Face-to-Face Networking Mistake

The Worst Face-To-Face Networking Mistake


I was at a pretty large networking event recently where I witnessed the most painful attempt at face-to-face networking I’ve ever seen.

It made me realize something about face-to-face networking advice I fear lots of people misinterpret.

It’s not an exact science. There’s no step-by-step process. Face-to-face networking is dynamic.

Watch the short video where I explained what happened and who I think does the best job of giving advice on face-to-face networking. (Hat tip to Chris Brogan.)

I think the best tip I ever got was to remember networking is a means to an end.

Don’t psych yourself out when you network because you feel it’s going to make or break you getting a job. It’s like your resume, it needs to be in good shape, but it is never the only factor in getting you the job.

Instead, focus on making a connection. Listen to people, engage them in conversation, use the advantages of face-to-face neworking (ie. body language, facial expressions, eye contact, etc.). If you leave making one new friend, you succeeded in face-to-face networking in my book!

The Networking Mistake I Saw

Your Turn

Share with me the worst face-to-face networking mistakes you’ve seen.

What are your tips for job seekers to help ensure their face-to-face networking is working?

Photo Credit: Shutterstock

J.T. O'Donnell

Job Search & Career Expert. Syndicated Speaker & Author. Wife. Mother. CEO of CAREEREALISM Media. Connect with her on Twitter or LinkedIn.


  1. One of the most disheartening and soul-crushing things has been volunteering sincerely and with reward at this nonprofit in town, but not getting a job with them as I have tried especially after having applied to. I was brought in for an interview for one job in May and didn’t get despite a quick thank you note and later not being considered for one even with no interview. What to do?

    They say volunteering reaps rewards and leads to a job when done sincerely.

  2. The central flaw in this story is the subjective observation that an individual is acting “robotic”. Social awkwardness is indeed a “human” quality. You’ve effectively insulted this “real or imagined” individual with that comment. I wish that networking wizards and other various forms of charlatans begin to integrate an understanding of the very obvious differences in people’s personalities, into their pseudo-philosophy. It’s a very simple reality to consider, not every qualified and talented person – is also an actor. Not every actor – is also a qualified and talented person. If you’re a company who hires actors, well… Some people offer real skills, as opposed to back-handed critiques regarding the social skills of others.

    Some of the most talented and effective people I have worked with in the past fifteen years are socially awkward to a degree. Possibly because I work in the scientific/engineering industry, but I’ve seen it everywhere. It would be a grave mistake to write anyone off because of your subjective initial impression. This video did remind me why Linkedin and all other career related “advice” sites are a waste of time. Buried in the depths of the internet, in a obscure comment section lies this truth. If you are qualified, experienced and talented – you don’t have to change anything, be yourself. With some time – the right company will pick you up.

  3. I try not to judge anyone, not sure of where they are coming from in life or in business. That man may very well be someone who is very connected in ways one could not imagine.

  4. Mistakes can be the foundation of success. I had an experience at a social event at which I made several mistakes in under a minute and learned more in that minute than I did in six months. It was also rather funny doing just about everything wrong and watching their reactions.

    I applaud the person for doing it. In order to break out of our shells, we need to do things we are uncomfortable with . . . and drill them. I’ve been there. It is a process, and overcoming your own anxiety is a huge part of that process.

    Step 1: Figure out what you are going to do and say. (the routine)
    Step 2: Do it in real life. (the event)
    Step 3: Get feedback. (comments like on this page)
    Repeat, improving every time.

    If he had the courage to walk up to every group in the room, then he has tried this before, but he didn’t do nearly as well his first time. He had to build himself up to the point of talking to everyone in the room, which is actually a great achievement. I hope he is out somewhere doing it all again. He will get a lot better after doing this more than 100 times, then he will be able to improve with more advanced mistakes.

