This morning I experienced one of my business networking pet peeves – The Bum Rush.  If you don’t know what that means, Urban Dictionary will give you lots of variations.  My favorite definition – and the one most appropriate for this particular situation – is:

“To attack someone or something by wildly charging them full force with
no sort of tact or skill other than one’s own momentum and possibly the
backs and sides of their fists as they randomly flail them out of rage,
but certainly consisting of no precisely swung blows.”

I arrived at a networking mixer for women (that I attend every month), slapped on my special name tag, and found a seat at a table with a few other ladies.  No sooner did my tush hit the chair, than a woman from another table came up pushing her business card into my face while demanding one of mine in return.  (At this point I had horrible visions of the flood of spam about to come my way.)

Now, I’m all for making connections to grow your business, but this aggressive pursuit of contact information is just out of line (and, by the way, a complete turn-off to most reasonable people).  Alas, there is almost always one of these people at any networking event (and sometimes they like to travel in pairs), so one must learn to tolerate them.  But, I can guarantee that along with telemarketers and door-to-door salesmen, I will never do business with this type of person.  I don’t care if they’re selling golden eggs . . . no thank you.  You have just indicated that you don’t care anything about anyone and are just trying to make a sale.

So, this time, I’ve just been pushed over the edge and felt the need to share just a few of “Kristen’s Rules of Networking.”

  1. Do NOT try to target the entire room, they are not ALL your target market (even if you’ve been told “everybody has skin” or “everybody uses the phone” or any other version of “everybody needs what you’re selling”).
  2. DO remember that these are PEOPLE you are dealing with (not just your next sale).
  3. DO have actual conversations with those around you (and please talk about more than just your product or service – take a minute to find out who you’re talking to and then look for ways you can help them).
  4. DO hand your business card to those with whom you’ve actually made a real connection (and, of course, get theirs as well).
  5. DO NOT (under any circumstances) add anyone to your mailing list (both postal and e-mail) who has not asked to be included.  First, if sending via e-mail, it’s considered SPAM – and therefore illegal.  And, second, you will gain a reputation as a regular annoyance they have to deal with.

Okay, I’m climbing off my soapbox now.  I hope these tips will help you the next time you are out and about, moving and shaking, and growing your business.  (Or, at the very least, I hope a few of my entrepreneurial friends will give me a hearty “amen.”)