This is the another in the “Limited Networker Field Guide” series.
Name: The Black-Belly Abyss
Environment: Attending any and all networking events, but nowhere else.
Behavior: The Black-Belly Abyss is a master of disguise. Wherever he appears, everyone assumes that he is a variation of the Golden-Tailed Networker. His behavior at networking events is nothing short of exemplary. He can carry on a polite conversation. He asks questions and takes an interest in his conversational partner. He asks for business cards. He may even offer to make connections at a later date.
Then nothing. He never send that article. He never makes the connection. He never calls for a later meeting. In short, he shows that he can’t be trusted and so never makes it into the “Trusted” relationships which bring the most profits.
And wonders why he has nothing to show for his networking efforts.
Broken Rules of Good Networking: You must follow through. The Abyss has forgotten one of the fundamental concepts of networking: All things being equal, people do business with and make referrals to people they know, like, and trust — with special emphasis on “trust”. He may not realize it, but if he doesn’t follow through on the little things he promises while waiting in the lunch line, people aren’t going to trust him with the bigger things like their money or their reputation.
Counter-Measures: The Abyss is actually remarkably hard to counter as his attack isn’t specifically against anyone. His worst sin is that he will waste your time and betray your trust. His faults also are not the result of over-ambition or any attempt to get you to purchase from him. No, his comes mainly from lack time, energy or desire to do as he has promised. The best counter would be simply not to let him monopolize too much of your time. Remember, at networking events, you have the opportunity to meet with many people. If you spend too much time with any one of them, you run the risk of missing out on other connections you might make. If after a few minutes of chatting, you think that it’s a good idea to get together later, then get the person’s card and/or schedule a future meeting and then move on.
How We Can Help: If you still want to meet or work with an Abyss, then your only hope is to take matters into your own hands. You will have to set the meetings (be sure you always have your calendar with you). You will have to remind them of what they promised. You will have to send the emails and make the calls. Remember, the Abyss does as much or more harm to himself than he does to others. By taking the initiative, you can circumvent his self-destructive behavior. From that point you may be able to establish a connection.
If, however, despite your best efforts, they carry their limiting behavior to the extent of not showing up at all to a scheduled meeting, then it may be time to let the relationship die. Even if they are the nicest person in the world, you can’t trust them to treat you or your reputation with the respect you deserve.
Photo credit: Crystl