Networking is about building relationships – I am not sure how else to say it!
Perhaps I should paint another picture altogether.
John and Jane meet each other on a blind date. Those of us who have been on blind dates know just how intimidating and awkward those can be and how they often result in absolute disaster.
Anyway – I digress, John and Jane meet at a busy restaurant and after a while, engaging in conversation, they begin to relax as they talk with one another and slowly start to get to know one another.
They both begin to realize that in many ways they have the same values, enjoy the same things in life, such as going dancing and spending quality time with family, friends and loved ones.
About twenty minutes into the conversation, John suddenly grabs Jane and start kissing her passionately. Stunned, Jane manages to pull away and savagely slaps John, hard across the face and without another word leaves.
John is both embarrassed by his behaviour and also by being slapped in public.
Now most of you reading this are probably thinking that John got exactly what he deserved – I know I am, but how and where did it go wrong?
Simple really – it’s all about relationships and timing. Think about it for a moment. Had the situation been that John and Jane been dating for several months, Jane would probably have been delighted to have John kiss her publically. The reality is that they had just met, there was no relationship as such in place, Jane did not know whether she could trust John or even if she liked him enough to want to enter into any sort of relationship with him. John’s action was therefore inappropriate and his timing was all wrong!
So what makes you think that networking is any different? Going to a networking event is like going on a blind date – you are going to meet a number of strangers and after engaging in conversation with these people, may or may not result in a fruitful and mutually beneficial business relationship.
Asking for a second meeting (date) to discuss synergies and to explore mutually beneficial opportunities would be far more appropriate than demanding to do business and producing a contract that you want signed on the spot.
Think about it realistically – asking for a referral or wanting business before the relationship has been properly entered into could be the undoing of a potentially successful collaboration.
Getting your timing right and asking for what you want at a more appropriate time would probably result in an abundance of opportunity and more work that you can actually handle.