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There are three types of people who network:

  • The Sellers
  • The Gentleman (in no way reserved for just males)
  • and The ‘Unconfidents’

Sadly, many networking events attract a plethora of The Sellers – businessmen and women who approach networking in a somewhat primitive, and certainly an ungentlemanly way.  These are the types who don’t listen, but are really just waiting for their turn to speak again – sound familiar?

To adopt this ‘Seller’ approach is to ignore one of, if not the most important principle of business – building relationships. A gentleman welcomingly acknowledges that in order to make a sale, one must first form a relationship.  Nobody likes to be sold to, BUT (and it’s a big BUT) they do love to buy things from people they know and trust.

In order to build that trust, I’m reminded of a saying by the late gentleman Zig Ziglar. He said, “If you help enough people get what they want, you can have everything you want.”

This brings me nicely to The Gentleman. They are in the room to help first, and be helped second. Imagine if every man and woman who entered the fray of a bustling business networking session adopted this approach – to help their fellow networkers in anyway they could. Now wouldn’t that be quite something. Imagine it. Every welcome stranger greeting you with a “Hello, how can I help you?” I suspect you’d gleefully pitch what you do and explain that you’re looking for introductions or sponsors or a new distributor etc.

Wouldn’t that be a nice, refreshing approach.

Well good sirs, the beauty of this revolutionary, trust-building exercise is that it comes at no cost. It simply requires a little listening, a little thought and staying true to your word. Three things that are second nature to a gentleman, of course.

The third type, are the ‘unconfidents’. These are networkers who have forced themselves to be there because they’ve been told it’s ‘good for business’. But approaching someone and asking politely ‘what do you do?’ is just about the most difficult out-of-their-comfort-zone task they can fathom. These humble beings would find more pleasure poking themselves in the eyes repeatedly rather than strike up a conversation with a frightening stranger, heaven forbid.

Well the role of the gentleman at a networking event is not over; it is your responsibility, nay, your duty to help these intimidated beings. Should you come across a shying unconfident, quivering away in the corner, approach them, be welcoming and help them with their needs.

You never know what important contribution they may have to make when they have been helped to overcome their lack of confidence and it is, after all, the gentlemanly thing to do.

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