Networking is ubiquitous and they can be both entertaining and intimidating. If you attend networking events quite frequently you would definitely know what it is like to be in a swarm of people. Questions are volleyed across the room, conversations extend to exchange of cards (or failure thereof!) or LinkedIn requests sent. The air is thick with purpose and potential to seize opportunities and we meet a variety of people. As of now, I take the liberty of introducing you to a few prototypes you will most definitely meet!
The On-point networker
They are no-nonsense people and know why they are attending the event. They are question-and-answer-ready and quite adept in identifying if they should spend more time talking with you or not. So, when around them you genuinely feel significant. You surely learn a thing or two from their pleasant demeanour to make better your networking skills.
Say a big hello to the bragger! Their talent is to talk about themselves. It will take you a few seconds to understand that they were born with the right to brag. They absolutely love to brandish their flag of achievements regardless of whether you ask them or not. Extremely self-centred they like you to stop talking so that they can fill every pause and silence with their voice and words. Even when you try to hint them to allow you to speak, they will pretend they never saw/heard you and continue with their monologue which lacks juices (mostly).
Only an introvert knows the perks of being a wallflower. But, as much as they would like the Earth to open up and consume them they are still there, trying to make their presence felt and simultaneously also hoping to go unnoticed. They just don’t like spotlight to be on them. Also, don’t be amused if they don’t look interested in talking or making eye contact. Let these shy ones be. Don’t probe them anymore that they would not like.
This lot know their game and are seasoned. They are already well-placed in their network and attend events just to stay in touch with everyone and also connect their contacts with each other. In fact, they are the best of all the people you meet. They are good listeners, will give inputs and be on an introduction spree should you fit their network! They are what I would like to call – ‘clouds with a silver lining’!
This one lovely perching everywhere. Armed with business cards, they love going around in circles, mixing and mingling quite effortlessly and making connections wherever they go. Since they are so driven to forge new alliances (this is only step one!) they handpick people psychologically and so if you see them making way towards you then make sure you present yourself in the most concise manner possible. They don’t have time to waste and miles to go before they sleep!
As if making an eye contact wasn’t enough, eh! This lot of networkers are basically interested in scanning people. They will make small talks with you, but be more interested in what/who you are wearing (don’t be surprised if they ask you bluntly too) and so will run their eyes top to bottom. Conversations are barely of any concern to them because they believe in what they see and not what they hear coming out of people’s mouths! They can be disconcerting for when you try speak to them they will break eye contact to scan not just you, but others around them too. Sigh.
The only reason some people attend networking events and social-dos is to drink like a fish and as if there is going to be no tomorrow for alcohol. They’ll glide from one group to another with a strong stench and dizzy feet and often lose sense of where they are. They will prompt you to give them an exhibit of your drinking capacity for all you know! Besides, they would want people to speak to them close to the bar! No surprise, right?! They also have a distant cousin called the foodie who will have eyes set on food and dessert.
Quite notorious. That’s the word for them. Throughout the conversation they will try to see ‘what’s in it for the’ or ‘what can you do for them’ and ‘how you can help them surge ahead in their career’. They’ll also try pick your brain to test you for your skills and so if they don’t find you worthy of their time, they will walk out of the conversation, unannounced. Some of these are jobseekers too.
They are present to binge on gossips as well as give gossips. They would do everything, but network for a purpose. Who is working where, who is dating whom, are they really industry stalwarts they are know-it-alls. In short, they are the owners of grapevine mill.
What other stock figures have you managed to spot at professional social gatherings? Should be interesting to know how you dealt with them.