I enjoy going to networking events from time to time. I often meet interesting people and make useful or mutually beneficial business connections. What I don’t enjoy so much is the forced salesmanship (or saleswomanship) exhibited by some of the attendees.
So my dream networking event would go something like this:
- At the door, guests are asked to step through a “Full Body Quota Scanner,” to detect any trace of tone-deaf salesmanship. Anyone who sets off the alarm has his or her business cards confiscated.
- Next, attendees are asked to give a very brief “elevator pitch” about themselves or their company. Anyone whose pitch features something like, “When is your commercial lease up?” or “Is your current IT outsourcing provider satisfying your needs,” will be ejected.
- Once inside, guests will see that at least 75% of the floor space and tables are clearly marked as “Quota-Free Zones.” Automated listening devices and burly staffers will scan these areas for forced pitch-like chatter that sounds anything like, “What if I could knock 30% of of the contract–would you be willing to commit tonight?” Those in violation are subject to a $100 fine on the spot.
- Business cards are only exchanged after a point of relevance or mutual interest is established and not before. People who insistently offer their business cards before they have even finished saying their own name (or chewing their lamb on a stick) will be subject to a $100 fine on the spot.
- Anyone caught pitching at the end of the buffet line and thus causing a backup will be ejected and banned from subsequent events for 12 months–no appeals.
Bobservations is written by me, Bob London. More of my writing can be seen at www.bob-servations.com. I’m also president of London, Ink LLC, a full-service B2B marketing and communications consulting and serve as a Virtual VP of Marketing for growth-stage technology and professional services firms that need hands-on leadership in marketing strategy and planning. More information is available at www.londonink.com.
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