5 things that get me MAD at networking events!

So last week was my first foray back into the world of networking after the Christmas break.  And despite it being an effort to tear myself away from the desk and the already increasing in-tray, once I got there it was a real pleasure to meet up with old friends, make new contacts and generally immerse myself in finding more about others and their businesses.

This was a particularly well run networking meeting with a relaxed and friendly atmosphere, great venue and just the right number of people for it to be pleasant rather than overwhelming.  The women in this group are truly inspiring and the mix of business interests, personalities and stories was energising and uplifting.

So why have I titled this blog 5 Things that get me MAD at networking meetings?  Because time and again I experience frustration at the missed opportunities and bodged introductions when people are asked to talk about their businesses.  Knowing what to say by way of an introduction to your business and how to say with impact are FUNDAMENTAL skills for you as a business leader/owner and even more so if you have built networking into your plan for business growth.

 Maddening Thing #1

People who don’t give eye contact to the group.  Alright, sometimes the room isn’t an ideal layout to get eye contact with everyone but make sure you take charge of your presentation ( even if it is only 60 seconds).  Go and stand where you can see the majority, deliberately make contact with everyone you can at the beginning at least, even if that means checking out the corners of the room.  It is no good delivering your presentation to your notepad, while half of the room can only see the back of your head.

The best introductions I have seen have involved the presenter standing up and engaging as many people as possible before they start, regularly throughout and absolutely at the end.

Find out more about Panic to Poise seminars and using eye contact

Maddening Thing #2.

People who do not make it clear what they do, how this benefits the listener and what sort of business they are looking for. There were a few presentations last week where even now I would struggle to tell you what that business was.  And when you think about it, isn’t this what networking is about – helping others help you in finding contacts and ultimately business? Have a clear idea what your business does that helps your customers and know who your customers are ( not everyone because that is too vague).  Focus on one part of your business if it has different strands and end up your introduction by saying if anyone wants to know more about how this can help their business they should get in touch ( then give your details)

As a contrast there were several presentations last week where not only was I clear how that person could help me, but I learned enough in 60 seconds that I could recommend them to others. ( and I will be doing so)

Find out more about Panic to Poise seminars and how to target your presentations

Maddening Thing # 3

This one is more subtle.  These people were clear about their business but made the mistake of telling us what they did.  And so followed a list of activities they get involved in and services they provide.  If you are asking yourself what’s wrong with this, think for a moment about what engages your attention, what excites you and what is memorable when you listen to introductions.  it is NOT the activities themselves – it is the benefit they bring – either to you or to the people you know.  And the very best introductions focus and acknowledge the world you live in and how their business can help.  You may well be an financial services adviser but unless and until you recognise my world of children who are likely to go to university, my dilemma of whether to save for the future or spend for the present etc – I won’t believe that your business can help ME.

Think about your customers, put yourself in their shoes, describe their world, then tell them what you do that will resonate with them

Find out more about Panic to Poise seminars and how  to engage your audiences

Maddening Thing #4

There were 25 business owners in that networking meeting.  About half of them spoke at that meeting.  I know that there will have been some good reasons why some did not, but I would hazard a guess that for some it was fear of speaking in front of a group. But hang on – isn’t that why we go to networking meetings in the first place.  To raise the profile of our business, make contacts and find suppliers?  It will take an awful long time to do that if you only talk to the people next to you!  Recognise that this fear is holding you back and allowing you to miss out on the opportunity to tell people what you do , share something about you – for them to like you , know you, trust you..  Take steps to overcome this fear – learn what to say and how to say it.  Be bold, stand up, speak out, stand out.

Find out more about Panic to Poise seminars and how to get that confidence to command an audience

What are you going to do at the next networking meeting?  How will you raise your profile?  How will you target your introduction to your customers and make it personal? How much impact will you get?

Panic to Poise is a two hour seminar aimed at helping you be supremely confident when speaking to groups and increasing your impact, your influence and your income.  The next one is on 31st January, Hale Cheshire

Good luck.  I look forward to meeting up.

What do you think is a good networker introduction? What gets you mad at networking events?  Post your comments below. I would love to hear from you.  


  1. Frances said:

    OK then where is number 5? Did I miss it?