    I also think he has a good coach, whoever that may be, setting goals and working on specific, major things in a single outing (without teaching too much at once). He worked on overcoming fear and practiced his sales pitch at the same event, and maybe body language or tone of voice, too. That’s plenty for one outing.

    People’s reactions were perfectly normal, and J.T.’s feedback is essential (step 3). However, as awkward as it may have seemed in the moment, this was an achievement and a victory for him. Just because someone makes mistakes doesn’t mean there is any fault.

    Coming from someone who had to do the same type of thing before, I say to him, “Well done!”

  5. Not a professional presentation because the content offered no solutions, just criticism of a guy that did not have networking skills. The rant and length of the video to get a point across reminded me of high school girls talking about their old boyfriends. I do not plan to waste my valuable time following these articles.

    • Did you not watch the video? She mentioned CONVERSING with the person and establishing a CONNECTION, so that you both have things to RELATE to. People will trust you more when they know more about you and know that they may have some things in common.

  6. Yeah sounds like me attempting the networking thing. Not like I will ever get any better. Very simply its not something that appears to be workable. Why? Will for one I am mildly autistic. This sort of stuff with people is where I have a disability. I don’t make eye contact unless its forced. I can remember names and who people are. I have a tendency to get on a topic and talk non-stop. Asking people questions about themselves and their interests is difficult and comes off as a police integration. It seems that the only thing I can accomplish in the networking is being the guy that sets the example of what not to do when networking.

    Its not that I can not see what the humans are doing. I am quite intelligent and have completed three college degrees. It’s that I simply can not do the complex thinking, behavior, and remembering that I see the individuals doing. It is interesting watching. There are really allot of behaviors and interactions going on that the humans are not even aware that that they are doing. When you ask them what they are doing you get replies, like,” I just act natural.”. Not a very good explanation to someone who does not have the “natural” behavior patterns down.

    I could go on for quite awhile with observations in this area but to make a long story short I simply have not had any success in the social aspects in the employment search. I did not make any social connections from my college experience. Not that I did not try. Counseling, self help and all sorts of stuff was worked on. After college I was not able to make connections or get through interviewing gantlet to connect with employment. I wound up doing a mobile mechanic business out of a truck. I could find work here by simply handing out flyers and having other people do the networking to me simply for the work I could do. Only problem now it that I have developed back and knee problems such that I can no longer do this work.

    So now I am back to the situations where I am suppose to be doing what is natural and is not natural to to find employment. Been 10 years looking and not looking good at this point. What’s a person like me suppose to do when what I am told I need to do is just impossible.

    • Stan: Networking is very difficult for many of us. Even some of the really good networkers I know would rather be at home. Networking is work!

      First, I recommend the book “Social Thinking at Work.” Very good stuff in there.

      Next, when you go to a networking or social event, volunteer to do a job. Hand out name tags or something else. Volunteers are always appreciated. It also gives you a definable role.

      Look for ways to help people. For example, you meet someone who says “I need a web site for my company.” You just met someone who says “I do web sites for a living.” Introduce them. I have the most fun at networking events when I do this (some call it “netweaving”). With your memory, you could be THE prime connector.

      Think of networking like dating…when we meet a girl at the club, we just want their phone number. Then meet them for coffee. The dinner and a movie. If we asking if they wanted to get married the first time we talked to them, they would be put off.

      Set a goal. For example “When one person agrees to meet for coffee, I will go home.”

      Find a support group. People who understand your difficulty and stand with you. And some Typicals who will coach you.

      Be known as a problem solver. Those of us that lack the “salesman gene” need to use the tools we have been given.

      Join Toastmasters. You will learn a lot about interaction. In a safe environment.

      Finally, Nick Corcodilos\Ask The Headhunter blog has good information on job searching.

      Best of luck in your hunt.

