Charm School for Networking Organizations

Here's the story...

A few weeks back, I attended an evening mixer for a well known national business organization who shall remain nameless. (Why shall they remain nameless? Because they don't deserve any press from me--or you for that matter.) It's the PRINCIPLE violated that I want to cover that really matters. But I digress...

At the mixer, there was a person whose sole function for the organization is to meet and greet both new AND prospective members. Considering that 200+ people were crammed into a restaurant like "sardines"--this would prove no easy task. I get that.

HOWEVER, since when did it become OK to assume (based on a LESS than 10 second introduction) that you know everything you need to know about what someone's business entails? (To be fair, I was introduced by a counterpart by my name, owner of business name and title of social media consultant. Yes, my friend also referred to me as a 'social media guru', but I actually enjoyed that title. Who am I to burst her bubble? lol.)

I mean, really! Yes, I "get" that some are ignorant of the important role that social media can and should play in marketing. To ASSUME is one thing. To VERBALIZE this, as one board liaison did that very evening, is another.

Not only was I subjected to a 10 minute rant by a 'member liaison' about how "social media" (not poor supervision on his part of his employees downloading stuff from the net on company time) caused his store computer to become infected with all sorts of 'viruses', but the assumptions continued in a "follow-up" email I received today from the prospective member liaison.

The beginning was nice enough. The usual formalities of "it was nice to meet you" and "I want to learn more about your business BECAUSE" were followed by what I feel was a veiled slight of,
"my CHILDREN have Twitter and Facebook accounts" and that "more and more people are socializing on the internet." Wow! She really "gets" how I help companies increase their online presence, brand recognition, sales, profits and customer service. After all if CHILDREN can do this, then why can't I?? (Yes, that smacks of sarcasm and for good reason!)

It never ceases to amaze me that others still don't realize that we ALL act at one time or another in a "sales" capacity--whether or not it is in our job description.

Sales 101: What's In It For THEM is what matters most!

One would think that a 'new/prospective member liaison' would realize that the FIRST order of business would be to tell me how their organization could be of benefit to my business. One would ALSO think that it would be of importance to spend a little bit of time (other than the 10 seconds already allotted) to truly understand what I DO before insulting my business. I mean if you don't KNOW what someone truly does for a living, say you don't KNOW. It shows you're honest and in today's business world, honesty goes a long way. (IMO)

Injury to insult--the bottom of the email contained an invite to join! Give me a break!

For all the talk about how some have embraced social media because it allows a degree of anonymity as it does not "require" face to face interaction (that is a nice way of implying that it does not require interpersonal relationship skills) I say BS!

Manners are manners and my momma raised me right. I was taught that one should always ask about what's new with the other person BEFORE you move on to what's new with you! Etiquette is the same online and off. It's time that some of these business improvement organizations went to charm school.

Guess it's time for this Moxie Maven to school 'em.

Who's with me?!?

If this resonated with you, PLEASE comment. If you know someone who NEEDS to read this post, please forward it.

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Comment by Nate Stockard on April 6, 2009 at 12:20am
Great post! I am having trouble with the etiquette of some networkers. It drives me crazy when I feel like I am on a used car lot at a networking event (InHouston is NOT one of them!)
Comment by Glynda Gros on April 4, 2009 at 6:20am
I agree!
Comment by Lisbet Newton on April 1, 2009 at 3:15pm
That is a great post and true enough! Most people who meet new ideas (although social media is not a new idea) with resistance is a result of ignorance (not knowing, not taking the time to know). It is up to those who know to pass the knowledge along.

I am somewhat new to Social Media - as I am using it in my search for a new career...perhaps in sales/account management. Any tips you can pass along as to how I can walk in the path of a Social Media guru will be greatly appreciated.
Comment by Cyndi Gutowski on March 30, 2009 at 11:13pm
Hey Edie my friend, great post!

Comment by Eric Standlee on March 28, 2009 at 10:53pm
Here here!


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