Lately, Kaylie and I have been strolling over to the library in the evening. They have an area full of toys and computers just for kids that she loves to play with. They also have other kids playing there and Kaylie loves other kids.

Well, tonight was a particularly busy evening at our branch. There were a ton of kids in the play area. At one point I glanced up from my book and saw my sweet daughter in the middle of all the kids, playing quite contentedly. The only problem was that the “middle” happened to be sitting on top of the table that everyone else was sitting around. Leave it to me to spoil all her fun, but I decided rather than some sort of incident where she accidentally trod on someone’s fingers, it was the better part of valor for her to get out of the middle of things, as it were.

This made me think about some people’s approach to networking.

We’ve talked before about “wearing your flair”. This is the idea that you can display some small symbol of your personal passions for the purpose of sparking conversation. Unfortunately, some folks take it a step too far and end up quashing that spark because their efforts to “stand out” are just designed to make them the center of attention…

… at any cost.

One gentleman of my acquaintance, a life coach, apparently following the rubric of “no publicity is bad publicity” intentionally goes out of his way to be outrageous. His business cards even sport a background picture of his face peering out at you. His stated goal is to be remembered, no matter what.

Maybe that works for him. Maybe his target market expects something like this. I’ll tell you what, though, I would hesitate to recommend him to any one of my connections. Think about it. When you recommend someone, you are effectively lending them your reputation. Are you going to feel comfortable attaching your reputation to someone who may embarrass you with their antics — who indeed may (without intending to) damage the relationships which you may have spent years to build?

Probably not.

Now most of us won’t have this issue. Be aware, though, of those who have decided to take this tack. They’re probably not the best person to bring into your inner circle. In fact, they may be only a waste of your precious networking hours. Steer clear until they are ready to play the networking game as seriously as you do.

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