  7. The most astounding part of this story (if it’s completely true) is the complete lack of human compassion.

    Do you really mean to say that you saw this poor socially inept person doing his best, and you didn’t reach out to help him? If I’d been watching what you call the painful process of that man going around the room, I’d have been up and off my chair and would have gone across the room to bring him back to the group and help him. You’re obviously comfortable — or have learned to be — comfortable in this setting, but not everyone has the same skill set. I’m sorry, but I found the pseudo-empathetic tone of this video to be very off putting,and you certainly didn’t offer him any effective advice other than to refer him to Josh Brogan, so is there any purpose for this overly long self-aggrandizement? Oh, you felt sorry for him, did you? Too bad you didn’t take this opportunity to reach out and give genuine, hands-on assistance.

    • Exactly! The whole purpose of networking groups is to create a forum to help others. Here is an example of a whole room full of people that failed to do just that. To go on and describe someone’s inept attempt at networking as a huge mistake rather than describe how they had intervened and helped is wrong to say the least. Shame on you and every other so-called networker in that room for not helping him

    • I agree with you %100. Review the video and watch the body language, who would hire that person for help that doesn’t know body language speaks louder than the speaker at times. The body language implies, I am speaking to the little people who do not have a clue.

    • I agree totally.

      Inwardly, I feel exactly as awkward as this guy must have felt. But I’ve made it my mission at networking events to seek out people that look like they feel uncomfortable — and then to help them feel more comfortable. It helps me feel better, it helps them feel better. Why just watch this person flounder?

  8. People always say that as human beings people inherently want to help others. I don’t agree. If that were the case people wouldn’t feel like a person has to buy them something or “do” something for them before he/she is willing to commit an act of kindness.

    Good grief, this poor man was doing his best trying to find a job for God’s sake. Yet, he is treated with silence and even derision by people at a so called “networking” event. Duh! People are there with the intent to make a connection to find a job to feed their family etc. Why do people get a sense of superiority by the fact that someone else is in need? It’s a disgusting human trait. When will people really start to treat one another with compassion and empathy without the thought “What am I going to get out of helping you”. How about the feeling that you are a decent, compassionate human being who can recognize that someone is in need and you help him/her without knowing that you are going to “get something from him/her” as a result of doing so.

    • James, I whole-heartedly agree with you!

      As a professional in the Health and Human Services field, I feel very strongly about supporting, encouraging and advocating on behalf of others (even “competitors” and “rivals”, if I had any).

      A negative, judgmental approach is so poisonous and counter-productive, and intentionally making someone feel small (and showcasing his/her “weaknesses”) can only come from a place of fear and insecurity.

      Doing this will inevitably backfire on the person who is perpetuating this sort of behavior, therefore it is much more advantageous — and even mutually beneficial — to associate with and assume the very best about someone new who is seeking information and guidance. There is also lots of “good karma” in lending an unconditional helping hand and offering professional guidance to those who see you as more experienced and knowledgeable than they are in a given area — doing so will always breed mutual satisfaction and success.

      Thank you, again, for your initial post!

  9. My challenge to you: show us how to be concise by re-doing this video on one minute or less. Being concise is crucial for networking and I know I need to learn better, by seeing examples. I could have made this video, which means it was rambling and overlong.


      • She’s marketing herself using someones weakness – way too long. She’s also ‘up talking’, which most people find highly annoying.
        My heart goes out to that poor guy. I wish part of the story was that someone reached out, tried to help him feel comfortable, and given him a few friendly tips.

  10. I think the worst thing that anyone can do while networking is to assume who the “most important” or most senior people are, and assume those are the only ones worth talking to. As a consultant, face-to-face networking is a large portion of my job. I interact with all types of individuals (introverted, extraverted, amiable, drivers, expressives, etc) across all levels, and the most important thing I’ve learned is that I can gain something from each of those conversations, and contribute something to that person as well.

    It always irks me when someone drops their conversation abruptly when someone “important’ enters the room, and then forms a line to talk to them. In most cases, that key person is not going to remember every interaction from a cold open introduction. More often than not, those top people look to their existing network to get the “inside scoop” on the people that approach them. It is so important to treat each person as if they are the most important person in the room when interacting with them. It is a network! You never know who they might know!

