I attend a number of networking meetings and events throughout the month, so I see it all. What I don’t get is how people do the same bad behavior over and over, but are SHOCKED that they aren’t seeing any results.

So, here’s my rant on this mess…

Dress Code – Don’t show up in anything less than dress slacks/pants and a nice shirt or sweater. I have seen people come in wearing summer dresses you wear to a BBQ in the park, skirts too short, wrinkled something, hair pinned up like they’re about to go workout….oh and yoga pants. If you can show up to this meeting correct, why would anyone want to do business with you?

Mingling – Get to know people, be personable. If you’re “elevator pitch” is a diatribe of all the services or products you offer – don’t talk to me. If you only go around handing out your card without a conversation with me – pass me by. And it’s not just me. Legit business owners (not those on their hustle) understand that people work with people that they know, like and trust. I can’t and won’t get to know you if you’re only tossing your business card in my face or breaking out the brochure to explain every service you offer – and all I said was “so, what do you do?”

Freebies – At the meetings and events I attend, they allow people to leave their marketing material on the tables. Don’t go around picking up every pen, notepad, and key chain that’s left behind. I’m not saying you don’t take one pen. I’m saying that you don’t take 20 (which I have seen – a lady went around and picked up every pen left behind on the tables – every!)…I have a totally different rant on what I call the “free people.”

Business Card – I can go long on this one, however I will say this – at least have a decent business card. Can you believe that either (1) they didn’t bring enough business cards; or (2) they didn’t bring any…how is that possible? Why are you here without a business card? The ONLY, and I mean the only exception to this is the virtual business card, but really, some of us real owners may send you something in the mail, or call you to chat, or want to set up a meeting….can’t do that without that business card!

When attending networking meetings and events, you must NETWORK! These are not sales meetings, these are meeting designed to give you an opportunity to meet people and add new folks to your funnel. Because there are so many people gathered in one place, this is your time to promote yourself, market your business….without being sales-y. Now, get it together and stop looking like a fool!

Stephanie Walters MBA (60 Posts)

Stephanie L. Walters started her first business at the age of 13, and has been a serial entrepreneur ever since. Through the school of hard knocks, she has learned how to start, grow and market her businesses. Through Blue Top Marketing, she's dedicated to assisting other business owners in growing their businesses using 21st century techniques. She's also the TV Show Host and Executive Producer of 'The Small Business Report' at that airs locally in the Chicago are and at TSBR.TV