Networking events can be a great opportunity to meet new people and grow your professional network. But let’s face it, while many of the types of people you meet at networking events are going to be friendly, interesting and engaging, many others are going to waste your time.
It’s therefore useful to be able to identify the types of people you should be seeking out and those you should avoid.
So, here’s my list of the types of people you might encounter at a networking event: the good, the bad, the ugly – and the downright hilarious.
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Types of People You are Likely to Meet at Networking Events
While most people are just “average”, you are bound to come across at least a few of the following types of people at business networking events.
This person loves to talk about all the big names they know in the industry. They’ll drop names left and right, hoping to impress you with their connections. Name-droppers are often over-compensating for something, however. They might know one or two of the people they say they do, but chances are, a lot of their claims are hot air.
The Business Card Ninja
This person will hand out their business card to anyone and everyone they meet. Some will even try to slip it into your pocket when you’re not looking.
They operate under the assumption that their business success is directly related to the number of cards they can spread around the room. Unfortunately, it can be annoying for the recipients.
That doesn’t mean they have nothing to offer you or your network. They may be worth a few minutes of your time.
Verdict: Engage (Depends)
The Sales Pitcher
This person will corner you and give you a full-blown sales pitch on their product or service. They’re not interested in building a relationship – they just want to make a sale. Just smile and nod, and then make a beeline for the bar.
This person will tell you their life story within the first five minutes of meeting you. They’ll reveal personal details you didn’t ask for, and you’ll be stuck trying to come up with a polite way to exit the conversation.
This person is too shy to approach anyone, and spends the entire event hiding in the corner. If you spot them, make an effort to strike up a conversation – they often have some valuable insights to share if you can get them out of their shell.
The Social Butterfly
This person seems to know everyone in the room. They’ll flit from person to person, leaving a trail of laughter and good vibes in their wake. If you can catch their attention, you might be able to ride their coattails to some great connections.
The Information Hoarder
This person will ask you a million questions about your business, but won’t reveal anything about themselves. They’re trying to gather intel without giving away anything in return. Be careful of this type of person or you may reveal something they can use in their own business.
This person thinks they’re an expert in everything, and will interrupt you mid-sentence to correct you on some trivial detail. Just smile and nod, and then make a mental note to avoid them in the future.
This person is more interested in your phone number than your business card. They’ll use every cheesy pickup line in the book, and you’ll be tempted to fake an emergency to get away.
This person is the real deal. They’re genuinely interested in building relationships, and will take the time to get to know you and your business. If you meet someone like this, hold onto them – they might just be the key to your next big opportunity.
These folks are just there for the food and drink. If any networking gets done, that’s just a bonus. They are usually disinterested in chatting and can be a challenge to engage in conversation. However, offer to get them a drink refill or another plate of snacks and you might find they’ll be keen to chat.
There’s almost always one person at every event, especially larger ones, whose shrill laugh pierces the hum of conversation and draws everyone’s attention. Some people find it annoying, but I find it entertaining and a great conversation starter.
These are those arrogant, aloof and rude individuals who look down on most attendees as being beneath them. They are there to seek out only those of an equal or higher social status and see everyone else as a nuisance. They are best avoided.
The Average Jo
Most people at networking events fall into this category. They’re nice enough, engaged enough and keen to chat, so they spending time with them is pleasant. You’ll hit it off with some and while others might not seem a good fit with you, your business and your network, remember that you don’t know who they know. So, don’t dismiss them without doing any digging.
Networking events can be a mixed bag, but they’re worth the effort if you can find the right people to connect with.
And if you are any of these types to be avoided, here’s a wake-up call to change your ways. You’ll actually start getting something out of your time at these events other than annoying glances and snubs.
So put on your best smile, grab a drink, and you’ll be surprised you you meet at networking events!