  11. Poor guy just sounds desperate. For all you know he could have been out of work for a year and probably has a mortgage to pay and family to feed.
    Give the guy a break and hope he doesn’t stumble across this article! Talk about kicking a person while they’re down…..

  12. I read a book called “How You Can Talk To Anyone” by Dr Keith Souter. It has invaluable tips on making those important first connections and engaging with people. I would recommend it to everybody. It provides very good insights into human psychology and communicating for both “shyer” people and those people who are loud and outspoken. It will help you both in the workplace, and at those work, friend or family parties (where you can also network)

  13. I’m so glad J.T. posted this topic and yes, the video.

    I’ve been where you all are! I am an introvert (few would know this but it’s true) and I learned to be a networking authority the very slow, hard, painful way.

    It doesn’t have to be this way!
    When I stepped out of my corporate career and into my own business I was strongly advised that I’d have to network to build this business. Quite right!

    But it’s a terrifying prospect – stepping into a room full of strangers without credibility or the backing of a big company behind you.

    I spent years reading about networking, trying this group, that event. LOTS of wasted time and energy.
    Eventually I developed some truly winning strategies and that helped me build a thriving biz and I now teach this strategies to my clients.

    It’s what compelled me to write my book on networking – it’s all about the targeted approach and how to develop the communication/rapport building skills Dwight mentioned earlier. BUT if I can do it, others can – if they want to. There is no magic bullet, but there are some smarter, targeted strategies.
    I’m on a mission to teach this to those who are eager to advance and succeed, and especially to aid students graduation college as they network in their job search.

    Not all networking is created equal.
    And neither are all networkers.
    Just getting out there won’t cut it – you will need to hone these skills.

    It truly is worth the discomfort and work.

    Networking is where the magic in business is.
    Just ask any successful person.

    • JT

      Your very right, but you also past up a very valuable mentoring and out reach opportunity to stop the cycle. You could have made this poor guys day, by intervening and spending a minute or two explaining your
      video tip observations to him, and clued him into where he was going wrong.


  14. It’s hard for most people to network because it has become a lost art. People rarely talk anymore; communication now is done through computers, cell phones, and texting. To get good at anything, you must do it. If you are shy or new at networking look for smaller events or hook up with a friend and go!
    Look for someone like yourself who is shy, their easy to spot their just like you and walk up “say hello my name is”….. That’s all it takes and you just started a conversation.

  15. The absolute worst networking case I witnessed was a husband and wife team attending a job fair. The recruiter was trying to talk with the husband (candidate) who recently lost his job. Before the husband could answer, the wife would answer for him. This went on for about 15 minutes and I never saw the poor guy get in any talk time. The wife was obviously very eager to have her husband employed and was boasting that she was a professional also. However, her efforts to sell her husband were a big turn off to the recruiter. He kept looking over at me with the look of disgust and wondering when those individuals would leave so he could actually talk with some viable candidates. He and i joked about it later which confirmed what I had witnessed was indeed the way he was thinking.

  16. Mr. Marcelo Salup hit the nail on the head for me when he described what was most disturbing about this kind of scenario. We are all at different levels and capabilities in the socializing/networking department. It is a skill, but it comes easier to some than to others, and for some it just doesn’t arrive. Those for whom it is tough are harder suss out – but that does not mean there aren’t synergystic possibilities in the professional realm with this individual now or in the future, or that they won’t be a good person just to know – they have professional interests you share. It seems everybody in that room failed to connect with this guy, despite his herculean effort to connect with them!

  17. I just came from a networking event and I must say the WORST thing I experienced was a man who literally didn’t look at me the whole time he talked. He started the conversation and I tried to engage eye contact with him but the whole time he is scanning the room to see who else he wanted to talk to. SO RUDE. I got so angry I started to do the same thing to him and he got the message. What a JERK! Not only do I never want to speak to this guy again ,but will avoid him like the plaque if I ever do see him at another event. KEEP eye contact. Networking 101.

