Last night I went to my first speed networking event in Melbourne and it was a very interesting experience. The event was positioned on Meet Up for Solo Entrepreneurs and I was invited by my friend Karen Cohen who has just started up her business Kaycee HR Consulting. Given that I am exploring the prospect of using Meet Up to advertise my public programs, I figured there was something to learn in going to a Meet Up event.
One eye opening interaction I had with an attendee, who was dressed very casually and who lounged in their chair with a drink in their hand like they were in a nightclub, went something like this.
“So what brings you to the event?
Them: “To find people who can help me progress professionally.”
Me: “So what do you offer that would be of value to those people?”
To be honest I found this approach quite off putting and it was a rapport breaker. Although this was a very explicit demonstration of seeking to extract value from others, there were plenty of other examples of this attitude coming through implicitly in some of my other meetings.
So the next time you’re at a networking event, rather than seeking to extract value from the event or the interactions; why not change your frame of thinking and find ways to add value to the potential relationship? If you can’t directly provide value by way of a service or product that you offer, maybe you can help connect them with someone you know who can? In this way you can potentially be of service to two people and add value to both relationships.