After deleting and rewriting this 4 times I realize it will be time to write a series on business networking sooner rather than later. But for this post, dear reader, I’m going to share the one thing that aggravates me most at networking events. I encounter it even at really great events, (great event = a good host or hosts that care about connecting people). That thing is encountering The Business Card Warrior. The warrior follows many paths, but the bizcard warriors that I’ve encountered appear to follow 2 paths in particular: ninjas and barbarians.
The ninja is stealthy. One moment you’re grabbing a glass of the free wine and then you turn and BAM, she’s on you. With poise and finesse she fires her elevator pitch at you and before you’ve finished making sense of the barrage, she’s gone. Stunned, you look around for evidence of the mythical warrior, and sometimes, if you’re very good, you can catch a glimpse of her as she repeats her performance in another corner of the room. As the memory of her face fades from your mind, you looks down at your hand and find her card and wonder how it even got there.
You see him. Across the room you see him, his recent prey stunned by his mighty blows. And then you see him see you.
Before you can seek cover in a conversation with a friend, he’s on you. Suddenly all you see is a blinding whiteness and a blur. As your eyes adjust, you’re able to focus and now you can read the business card that’s being held inches from your face. Luckily, you don’t really need to read it as the bizcard barbarian is already loudly reciting it for you, including the company tagline. Should you encounter him, your best chance of survival is to follow the ceremonial ritual of barabarian separation. For your safety I will list the steps here:
Getting the most out networking means having meaningful conversations with people. If you’re there with the mentality of “he who gives out the most cards wins” or “she who grabs the most cards wins”, please trust me, you’re missing the real opportunities there.
Next time you go to a networking event, make your focus to have one or two genuine conversations, where you get to know the person as opposed to identifying the prospect. Let me know how it works for you. If you already do this, I’d love it if you’d share with me your results. And of course, I’d love to hear any funny bizcard warrior stories, just leave out names, because everyone deserves a 2nd chance.