Question: What is one thing you'd like to never, ever see at a networking event again and why?
The Guy Hard-Selling Himself
"I always hate to see the guy that's hard-selling himself. It's not genuine and it turns people off. However, you see him at every event and wonder if he'll ever figure it out. Go to events to meet people and learn about what they do, before telling them about what you do. Just go in order to get to know people and hopefully help them. If it happens that you can help, then say so, but don't lead with it."
"Name tags have to go. It takes spontaneity and the human element out of events. Without name tags, attendees are required to put some effort forward to get to know people and actually ask their name. You may not remember everyone's name, but you'll get out of your comfort zone and make real connections."
"PowerPoints at networking events are made for the masses. I want a more personalized experience -- my time is valuable."
An Atmosphere That Impedes Communication
"Environments that make communication difficult, such as overbearing music, can completely change the outcome of an event. People are more likely to share and discuss information when they feel comfortable."
"While sponsors should receive special attention, vendor stations end up only being places to grab free swag. Other times, attendees do their best to keep their distance from pushy vendors who try their hardest to get ROI for the money they spent sponsoring the event. Instead, vendors should send representatives who are there to make friends and not just superficial or transactional connections."
No Chance to Actually Network
"I'm not a fan of networking events that are so overscheduled that attendees don't have time to actually converse with one another. A short introduction to set the context for the evening is fine, but if you are the organizer, realize that it's not your show. Attendees are there to be active participants, not passive consumers."
"I founded a networking organization and one thing I baked into the culture was a relaxed atmosphere where people feel comfortable having conversations, not transactions. After attending too many events where people vomited their agenda on you, shoved a business card in your face, and moved to the next victim, I hope that type of "networking" dies a quick death."