October 20, 2013

Appreciation Marketing – Networking Don’ts (Part 2)

From last week’s posting, I received several comments pointing out some additional negative networking behaviors for both attendees and organizers and managers of networking groups and meetings. Simple parameters will prevent any such mistakes.
Organizers should always make the group’s guidelines and organization clear and simple. A group’s purpose must be easy for prospects to understand so they can decide to join or attend meetings. Is the group open to all attendees, or are there membership requirements? Is there any limit on member types or the actions of members?
Where does the group meet, and what is the purpose of each meeting? What are the starting and ending times for the meetings, and what are the meeting agendas? Is there a price for each meeting or a donation expected? Can one attend without becoming a group member, or are the meetings open to the general public?
The group organizers have a responsibility to begin and end the meetings on time, as advertised, so attendees can plan their business schedules. Meetings that do not begin on time will not end on time, and the organizers will appear to be unprofessional. The organizers must adhere to the scheduled agenda or explain why they must deviate.
Attendees should always arrive on time. Some people are always late no matter where they are going or what event they are attending, and they are usually late by the same amount of time every time they attend an event. To correct this problem, they should leave sooner for meetings, but they must recognize it as a problem first.
If we are prevented by unforeseen events from arriving on time, we must enter the meeting as quietly as possible. We must not “make a grand entrance”, speaking to everyone present, and interrupting the speaker or meeting leader. We only make ourselves stand out in a very unprofessional manner when we do so.
We must always make sure that our cell or smart phones are either powered off or set to only vibrate when we attend a meeting. If it does ring, we must know how to turn it off so that it will not ring again. We should be able to quickly find it in our pocket, purse, bag, or briefcase. We cannot ignore it; others will know that it is ours and consider us to be rude or obnoxious if we pretend that it is not.
A worse behavior is texting someone else during a presentation. It doesn’t matter if the recipient of the message is present in the presentation or not. Texting during someone else’s presentation is very rude; if we must contact someone, leave the presentation and don’t return during the meeting.
Of course, using our phone to place, or answer, a call is not acceptable at any time. Again, if we must engage in a phone conversation, leave the meeting and don’t interrupt the presentation by returning. A meeting where the attendees are mingling would be easier to return to if we must go outside for any reason.

Networking behavior is another form of marketing. A group manager, a meeting organizer, or an attendee should behave professionally. Remember that what we do not only impacts others but reflects badly on ourselves. Don’t market negatively, and use your common sense. Please leave your comments here, or email me at Jim@SOC4Now.com, or call me at 360-314-8691.

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