  18. I know this is a bit off topic, but I can’t get past the stock photo at the top of this article. The action is all about the men connecting, with the women looking on peripherally. I know, I know, I’m way too sensitive, but come on! In any case, I’m with the comment about this guy being an introvert and way outside his comfort zone. I hope you did your best to put him at his ease and help him any way you could.

    • Lose the stock photography. What does it achieve in this instance? Nothing! In fact, as observed above, it’s detrimental from the point of what the picture says, but the fact that you’re using a cheesy stock shot isn’t hot at all and just says ‘cheap’ I’m afraid.

  19. Carol, while I personally don’t have any problems networking in about 99% of the situations I find myself in, let me tell you what I hear from your example: This poor guy shows up, clearly like a fish out of water, uncomfortable, morale probably down… but at least he is trying. So he shows up, no one knows him, he doesn’t know anyone… but no one makes an effort to say “hi guy, I’m joe blow, what’s your name”. No one.

    What I also hear from your description is that you are in your group, clearly comfortable, you all know each other, no one reaches out to this poor guy and when he finally musters the courage, no one even has the presence of mind to even ask a typical ice-breaker question: so, what’s your hobby? and then try to put him a bit at ease from there.

    I have stopped going to some events –most notably BNI, which I joined for about a year– because some events are clearly only meant for people in one or two professions (e.g., real estate sales people and finance) and they make no effort to network. So, you stay a bit, try to connect in a friendly way but, if it doesn’t happen… just leave, no harm no foul

    So, while I agree with you that it is a pain in the neck to have to endure some newbies, or some unpolished people, what I get from your posting –loud and clear– is an almost total lack of empathy.

  20. One of the lingering frustrations of networking experienced is when after having created a connection with some people they just stop responding to me for no reason even when they are a ‘seasoned professional’. It is demoralizing and discouraging after you establish a bond on like-minded things with other person, but this other person is not as responsive and when you go out of your way and there is no reciprocity. This has been experienced with a professional I conducted an informational interview with for 2-3 years afterwards there was mutual exchange and suddenly with drop of a hat and no reason there is no longer a response.

    Another major frustrating dilemma is when you go to networking events and have the best intentions to build relationships and try to help the other person, but they don’t give their contact info and make an excuse that they don’t work anymore or question why to stay in touch or something like how they don’t give out their personal information..ARGH!. This seems very distasteful coming from them and it is questioned why they dare say something like especially at the beginning. I mean isn’t what these events are all about? Also, as bad is when when person gives you their contact info and seems like one to build something with but VERY FRUSTRATINGLY AND UNFAIRLY this other person never replies back despite emails given to him or her with trying to help and with a sincere interest in building a relationship. SERIOUSLY, it feels like the worst injustice ever and questions the value of networking when there are many innocent, best-intentioned professionals who follow all networking rules and go out of their way and nothing happens.

    Also, I have to say how people have gotten an interview with places bc of an internal contact but not the job? Seriously, it would be good if there is a formula that is hard and fast to apply to control the other party or use to ensure one has a mutually-beneficial relationship with best intent in mind and to prevent any obstacles.

    Just wanted to share and open to receiving any feedback. Thank you all very much!


    • Mark, after reading your comments, I kept thinking that I wouldn’t give you my contact info because you are too demanding. Just because you’ve talked at a networking event (anywhere can be a networking event, really), doesn’t make someone obligated to take care of you. Lighten up…if they stopped responding to you, there IS a reason: your own behavior. Your frustration and anger is clearly showing through your post, and nobody wants to hire a frustrated angry person. Let it go and move on with a happier attitude (or at least pretend). Good luck.

