Desperation is not referrable. When people demonstrate these kinds of behaviors, it’s a telltale sign of desperation. Watch out for these four types of desperate networkers.
- Card Dealer. This person darts around the room passing out cards, instead of spending time getting to know people. They think networking is a numbers game.
- Space Violator. This person thinks that the closer he gets to you, the more you’ll be interested in what he’s saying. It has the opposite effect. In North America, stand at roughly arm’s length when talking to people.
- Premature Solicitation.This person dives right into selling without trying to get to know you. These people are the reason many people don’t like to go to networking events.
- The New Best Friend. These people engage in follow-up that verges on stalking: they call, they email, they send you private messages, all with the intent to sell you something.
Have you identified other desperate networkers? Share them in the comments.
Brought to you by the Networking for Success Channel on YouTube.
Complete transcript of episode 525 –
Hello everybody and welcome back to the Official BNI Podcast, brought to you by the Networking for Success Channel on YouTube, which features Dr. Ivan Miser and many other networking experts. I am Priscilla Rice, and I am coming to you from Live Oak Recording Studio in Berkeley, California. I am joined on the phone today by the Founder and the Chief Visionary Officer of BNI, Dr. Ivan Misner. Hello, Ivan, how are you?
I am doing fantastic, Priscilla, and today we are going to talk about desperate networkers. Four desperate networkers. Sounds kind of fun, don’t you think?
It does. It is almost like a cowboy episode or something.
So, desperation is not referrable. It’s hard to refer people who come across as desperate. Over the years, I have seen people that behaved a certain way so I just kind of created categories for them. I have been writing about it, and I thought that it would make a great podcast.
When people demonstrate these kinds of behaviors as part of their networking efforts it is kind of a telltale sign of desperation or possible desperation. So here are four types of behaviors that I think desperate networkers exhibit.
One, card dealer. This is probably the most common form of desperation that I have seen over the years. The card dealer is a person who darts around the room and passes out cards like they are at a poker table. They don’t spend any time really getting to know anyone unless they think they can get something from them.
To the card dealer, networking is mostly a numbers game; the more people they can pass their cards to, the better they are going to do. Or at least they think the better that they are going to do. Card dealers tend to have a network that is a mile wide and an inch deep because they don’t spend time building relationships. It never works. It never, ever works in the long run and they just look inexperienced, frazzled, and yes, in fact, desperate.
That’s the first one. Do you like the first one? Card dealer?
I do. I like the first one.
Have you seen them before?
I see them all the time, it’s really funny.
Second, the space violator. So the space violator is the guy who thinks the closer he gets while he is talking to you, the more Interested you will be in what he is saying. Yeah, no. Not true. In fact, it has the opposite effect, especially if his breath has the aroma of a smelly camel, right? And how many times? This happens so much where people just get so close to talk to me,
Now, BNI Podcast is played all around the world and there are different distances I have noticed around the world. In some countries, getting up close and personal is a little more common. So what is the right distance to stand to someone without getting in their personal space? The answer to the question really varies based on the cultural standards of the country that you are in.
In North America, it is fairly common to have conversations at roughly arm’s length with people that you meet. Roughly arm’s length at a networking event. So from my experience, the difference is definitely less than some countries around the world.
What’s also interesting is the issue of gender and personal space, proxemics about personal space. According to the Journal of Psychology, male-male pairs tend to interact at greater distances than female-female pairs. Even if they don’t know each other, they will interact closer than two men. So it is interesting. Again, it is a little bit- but you are talking about fractions of an inch or an inch, not massive distances.
In North America, pretty much an arm’s length. Wouldn’t you say that’s been your experience roughly?
Yeah, or even a little bit more maybe.
Yeah. It may be, you know, it’s really funny- that space violator gets relight in your space and there is nothing worse than having a drink or having food in your hand, and they have a little bit of spray as they talk. Oh my gosh. Sometimes you will see me- if you ever see me at an event, Priscilla, and people start closing in, you will see me holding a glass of water or a glass of wine with my hand over the top. And I do that for good reason now. Okay, number two, space violator.
