Mistakes by rookie networkers. They should all be Chopped!
Posted by Molly Wendell // in Networking
Did you see Chopped the other night? In case you’re not familiar with it, it’s a cooking show with four chefs, and the one who makes the worst dish for each round (appetizer, main course, dessert) gets “chopped.” I couldn’t believe what happened. One of the guys was making his main course, and right at the end, with 30 seconds left to go, he realized he didn’t have a sauce. After rummaging through the pantry for some champagne vinaigrette, he finally settled on some white truffle oil. WHHHAAAATTTT???? Doesn’t he know that white truffle oil is the kiss of death? Did he never see the show prior to going on? Everybody who uses white truffle oil gets kicked off. Everybody. What a rookie mistake!
And that made me think of all I see when I’m out networking. There’s much more to meeting and greeting people than people realize – which is probably why I see so many rookie mistakes. For today’s rookie mistake – I’m just going to focus on the introduction. Most people introduce themselves in a way that is not at all inviting, enticing or interesting. And by interesting, I don’t mean some cutesy (read: stupid) slogan.
I was at an event a couple weeks ago and I met Ted. Ted seemed like a nice guy. Ted introduced himself (crappy handshake by the way) and started to tell me what he did for a living. He droned on and on and on. About five minutes in, I was wondering how he got into a customer facing role. How could anyone at the company think that he would be a good fit to leave the four walls of his office and have real life interactions with other human beings? Then I found out he was one of the partners. Oh, that explains it. He bought it way into a customer facing role.
So what could he have done differently to make this interaction more palatable?
First, he could’ve smiled. Quit making talking to people seem like such a chore.
Second, he could’ve had some inflection and enthusiasm in his voice. Everybody doesn’t need to be super outgoing, but less monotone would help.
Third, he could’ve quit talking about himself. Some people need to learn when enough is enough. If you’ve been talking with (at?) someone for longer than 60-90 seconds, it’s time for you to ask them a question and let the other person speak.
If you really don’t want to be inviting, enticing or interesting, that’s fine. Just quit coming to networking events and boring us to death. Because what we really want to do is “chop” you from the conversation. Not smiling enough? Chopped. No inflection in your tone? Chopped. Conversation not interesting? Chopped. Making rookie mistakes? Chopped! Where’s Ted Allen when we need him?