This is a great article by Scott Ingram, creator if the Sales Success Stories Podcast – at https://top1.fm –
Recently I asked my network through LinkedIn: “What are the visible attributes of a ‘Nasty Networker?'” I’ve boiled the answers down into some common categories ranked by the frequency of their appearance.
Signs of a Nasty Networker
- Selfish. Not interested in helping others.
- Doesn’t ask questions. Talks too much.
- Bashes or otherwise acts inappropriately towards competitors.
- Uses high pressure and other bad sales techniques.
- Abuses contact information. Sends spam and other unwanted communication.
- Ignores business card etiquette.
- Social climber. Always looking for somebody better to talk to.
- Not open.
- Naive and needs education (about proper networking).
- More interested in the quantity of connections, not their quality.
In the end I think that “Nasty Networking” is driven primarily by either naivete or desperation. I saw a quote recently that suggested that the selfish type of taker networking is not networking at all, but rather Needworking. My hope is that by sharing this list we can help the naive/needworkers get onto the path of true networking.
Here are many of the consolidated responses to my question grouped by the categories listed above.
Selfish. Not interested in helping others
- “Doesn’t try to help at all”
- “Selfish and self-interested”
- “In short, a ‘Nasty Networker’ is self centered and disinterested”
- “Uses every opportunity to speak (including thank you’s and announcements time) to give a sales pitch for themselves”
- “refers less than is referred to him/her (it is ALWAYS better to give than it is to receive)”
- “Someone who immediately asks ‘who does your ….’ (phone, insurance, payroll, office supplies…) instead of saying ‘who are YOU?’ and getting to know you.”
- “100% self-focused — demonstrations may include: usurping your time while at an event asking for “free” business advice; never offering anything in exchange”
- “Rude, disrespectful, fast-talking, is not interested in a mutually beneficial relationship, totally dis-interested in you or your needs.”
- “My main beef regarding a nasty networker is one with the belief that it’s all about them”
Doesn’t ask questions. Talks too much
- “Doesn’t ask questions”
- “Talk don’t listen”
- “Talking not listening”
- “A ‘Nasty Networker’ keeps their own interests secret, they listen, and want to ‘know’, to own, and control.”
- “talks more than listens”
- “Poor listeners.”
- “Vomitous from the mouth”
Bashes or otherwise acts inappropriately towards competitors
- “Steals from competitors”
- “Bashing or being condescending towards competing companies or products”
- “Talks down about their competition”
- “Some of the most memorable “nasty” networkers that I’ve come across made an (unfavorable) impression because they were publicly trashing a competitor”
- “A nasty networker is somebody that comes to an event sponsored by another company and stands next to the host the whole night scarfing their contacts.”
Uses high pressure and other bad sales techniques
- “They launch into their sales pitch as part of introducing themselves.”
- “Asks for a one-on-one meeting to get to know you, gives you a sales presentation.”
- “Asks for a meeting because he/she is interested in YOUR business, gives you a sales presentation.”
- “if there is no relationship there, I’ll go to the internet before I’d go to a pushy salesperson!”
- “people will ask you questions about your business at a networking function in a way that seems geared specifically to put you on the defensive–these sort of questions are perfectly appropriate at a pitch meeting or the presentation of a proposal, but I’m not sure a networking event is necessarily the best venue”
Abuses contact information. Sends spam and other unwanted communication
- “Uses the majority of all communications (personal interactions, e-mail, blog, twitter etc.) to try to sell you something”
- “I’ve had a couple of nasty networkers that asked for my information and promptly signed me up for their weekly newsletters (or worse, their promotional pieces!) without even the ‘great to meet you’ email followup to our initial meeting.”
- “I find especially annoying those who add you to a distribution list without asking”
- “Follows up with email/call that is all about them”
- “They give you extras of their business cards so you can pass it on to someone who might need their services … the first time you meet them!”
- “Grabbing everyone’s cards and then leaving early”
- “Networks like a bull in a China shop – runs up to everyone with the intro/handshake/business card routine – never listens or asks about anyone else”
- “Only interested in collecting business cards”
Social climber. Always looking for somebody better to talk to
- “The person who scans the room looking for for new targets while trying to engage you in some sort of dialogue.”
- “The ‘look past you’ networkers just nodding until they can talk to someone else.”
- “Lack of eye contact. If a person isn’t focused on you, they are ‘elsewhere’. They are probably looking for better alternatives vs. talking to you.”
- “They talk only to people they know at networking events.”
- “those who aren’t willing to invite new people into their ongoing conversations.”
- “Talk to only people that they know.”
Naive – Needs Education
- “I trust that all of these attributes will either be retooled by the novice as they mature and learn ethics or they will be weeded out.”
- “I think most people who are bad networkers are just ignorant and uneducated. I’ve only met one person in 5 1/2 years at the Chamber who was deliberately hateful.”
- “I guess the ‘Nasty Networker’ walks the line of desperation. ‘I have to make my numbers now so I am going to impose myself on each and every prospect I run across.'”
Quantity vs. Quality
- Sees every networking opportunity as a “numbers game”
- Tries to work the entire room instead of focusing on just a few people with whom they can start true relationships
- I also think networking gets a bad rap from people who are condescending
Share your nasty networking stories in the comments!