      • Hi Carol,

        Thank you very much for your honest feedback. I am so sorry if I ended up coming off a certain way and had no intention to. I just wanted to share personal experiences and felt this would be a good platform to share after having put in genuine effort and seek feedback. I feel it has gotten to me in the midst of obstacles where networking hasn’t paid off right away and especially after usually reading articles emphasizing how networking leads to results with steps advised taken but not having come yet.

        Once again, thank you very much and I will try to be positive despite obstacles and setbacks which is important. i am happy to know of routes to take whenever encountering unplanned dilemmas despite the steps advised in articles I follow.

        Hope you are all and Happy Thanksgiving!



        • Hi. Perhaps the person you mention in your post is busy, had a change in relationship, issues with family, job change, could be anything really. People have many reasons for why relationships succeed, dwindle or just end. Said differently, people, circumstances, priorities just change over time. Networking does not come to everyone naturally, and can be hard despite all the good information out there. It is not easy, but keep going. However, as mentioned change you your style a bit , try it out and see what comes of it.

          Mark/Samar the same person? Just curios.

      • Also, one fortunate thing is there have been some people who still keep in touch and where the bond has been growing. I guess it has gotten to me about certain people who I would never expect to drop off after noticing good rapport between us at a place and me showing interest in what they do and to help. Oh well.

        Hope you are well and I appreciate your feedback truly :)


        • Thank you very much! I appreciate your comments as well. Any specific tips you would like to share as well. Please know I am open to trying anything and what are somethings that have generally worked for you?

          I always hear that one should never give to receive which I am a proponent of and also to always makesure a relationship is reciprocal or mutual. Was wondering how this could be clarified and where the line can be drawn?


        • Mark,

          If you developed with a relationship with this person over the course of time and suddenly without notice and any warning signs they just disappeared my guess is it had nothing to do with you, but something in their personal life. If you already emailed expressing your concerns, you could try to call or send them a letter. Here’s the thing I would not keep pestering though I would simply state your concerns for them and that you are there if they need you and then leave it in the hands of God.

          For the rest of it I understand where you’re coming from. It’s frustrating when you put your whole self out there and put your all into something and get unfilled promises back, but this is what humans do. For whatever reason this is what humans do.

          Someone may say I’ll connect with you just because they are being friendly and they are not comfortable saying, “No”, others may really mean to connect with you but life happens, things get in their way, they get busy, they get interested in other pursuits, they’re rude, etc. NO BIG DEAL because it’s not your problem!!! It’s their problem. Now if something is sincerely wrong or a hinderance and you can see that you can help, then by all mean reach out and help, but most of the time you’ll be better off letting these things go, and not taking them personally.

      • Hi Carol! Hope all well. One thing I do have to add is whenever I have been at networking events the tone of mine has always been light, nice and with willingness to build a relationship and interest in getting to know the other one. I was just mentioning such in a way in the 1st post to share with others on this platform of personal experience and would never carry any negative or frustrated tone to an event obviously. The unfortunate thing is that after speaking kindly with a soft tone and genuine interest to build something with another person is that person doesn’t follow up like he or she claimed after I made the effort to send an email reaching out. How would you feel if you sincerely went out of your way for another person and tried to help with an interest in creating a relationship, but the other person illogically or unclearly doesn’t respond and for no reason. I would never want you, me or anyone else not to be given a chance from the good we have in us and for there to be fair treatment. I guess the whole saying of “Do unto others as others do unto you.” has stuck in the mind or with the idea of what comes around, goes around. What are some tips you have found that helped you and is there any key formula you have where you are able to discern at the beginning who is very likely to stay in touch and follow up after he/she seems sincere and friendly at 1st? Thanks for the time and will try to keep moving despite ups/downs.

    • Networking is difficult. How hard do you push? When do you back off? It’s tough. I find that trying to find a common ground with similar interests seems to work well. I also try and watch body language. If the person you’re talking to is looking around all over the room, that’s a signal. The person isn’t engaged. If you sense that, make a polite excuse, and move on. If you catch that person looking or waving at you later on, then try re-engaging. Again, it’s tough.

