I know that the coaching process only works if somewant is "coachable".  Criteria # 1 is that they have to want it. 
    Another aspect in networking that I find helpful is to ask the individual I'm interacting with "how can I support you?".   Sometimes their request is simple and other times, fairly complicated.   I've learned, not to ask if I don't think I'll be able to deliver
    Great post!

  10. Adrienne says:

    Love the message Julie,

    I had a lady call me today and now we are going to a joint venture together only because I took the time to reach out and get to know her on Facebook.  I share positive and inspirational quotes everyday and I have so many people who relate to what I share and it really helps me build relationships because they feel like they know me already.  She became interested in what I have to offer because of what we have been sharing between us online.  I know this is not the same thing as actually attending a live event, but it's similar in nature.

    Loved the video, found it really fun and enjoyable.  The examples were great so thanks for sharing that one.

    Hope you are having a wonderful day!


  11. Hi Susan,

    I tend to agree with you – when someone is BSing you just to get to that sales pitch – you know it. Those who are genuinely interested in listening as well as talking are the ones I prefer to hand around.

    I hear what you say about getting a business card and adding them to your "list". I have seen some newsletters come through that say "You are receiving this email because we either met at a networking event or you signed up for my list". What are your thoughts about that kind of a disclaimer in a newsletter/email with the option to get off the list in the first email reach?

    Agreed on that one too. It is those kinds of situations where people help each other  – like you and me – without asking for anything in return – that are the most rewarding. Thank you for always being there for me :)

  12. Susan Oakes says:

    Good reminders Julie. Must say though I would prefer at times someone being upfront than than the heaps of small talk especially as you know they are going through the 5 step process to sell something in the end. 
    One other thing to consider is just because you have a person's business card, do not take that as an invitation to being put onto their mailing list without permission. Often a quick email to ask permission is all you need to do.
    I have also found that after finding out about their business doing something to help them without any thought of your own business pays off in the long run. 

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