Networking Vampires


Someone I met recently used an expression that I got a big kick out of yet it really resonated with me at the same time.  Talking about a networker she knew, she said to me, “The guy is a Networking Vampire!”

Watch this video to find out what exactly a “Networking Vampire” is and then come back and weigh in on how to spot them (they can often be very elusive–do you have a trick/strategy for discovering them?) and what to do about them once you identify them.

Also, if you have any interesting stories about experiences you’ve had with Networking Vampires, share them in the comment section . . . ve vant to hear dem!  Bwah-ahh-aahh-aaahhh-aaaahhhh!! 😉

16 thoughts on “Networking Vampires

  1. This video definitely made me laugh. Great topic.

    I’ve definitely run into a few of these vampires. What I do is try to disengage the conversation as politely as possible… usually with a comment like “Well, I set myself a goal of meeting 4 people tonight, so I’m off to do that. Nice to meet you.”

    Then in the future, if I see them elsewhere, I try to keep them at “arm’s-length” away. Usually though, they’re not too interested in talking to me again, because as you said… they’ve tried to suck the life out and, in this case, were un-SUCKsessful. 🙂

    1. Great topic and how true Jason. Top idea with the goal of visiting a number of people at that event. It has been my experience too that they don’t often come to me for another bite. : )

  2. I love the conversation! Thanks for the video.

    In the fashion of so many of great networkers, I play like the name of the game is to be of service. I focus on what I can offer.

    When I’m on the defensive, looking out for people who are taking more than they give, I’m wasting my energy keeping score and it ends up being a zero sum game.

    When I’m adding value, no matter the situation, the people who matter notice. The Vampires will eventually take care of themselves.

    Of course, having a set intention and a game plan of some sort helps tremendously, as Jason mentioned his goal of meeting 4 people.

    Then, it’s no longer a drama based conversation. It’s now a results focused decision.

  3. We had a gentleman who had a marketing consulting business who would sub for his clients, use the meeting to develop leads for his cell phone/service bundling biz, and then try to hard sell folks in their office. He tried this on one of our sales pros and got shut down immediately. Having strong leadership in your group is a blessing if/when you run into someone who is actively abusing people’s trust. He was told in no uncertain terms that he wasn’t welcome in our group from that point forward.

  4. Love the monicker! My wife and I often attend functions together and when one of us sees that the other is in a “tractor beam” with a vampire we have a signal. Once the signal is given, the other approaches and “rescues” by saying…”honey, I am sorry to interrupt but there is someone who asked to meet you and they are leaving soon”. Generally true and a great way to disengage without appearing rude.

  5. I’m reading the comments and wondering if anyone asks the vampire if they are aware they are vampiring and it is hurting them more than helping; besides not being appreciated or tolerated. I think the leadership in Jeff’s group did that. I think not allowing anyone to suck you dry is good, so I appreciate those ideas too.

  6. I think that most of the vampires I run into are just doing what they’ve been taught! No need to spot them, just ask around — the vampires are EVERYWHERE, so they are often well-known! Getting rid of them at an event? Pass them on to another vampire! Getting them out of your network? Let them know that you are doing your best to be a good referral partner for them, but you need their help. Educate them on how to refer you and ask: “So, since I’m helping you be successful, are you OK with helping me be successful, too?” They’ll either buck up or never bother you again!

  7. Hi Ivan. Great topic. I’m one of your fans from back in “THE NETWORK” days of the early 1990s…..People like this need to be put back in their places. What I try to do is , the moment I realize I’m being attacked by a networking vampire, I try to make it work for me…turning around the conversation. Depending on who talks first, I try to hear them out. Then before they can suck it all out of me and turn away, I give them something important to listen to. A quick min. or so. I ask them to help refer me around. I also tell them that I’ll do the same for them. Then I’ll give them some free networking advice….to STOP doing what they are doing…because they’ll gain more by holding back. Sometimes they take the advice, sometimes not. But by giving away some free networking advice, they will listen more attentitively to me. It sort of puts the vampire back in its cave, so to speak.

  8. Hi Ivan,

    I think there’s a slight oxymoron here. How can you suck the maximum out of a relationship, by being a vampire?

    They obviously only suck a bit out, as they can’t get to all of it – right?

    As far as I know, I’ve only ever met one person who I would class as a complete networking vampire, but this was only because I heard the attitude he expressed behind peoples backs. He was only in it for himself, he never thought about what he could do for other people. He thought that everybody was obliged to give him what he wanted, as though he were entitled. Worst of all he was entirely ungrateful towards other people in the way that they helped him.

    I found his attitudes so repulsive that in the end, I told him what I thought of his attitude and didn’t associate with him any more.

    Apart from that case, I don’t really come across vampires, but reading the above I would comment that I’m happy referring someone for nothing in return, so long as it helps out the referral.

  9. Many times when people are too focused on selling at a networking event they just don’t know any better. After being in a BNI group for several years it opened my eyes to “givers’ gain” and concentrating on what you give instead of what you get. I would be patient with those “networking vampires” and try to engage them personally by asking them questions rather than write them off. Take it as a challenge to turn them around!

    1. Sheri I like your gentle approach. It does take a while to be “transformed” by the Givers Gain Ethic for some. A lovely quote from Dr Misner is “The law of reciprocity is transformational not transactional”.
      I had to hear this a few times before all the bells rang. But what a difference it has made. Let’s not judge people – let’s simply understand that it comes to us all eventually and help where we can. Be kind.

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