Attitude is everything, baby! Especially when it comes to business networking.
Well, yes, but I suppose attitude is important in a number of areas: Dating. Marriage. Divorce. Having children. Raising children…or not. Getting a job. Running a business. Running a marathon or a Spartan Race. Getting in a boxing ring against someone who wants nothing more than to hurt you…badly. Hiring. Firing. Retiring. Rolling over that 401K or SEP account. Getting this blog out on time. Dealing with elder care issues. Estate planning. Investments. Getting that adorable little puppy. Being disappointed. Letting go of something you love. Whew!
Attitude really is everything.
And important when it comes to everything. But it’s important when you’re networking too. Which I guess was my point. So let’s go there. Attitude drives behavior. As in how someone thinks and, ultimately, acts at a networking meeting. I’ve mentioned, in the past, that I co-founded a networking group over two years ago. Meetings take place every month and there are always issues that have to be sorted out when dealing with business owners and sales professionals who tend to be independent and autonomous by nature. As my business partner in this venture says, issues tend to fall into three categories – Attendance, Attire, and Conduct. All three areas, by the way, come back to attitude. Here are some real-life examples:
Showing up early. Registering for the event in plenty of time. Letting those that run the organization know ahead of time if you need to leave early. Or arrive late. Making the necessary arrangements to be on time and stay for the duration. Then, there are those that pay for the event and don’t show up at all without any communication. This is outside of the occasional accident or emergency. What’s the impact on the event? What’s the impression that you leave?
Wearing jeans. Not wearing a sports jacket. Unless it’s casual Friday. Or Wednesday. Too much jewelry. Not enough perfume. Having too many tattoos exposed – unless you’re at a tattoo convention. Same thought when it comes to certain piercings. Not looking like a business person. Looking disheveled. Not shaving or at least not looking groomed. Wearing shorts – even if it’s part of your “brand.” Unless you’re Angus Young (AC/DC reference). All unacceptable. I know, I know. All of this seems like common sense. It is. But sometimes the content just writes itself. What’s the impact on the event? What’s the impression you leave?
Registering late and asking for the Early Bird discount anyway. Drinking too many adult beverages. Acting disrespectfully. Complaining about everything. Being argumentative. Defensive. Self-righteous. Talking about yourself too much. Not asking questions about others. Not listening. Having an uninterested look on your face – always. Adding contacts to your blog without asking for permission. Not showing up even though you registered (also an attendance issue). Leaving early (again, Attendance) from an event with scheduled activities that are driven by attendance. (Think leaving early from your 3-on-3 basketball pick-up game). Selling your services to everyone you meet. Not being collaborative. Not being a connector. And so on. What’s the impact on the event? What’s the impression you leave? Think about these areas as they relate to how you show up to meetings, events, clubs, mixers, meet-ups, conferences, conventions, and holiday parties. Your relationships. Your work. Your life. What type of impact and impression do you want to leave?
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