I recently spoke at two different events in Southern California and I found it interesting that at each event, questions about whether there is a right or a wrong networking style were brought up by audience members.
It is a given that people can be very different from one another; therefore, there are some very different styles of networking. However, there is one style of networking that results in the ground practically smoking wherever some networkers tread. This style can be referred to as “scorched earth networking.” It is important to avoid this type of networking in cultivating a successful business networking model.
Avoid the hallmarks of a scorched-earth networker, which are listed below:
- Moves from networking group to networking group—constantly dissatisfied with the quality of referrals received from each.
- Talks more than listens.
- Doesn’t “honor the event”—networks at inappropriate opportunities.
- Thinks that being “highly visible” is enough to make business flow his or her way—ignores the need to build credibility.
- Expects others to be consistently referring him or her—has a “get” and not “give” mentality. Views networking as a transaction, not a relationship.
Scorched-earth networking doesn’t work, because building your business through word-of-mouth is about cultivating relationships with people who get to know you and trust you. People do business with people they have confidence in.
As you network, look around at what you leave behind. Are you creating relationships by building your social capital (farming as opposed to hunting), or are you leaving a scorched earth and many bodies in your wake?
Better yet, have you experienced someone practicing scorched-earth networking? If so, share the story here.