I decided to write this post while at the 2014 Small Business Academy last week. Why? I was listening the speakers and I realized I only wanted to meet someone from two of the organizations represented today. I don't want to hand my card to everyone. (Someone actually did this, shamelessly.)
As I have become more seasoned as an entrepreneur, I realized some things are not for me. Two of those things: coffee and massive networking events.
Here are 5 reasons why I hate networking at huge networking events:
1. Someone assumes that they know all about me and what I do. It never fails at each event someone blurts out, "I already have an accountant! " or "I prefer to use Turbo Tax.". The truth is: I am relatively new on the scene. I am here to make new connections, that's it. Keep calm... please.
2. I am handed a business card, and there is an expectation I give mine back. I only go to an event with 5 cards. And I give them out with a certain level of snootiness. I listen to the person to see if there is any genuine business interest in having my info. If there's no interest, why bother? And unofficial reason I do not give my card out is I receive enough spam and unusual newsletters already.
3. Some folks just talk too much. I admit I ask a lot of questions, so I can listen for a need for sort. But I shouldn't know your how life story after asking, "What do you do?"
4. Those sticky name tags are the worse. They never stay on! Also, people just try to read your name tag to figure out who you are. How about you just ask me what my name is? At some events, the name tags are color coded. In those situations, I always pick a random color just to screw with people. Sometimes the colored name tags identify me as prey for some sales people.
5. No one likes to follow-up except insurance agents. I always hear the" I need to meet other entrepreneurs." and a bunch other statements from those who say they want to network. I meet these folks all the time, but they don't call back or respond. WTF!
I usually stick to smaller events that based in communities throughout Southeastern Wisconsin. Why? I get better leads. I meet great people every time. And I get the best word of mouth testimonials from these groups. So I am sticking to my gatherings, breakfasts, and lunches at co-working spaces, local non-franchise restaurants and coffeehouses.
If you have a strong dislike for networking events, read this article. It gives some tips to help those who absolutely hate networking. It also links to another article called 10 Tips for Successful Business Networking.
Thanks for reading my rant! Hopefully you got some useful information out of it.
Jéneen R. Perkins is a freelance accountant and consultant serving entrepreneurs, families and small businesses. She prides herself in being fluent in plain English instead of “Accountant-ese”.
"Putting My Money Where My Mouth Is" is a journal about real life experiences and answers to tough tax questions posed to Jéneen R. Perkins, Owner of Eclat Enterprises, LLC