Thursday, April 22, 2010

Awkward Moment

Some thoughts from recent networking events.

This is the time of year for BNI's Visitor Extravaganzas. Ever the efficient organization, BNI has a structured approach to helping chapters to gain more members during this time. The members of each chapter focus on inviting a lot of qualified member prospects for one focused day.

I have attended a couple of these within the last couple weeks. Both were very successful. The members should pat themselves on their backs.

Here's something I observed.

It was obvious to me that one visitor was there to sell his stuff. He had even set up a small display to demonstrate. When I chatted with him, he "threw up" all over me about what his new-fangled stuff could do. Additionally, during the sit-down part of the meeting when a formal presentation was being delivered, right in the middle of it, he packed up his stuff and left. My first knee jerk reaction was to judge him. "Stupid networker." But then with a little more thought I realized that perhaps the person who invited him had not told him how the meeting would proceed. Perhaps this gentleman had another appointment. Who knows? What I do know that a room full of people experienced him being rather "out-of-step" with the behavior that was expected from guests. What was their knee-jerk reaction?

This is a good lesson for me. I probably have not been as thoughtful as needed when inviting guests to any networking meeting. From now on I will at least give a brief summary of what will happen so my guest can make a great impression.

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