Believe it or not, there are still a lot of people who believe that the more cards you hand out, whether you are at a formal networking event, a one-to-one meeting, or in line at the grocery store, the more successful you are at networking. Of course, that networking success will lead to more business than you can shake a stick at.
The folks who believe this probably learned their networking style a few decades ago (or have a manager who did). Unfortunately, this behavior is also what gives networking a bad name in some quarters. In reality, this is the networking equivalent of the television commercial. It’s a one-way communication (the card-passer is never going to follow up with anyone else) from one person to many with the goal of casting a wide net in the hopes of bringing in one or two sales.
True networking success is not dependent on the number of cards you pass out, but rather on the number of cards you receive that you then develop into real relationships. That means that you are taking an active part in the process, not just waiting for them to call. One or two sales at the cost of annoying a lot of people is too high a price to pay. Our goal should be to create strong friendly relationships which will result in continuous business for years to come.
Photo credit: Davide Guglielmo