Imagine yourself sitting in an important meeting with your biggest client when you get a text message. Would you stop listening to your client and completely ignore them so you could respond to the text?
What if you got a phone call . . . would you stop in the middle of your presentation as you were pitching your most important customer about your newest product in order to answer the call?
The answer to both questions is – of course you wouldn’t! That would be a blatantly rude move on your part, and it would put your most valued client relationship at risk.
So, why in the world would anybody even consider looking at their phone during a business networking meeting??
To be clear, a good reason for looking at it, picking it up, or using your phone in any way during any type of networking meeting does not exist!
One of the fastest ways to ruin your credibility and earn a reputation of being rude, unprofessional, and undeserving of referrals is to use your phone during a networking meeting. It virtually screams to your networking partners: I don’t care what you have to say because I have better things to do right now, and this meeting is unimportant to me.
If you want positive results from your business networking efforts, then that is the last thing you would ever feel about, or say to, anyone in your network. And yet, if you are using your phone during meetings with your referral network, I promise you–not only is that the exact message you are sending them, you’re also wasting their time and yours.
Click the short video for the story of what I actually heard during an online business networking meeting.
I couldn’t believe it!
Practice Active Listening
We all understand that there is a great deal of overlap between in-person and online networking. However, networking online only works when you are engaged during the entire meeting. You need to learn about your fellow members – their business, their best customers, and their target markets, so you will know how to recognize referrals that you can give to them. Effective networking and building strong business relationships both require active listening. To do that, you have to be fully engaged in every part of the meeting, giving all of your attention to whomever is speaking. Skip the multi-tasking, keep your focus.
Now, I do believe in taking notes. When someone mentions who a good referral would be for their products or service, and I immediately think of a person in my network, I’m going to write that down so I can follow up after the meeting.
Remember, great networkers go to networking events with the intention of building relationships. That means you need to be an active participant in the entire process to get any substantive results.
My recommendation is to check your phone one last time before your networking meeting . . . check that it is completely turned off and don’t turn it back on until you leave the meeting, whether it is in-person or virtual.
Remember, networking meetings and phones don’t mix!