    • Ah – you are the first to notice….so you get to choose the fifth maddening thing! I haven’t forgotten your email request Frances for networking groups. I tried 4 Networking and while I didn’t get business from them I did get friendships, raised my profile and expert status through doing mini presentations to them and found some good suppliers as well. I liked the structure. My suggestions are you try as many different ones and choose those that suit you, your style and measure the impact it has on sales/relationships, connections and support.
      Remember to add the fifth maddening thing

  2. I agree with all of your comments, and admit that as a relatively new networker I have been guilty of all of these traits (but I’m getting there!) One further thing which I’m not keen on is the passing around of business cards while people are still presenting their one minute introductions – I think one of the “unwritten” rules of such events should be that we all make every effort to give the speaker our full attention (unless they go way over their their allocated time that is!). I personally find it difficult to do this when I am being bombarded with piles of cards and leaflets. Much better, I think, to save the card exchanging for when you actually speak to somebody on a one-to-one level.

    • thanks Debbie. I think when you start doing the networking ‘thing’ it is a challenge because no one tells you what to do. Having a good role model is great and just understanding the simple steps of deciding what to say and how to say it can have a great impact. And yes – grabbing and keeping people’s attention is a wonderful ( and learn able) skill to have as well as knowing how to manage a group…some of this can be directed by the organiser and some of it is all about how you stand, sound, keep eye contact and make the pitch compelling to hear…

      the wonderful thing is , if we network we can practice…try asking for feedback ( ask what people understand about your business rather than ask them how you did – people can be more specific then)

      Good luck and it would be great to meet up again soon.

  3. super advice and the final missing point must be those that have not taken advantage of training to hone their skills.
    I am helping to put a new business group together, meeting weekly lunch time Thursdays in Mere, Knutsford and we are looking for good people to meet the members. Contact me if you would like further details Tim Hodges 07931 374 206

    • good point Tim. In our Panic to poise seminars we talk about the ‘exposed expert’ – you are asked to speak because you are the expert and the skilled expert – you ask to speak because you have a message and can communicate it powerfully and effectively. Would love to talk about your venture in Mere. thank you

  4. Happy New Year Catherine.

    As you know I run Warrington Business Breakfast Group and your advice is sound common sense. If one merely talks about what they do and how they do it without giving the rest of the group information on how it will be beneficial to their business, then the point has been missed and business lost. I think it’s equally important that participants also show interest in what others do, and use the best ideas. What you pick up at networking meetings can be useful long term,

    • Hi Trish

      Great to hear from you and sound advise. SO many people miss an opportunity to really present a match between them and their potential customer and therefore the benefits networking can bring. Of course what it does mean is, that those people who introduce themselves well stand out head and shoulders and they will be the ones to reap the benefits!

      Hope to meet up soon

  5. This is good advice Catherine. I would like to increase my range of NW based networking events, can anyone reccommend some good drop in events worth visiting.

    I’m looking for decision makers (isn’t everyone) around Liverool,Manchester and Preston areas.

    I can’t reccommend networking enough to business owners, it’s a greatway of meeting new clients.

    • Hi Phil

      There’s one called “Colony Networking” . They have a monthly drop-in session at the Church Green Pub in Lymm, Cheshire. Next one is 8 February, 9.30-11.30. Cost is £5.00 “on the door”. Generally very good attendance, and usual format – one minute intros followed by open networking. They have a website and Twitter/Facebook.

      Kind regards


      • Would support Debbie’s suggestion of Colony Networking. Also the Warrington Business Breakfast group. You are right Phil a great way to meet potential clients and also people who can recommend you . Which is why of course it is important that people make it clear how they help others and who the ideal customer is in terms of life style, issues etc so those who go on to recommend of refer can do it easily!

        Hope to meet you at some of the events


    • Jan said:

      Hi Phil

      Wirral Business Associaion hold free networking events each month at The Chimneys, Hooton. No membership fees and you are free to call over on the 2nd Wednedsay of any month from 7:30pm to 9:30pm. A very informal group but friendly and welcoming to new business people.

      If you would like to be added to the mailing list for this group please pop over to the website and sign up. You won’t get bombarded with emails – just notifications of the meetings in the monthly newsletter.

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