      I think it’s also very important not to ask for contact info too soon. Wait a bit. See how it’s going. Keep your antenna up.It’s obvious why people attend these things, but I try not to make it so blatant that the other person thinks you’re just collecting names/e mails etc. So, maybe just try and relax, and let it happen.

    • I think the best approach to take in face to face networking is that if I can get familiar about the achievements of the person I am interested in before starting any talk. Any people will get pleased if conversation starts about themselves instead of introduction to myself. My knowledge and interest about him at the beginning will provoke him to ask me about me. In very short few sentences, conversation with him should be such a way that he should be able to realize how I might be helpful to him in near future. Also there should be few seconds of silence between each sentence while talking, so that he can speak up anytime, not waiting for my long restless conversation to end. Let my interest on him, inspire him to ask about my business card. If he still don’t ask, don’t give your contact info. Obviously, it is hard to manage time to become knowledgable about people before approaching so many people but we don’t need to talk with many people. Even if one or two conversation works out fine in this manner, that is enough for the day I think.

  21. This is for Nony. I am the exact opposite of you. I DON’T learn well by reading and find the videos much more helpful as they actually show you how things are suppose to happen.

  22. Ms. O’Donnel you are on point! I’ve found that there seems to be an unspoken competition to acquire the most business cards. For me, it’s about making a connection(s). I like to share in conversation; sometimes that means spending a little more time with several individuals rather than a few seconds with many. I think networking can present a bit of angst because of intrinsic and external (managers/supervisors) pressure. Thank you for the advice. I look forward to learning more from you and the other commentators.

  23. I would have loved to know the mistake, but I do not always have time (or patience) to watch a video. It seems everyone and their brother makes videos to explain things. I prefer reading. The art of writing is getting lost in this video world. Please consider writing an actual article instead of making a video next time. I am very interested in reading (also, it’s faster and I retain a lot more!).

  24. I’ve been to a networking event recently, it was a 3 day program….an important observation was that people thrust their visiting card just after a hand-shake….I found it a bit odd to be done within 20 seconds of saying hello. Isn’t it that we should give it after creating enough interest and establishing a repo?

  25. JT- GREAT post. I love your story telling skills. I was right there with you. Yikes! How awkward! However, as a career coach for college juniors and seniors I see this that this could have been a professional triumph for this person. Here’s why…and this is a ‘What If’ scenario.

    What if this job seeker WAS an introvert. What if this job seeker made it a personal challenge or goal set to 1) attend a networking event 2) meet new people and 3) hand out 10 business cards? Perhaps for this job seeker it was about getting out of his/her comfort zone. Exploring and trying new approaches?

    Now- although it may not have been effective, the exercise for the job seeker could have increased their confidence and taught them what not to do. So for the next one he/she can modify… Lesson learned.

    With our students we know they have outstanding resumes, but building the soft skills is a challenge. We task them with activities like attending events and getting out of their comfort zones, even if it hurts. :(

    This poor guy was so anxious or desperate he couldn’t find the balance. Face to face networking is definitely not a science. But each experience will lead to the next one. Maybe he will watch your video!

    • Julia, do you even understand introversion or can you define it without a dictionary accurately? I happen to be an introvert, and not only do most people who have known me for many years have no clue about my introversion, but I happen to excel at social interactions in virtually any setting, and I have been told I can make quite an impression on the fly. It’s always frustrating when ignorance regarding a subject is bypassed for stereotypes and generalizations.

  26. I really don’t think there is a right and wrong way to network. Maybe the guy only had an hour and didn’t have time for small talk. Or maybe he just wanted to get his name out there. Maybe from his view point the people who stood around gabbing were inefficient. Maybe he’s not looking for connections that want to chat, but connections that get right to business. And most likely, there are others with that same mentality and they’re more likely to call him back than the guy who chatted with him for the better part of an hour, or even the guy who chatted for 15 mins.

