In the world of business networking it seems that the more the merrier has become the mantra of the day.
I know the thinking and it goes something like this:
The more people at the event the more likely it is that I will meet someone that is “good” for me and vice versa.
Mmmm, makes sense but is that what really happens. Sure, hanging out in a bar or restaurant drink in one hand and cards in another can be (sort of) fun. But we all know that is it is the follow-up with these fellow networkers that builds the trust and ensuing business relationship that, in fact, can foster introductions and potential clients. And here’s the sad truth, lots of lots of people, even those that fancy themselves to be good networkers, do little, if any, of that all important follow-up. Sure they gather up cards but once the event is over, it’s back to business and the time necessary to plant those networking seeds seems to pass right by.
Now, my preference is a dinner where there are 6. 8 or even 10 networkers around the table each taking several minutes to describe what they do and who they do it for with ample time left over for questions and discussion. The networking seeds that are sown at this type of an event are deeper and yield much more substantive ROT (return on time). And yes, follow-up is still required but because so much more transpired at the event itself, the relationship building is faster and more substantive as well.
There’s room for both types of networking and people surely have their preference but as for me, give me an intimate dinner anytime. I’ve given up on juggling the drink and the cards all the while shouting over the sounds of a noisy room with background music to boot.
But, each to their own. Which do you prefer?