You’ve likely been to at least one networking event in the past 6 months that included a meal, or at least tables where folks sit down for a program of some sort. Usually this occurs at your local chamber or service group like Rotary.
I go to these events often. As a professional speaker, I’m often invited to sit at a specific table, usually with the leadership of the organization. Before I sit down, I always scan the room, I introduce myself and I find out what others do. Inevitably there are lots of employees or staff present from the same companies in attendance. People that work for banks or financial advisers that work for the same firm. When it comes time to take our seats, I scan the room again, and that’s when I see it….
You’ve seen it too….
You know those tables with all the people that know each other. The tables where people present all work together at the same company or even the same branch?
Unless otherwise indicated, you should never sit with people you know. The purpose of attending these types of events is to network and meet new people. You didn’t attend this event to sit next to someone you know and chat about things you chat about during work or on Facebook! These events are meant to be ones where you see folks you know, you acknowledge them, you spend a short time (less than 5 mins with them) solidifying your relationship, and you move on to meet new people.
No progress comes from hanging out with people you work with at these events. In fact, in case you weren’t aware…the other people in the room are actually talking about how all the bankers sit with their company and friends and how all the Credit Union, Financial Advisors, and Real Estate people do too! It’s a bad habit and you and your team need to put a stop to it immediately. Start changing the dialog of what the other attendees are saying and start making new contacts, new relationships, new partnerships with people that will refer you and your business and potentially new clients and customers!
Until next time don’t forget to Live Happy, Smile A Lot, and #High5 Everyone Around You!