    I think we get in a mode where we pick the best way for us, and then we sit back and think we know everything and can critique others who do things differently, when in all reality other people have different strengths and need different approaches. By prescribing the “right” way of doing things, and judging the “wrong” way of doing things we set ourselves up to be dismissed as ignorant, intolerant, and one dimensional.

  27. thanks for sharing JT.

    I remember being at a large networking event watching a businessman walk around the room, barging into conversations handing his business card to everyone who would accept one.

    The group I was talking with watched him do this for about 15 minutes before he made his way to our group. In a robotic and fully scripted manner he handed out his business card to three of the four people in the group. He apologized to the fourth saying he was out of cards. He walked away from us and directly out the door.

    Witnessing this and people like the person you spoke about is the reason I wrote “Networking for Mutual Benefit” available on Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/Networking-for-Mutual-Benefit-ebook/dp/B00B4D1DLW

    Thanks for sharing JT.

  28. I think this person was probably an introvert. Extroverts are used to people, and unfortunately networking is geared towards extroverts. All the tips are always geared towards extroverts. Introverts hate making small talk- whereas extroverts can talk about anything for hours just because they are being energized. I’m hoping there will be more tips for introverts or heck, events geared towards them!

    • I agree that extroverts are typically better than introverts especially at networking events. However, networking goes beyond events, beyond handshakes. Networking is about building relations. And this is where introverts could be better. Yes, I concede that introverts may not want to network, but I believe that there are introverts who do want to network. They just need to be given the chance to speak. Some may require training and guidance on this. Good news! I do have some tips for them in my ebook: http://mervinyeo.com/purposeful-networking-for-introverts/

    • Another ignorant statement about introverts. I am an introvert and both excel and enjoy small talk, as long as it’s intelligent and productive conversation. If you met me you would have a hard time believing me if I told you I was an introvert, and if that was indeed the case, it would speak worlds about you and the sample sizes and facts that combine with your biased experiences to formulate your flawed thought process, and nothing about me.

      • Joshua – Your posts come across as abrasive, or maybe I would go so far as to say abusive. Perhaps people are using introverted and shy as synonyms. That usage is so common that it doesn’t surprise me when people don’t realize they are different things. Introversion doesn’t mean has anxiety in social situations, it just means more inwardly focussed and doesn’t need the social interection to energize. Shy is having anxiety in social situations. I think it would generally be nuch more difficult for a shy person to network effectively than an introvert, who, with you as an example, excels at small talk. You certainly don’t lack in a high opinion of yourself and disdain for others at least, from what you’ve written.

  29. The worst Networking mistake I have witnessed ? While attending a conference in Ottawa we where invited to a Formal gathering the enening prior to our departure.
    A colleague with whom I was assigned to share a room apparently took a fancy over the few days for another colleague.
    My room mate we will say proceeded to “Out do her self” in terms of Overall appearance & cocktails. Clearly this was not the same person I was introduced to just a few days prior.
    During the evening all control was lost. A smart, vivacious, spirited person became the talk of the evening.
    The next morning my room mate had no recollection of the events the night before.
    I can say the conference was very informative & I too learned alot from the crisis mode my roomate encountered.
    Never mix business with pleasure ! Reciepe for disaster on every level

    • Good story Lorraine. I’ve seen young and seasoned professionals make complete fools of themselves by competing for attention and alcohol at all kinds of events.

      I’m a big fan of having fun and connecting with people in a friendly and enjoyable way, but never at the expense of my reputation.

      Thanks for sharing.

  30. Would you please send me a link to Chris Brogan’s networking information to which you are referring. As I’m sure you know, there are many Google links to his name and I couldn’t find the right one. Thanks.

  31. Just wondering what you did afterward, i.e., if you contacted this person and directed him to Chris Brogan’s tips. As you, yourself, said, he obviously was uncomfortable doing it but doing it anyway.

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