Recently I blogged about good manners and my view that they matter in business. The feedback was quite astonishing.
Around a hundred people from all over the world including India, the USA, Greece, Australia, Europe, England and Scotland responded when I posted my thoughts on the LinkedIn website http://www.linkedin.com
Most agreed that being polite, taking the trouble to respond to emails or voicemails, acknowledging receipt of important documents such as proposals was not difficult and, indeed, was an important element of conducting business seriously in a well-mannered, courteous way.
It was an issue that even made it in to the pages of a national Sunday http://scotlandonsunday.scotsman.com/business/Michelle-Rodger-Manners-maketh-man.6168474.jp newspaper, where I was quoted. The reaction from that was encouraging as well.
It’s clear that good manners to many people do count for a lot, an awful lot. Just take a look at Twitter and Facebook and LinkedIn where individuals gleefully reply and respond, suggest and refer, help and inform. In the main, these sites highlight first-class, heart-warming Net-iquette.
So I’d like now to see this extended into a further business arena – the networking event. And you can blame (only kidding) Cordelia Ditton of http://www.voicebusinesstraining.co.uk as she encouraged this rant.
Her latest blog http://talkaboutspeaking.com/networking-tip-how-to-move-on-without-feeling-you-are-giving-offence is very useful on how to extricate yourself from being stuck in one spot at a networking event. For me, however, that’s not been a real problem but, nevertheless I found reading Dilly’s blog useful, as always. It’s one of the best blogs on my radar.
My biggest bugbear at networking events comes when I am happily engaged and talking with one or more people, listening, exchanging views and offering suggestions to one another.
Then someone else barges in flourishing a business card before launching into the dire “all about me” spiel. Very annoying, hugely boring. I would never dream of being so discourteous. Networking is about meeting different people and, to my mind, the listening part is crucial. I don’t expect anyone wants to hear about PR in detail, the services my company offers or any other info in glorious Technicolour. They prefer, as I do, a brief overall summary that encourages questions or, even better, presents an opportunity for a follow-up, one-to-one conversation at a future date.
But the individual, who breezes into conversations and focuses on his or her business, what he or she can do for you and so on, doesn’t talk with anyone – he or she talks at you. He/she seems to think I, and others in the gathering, need to know in gruesome, long-winded detail all about him or her, what they do and why they are so damn good at it. I don’t. Sorry. To me, such people appear extremely desperate for attention, new business, who knows? It’s easy to walk away from them.
This has happened to me over the years. Usually, I escape with the words “I’ll leave you to it” or “I think we’ve chatted before” – not, perhaps, very profound or well considered or worth copying. But it has worked for me.
Such gatherings are a chance for low-key business conversations, a time to meet others in a range of businesses, to fit faces to names of companies I’ve heard about, to build possible relationships. And at some events, I have met people I have come to admire, like and even to do business with.