Hitting the Wall

It’s hard to network though a wall

Every once in a while you run into someone who just doesn’t seem to want to play. You’ve got your networking hat on and are ready to start forming a strong friendship, but all they do is throw up a wall.

A little while back, I had an opportunity to chat with a gentleman whom three different people had told me I should meet. I was told he was easy-going and a real networker. I was really looking forward to that meeting.

And I’m still looking back and scratching my head, trying to figure out what went wrong.

At his request, I met him at his office (about twenty-five minutes from my place of work). I had invited him to coffee and I assumed that we would go to his local beanery from there. When I arrived, though, he shook hands with me and gestured for us to adjourn to the conference room.

The conversation that followed involved me asking questions and him giving minimal responses. I asked about his personal history, what aspects of his job were the most exciting, and where he was going to have some challenges in the coming year. Nothing. The entire time, his body language was completely defensive (arms crossed and seated way back in his chair). I will admit that when I walked out of the meeting after only half an hour, I couldn’t understand why he had agreed to meet with me at all.

Maybe he was just having a bad day.

I guess I don’t have any helpful hints on how to deal with this one. Every once in a while you’ll have a one-to-one which just fails to gel. For some reason you and the person across the table just don’t have the right chemistry together and the best you can do is thank them and move on. It’s not that either of you is a bad networker. It’s just that your networking styles may be at cross purposes.

My advice? Let it go. Move on and know that the techniques you’ve developed will work in general. They just won’t work with everyone all the time.

Photo credit: ScooterZen


About Greg Peters

Greg Peters, president and founder of The Reluctant Networker, LLC, is a business networking specialist. He works with trade associations on both the local and national level to create a culture of better connections and greater opportunity. Find out more at www.TheReluctantNetworker.com or gpeters@thereluctantnetworker.com.


  1. When I ask someone to meet for coffee "so we can get to know each other" and that person suggest instead meeting at their office, I am on high alert. It is difficult to this type of relationship when the meeting point in not level.

  2. Oh, good point, Debby!

    I would guess that the same would hold true in reverse. Having someone visit us in our office might have a similar effect on them.

  3. Pingback: Saying Goodbye | Greg Peters

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