Number three, the person guilty of premature solicitation. Don’t say that five times fast. The premature solicitor is the person who confuses networking with direct selling. They meet you and immediately go into sales mode. They want you to do business with them without asking any questions about you., without asking questions about your business, your interests, you needs-nothing! To this person, everyone is a target and every target is a dollar sign.
These people are really the reason why many individuals don’t like to go to networking events. They go to a meeting and they feel like they were just slimed by people soliciting them for business. And they leave the meeting and run home, you know, to get a shower because they don’t want to network with those kind of people.
Number four- and I don’t know if you have run into- you have run into the premature solicitor a lot, I’m guessing, Priscilla? Yeah?
Oh yeah. Definitely.
Okay. Number four is not as common but the more successful you are he more common it becomes, trust me on this. The new best friend. Look, you know I believe in follow up, but this is kind of follow up that borderlines on stalking. You know, following up with people that you meet at a networking event is really important, but be professional. Don’t be a stalker.
The new best friend is sort of the over-eager seller who after you met at a networking event, calls you, emails you, social media messages you, tries to become your new best friend in just the space of a few days. Generally, they are not actually trying to help you in any way. They just want to sell you something or they want something from you.
Granted, they may want to sell you something because in their mind it is only to help you, but it’s not really about you. It’s really about what they want. Desperation tends to seep from their pores.
I have experienced this many times over my career, and the one that stands out the most was just about a year ago, Priscilla. 32 years of running of BNI. He stands out the most. About a year ago, I met this young man, late 20’s, at a networking event, and he went right into new best friend mode. He called me several times over the week, emailed me everyday. And I responded to him; it wasn’t like I was ignoring. I responded. He messaged me on Facebook, etc. But Priscilla, I am not making this up. He even wrote to me and said he thought of himself as my son.
Yes, seriously. He said he thought of himself as my son and he needed my help in his business venture. At that point, I had to pull the plug. I tried to pull it gently by talking about the importance of establishing credibility before pitching something and assuming that kind of relationship. Curiously, my new “son” completely abandoned me after the redirection.
So desperation is not referrable. My advice is remember these behaviors when you go to events, and whatever you do, don’t demonstrate these behaviors yourself. Remember that networking is more about farming than it is about hunting.
Anything you would add to this, Priscilla?
Yeah. Just don’t eat garlic. Okay? I think that would be something to remember.
Yeah. Don’t eat garlic. That’s true, really spicy food or garlic when you get up close and personal is kind of embarrassing, and you know, if you are having a conversation with someone – I tend to turn my face slightly when I have that garlic breath or the – oh my goodness- smelly camel breath come at me. It is always good to have some breath mints.
Just a few weeks ago, we had a podcast on my book, Healing Begins in the Kitchen. You have to be careful with some of the breath mints if you are an aficionado of that book because they are high in sugar or they are high in other kinds of sweeteners, which aren’t good for you either. So see if you can find breath mints that are made from natural flavors if at all possible, or if you like something sweet, maybe something made from agave or sugar. But a mint so that it kills that garlic breath or that smelly camel breath if you have it. I’m sure you have never had that, Priscilla, but I have had smelly camel breath- not often, but I have had it, so I usually have some mints with me.
So here are the four desperate networkers: card dealer, space violator, a person guilty of premature solicitation, and the new best friend. I would love, absolutely love for you if you are listening to this podcast to share with me if you have a fifth or a sixth desperate networker. Give me some more, I would love to read them. If you put them up there, I always read them p, but I will also comment on them. So put something else up if you have got it. That’s all I have for today, Priscilla.
Okay, Ivan, that was great. Well, that is it for this week. I would just like to remind the listeners that this podcast has been brought to you by the Networking for Success Channel on YouTube. Thank you for listening. This is Priscilla Rice and we look forward to having you join us again next week for another exciting episode of the Official BNI Podcast.