Chapter 36

Five Ways to Not Screw Up Your Networking Attempts

Peter Shankman

I was at a conference this weekend in Las Vegas—it's bad enough to fight with the recycled air, the perfumed-at-50-degrees conference rooms, and the endless fried foods that pass for “healthy,” but you add in 200 people who have absolutely no clue how to network, and it's enough to make you pull an Ocean's Eleven and sneak out of the hotel in an ambulance.

Here are the top five ways to not screw up your next networking opportunity.

1. Networking doesn't begin when you get to the conference; it begins the second you leave your house.

Anyone is a potential hiring manager, client, or customer. True story: I was behind a real jackass at a ticket counter for an international flight last year. At one point, he actually had the nerve to say, “Well, I work for company XYZ (a big global company), and I can make sure that we never give you any business again if you don't fix my problem,” or something just as arrogant. At that point, the person behind me walked up to him, and said quietly, “What's your name?” The arrogant slob said, “Why do you care, pal?” To which the first gentleman said, “Because I'm senior executive vice president at [said big global company], and I won't have anyone sullying our good name with their petty bullshit.”

I'm pretty sure the arrogant guy doesn't work for the company anymore. In today's world, you've simply got to be on your best behavior. I can promise you, if you're a screaming ...

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