Or, how to not to be that person at a networking event
Those two words make my eyes roll so far back in my head, I can almost see my brain.
Because 87.2%* of them suck.
You leave the warm bosom of your home office and venture out into the real world with high hopes.
You return disgusted with humanity, clutching a grubby pile of dog eared business cards.
(Which you then ritually burn in the back garden while dancing naked and chanting ‘never again’ – or is that just me?).
But I believe in a better world, where business meetups can be great again.
And I believe in writing snarky posts about meetups as a cathartic exercise.
So, in this blog post, I’m going to share my top 17 bad Business Meetup behaviours – as a cautionary tale.
P.S. Before we get stuck in, I fully admit to doing some, if not all, of the things on this list. Do as I say, not as I do.
P.PS. My previous posts of this ilk : 19 things not to do in a Facebook group and 14 things not to do on LinkedIn caused a lot of humans to get their knickers in a twist, if you’re knickers are easily twisted, please do not read on.
Let’s get started.
1. Hi, I’m Clive
“Hi, I’m Clive and I run the accountancy firm of ‘Tedium, Boredom and Lethargy.’
Listen as I explain the finer points of tax law, while simultaneously masticating a mini quiche.”
Clive has an undeterminable stain on his tie, and clammy hands.
He’s cornered you by the nibbles table.
Your eyes rove wildly, hoping to catch someone’s attention, but the others keep their heads down.
They know Clive.
They have been you.
They will not save you for fear of getting sucked into Clive’s tangled web.
Resign yourself to your fate, as Clive picks a small piece of ham from his gums.
THERE. IS. NO. ESCAPE.
2. It’s not MLM
We all know Janine.
Janine sells candles, or essential oils, or dildos.
She wears nice cardigans and has kind eyes.
She says it’s not MLM.
It is MLM.
Janine wants to eat your soul.
3. Check out the shirts
Kevin got a great deal on some branded polo shirts for his business, ‘Kev’s Klever Nossle Kleaners.’
They’re highly-flammable and give you armpit rash.
He makes all the staff wear them.
(Even Barbara in Accounts has to wear one and honestly, she is not the kind of woman suited to Polo shirts. Thus she despises Kevin with a dark fury.)
Kevin decides he and his team should wear them to the business meetup.
Kevin is a wanker.
Polo shirts are hideous.
Publicaly wearing branded polo shirts should be a criminal offence.
Don’t do it people.
4. I’ll be quick but…
Josh knows each person at the table has 10 minutes to introduce their business.
But Josh is a maverick, a daredevil, so he takes 48 minutes.
He has a lot to say and we need to hear it.
Oh, he’s finished.
No, he just paused for breath.
He’s started again.
I fantasise about embedding my free branded business meetup pen into Josh’s eyeball.
5. The clip art killer
Alan has prepared a PowerPoint presentation for your enjoyment and delight.
The first slide looks like this:
The second one looks like this:
It’s going to be a long morning.
6. Early morning torture
Your feet are still asleep, you forgot to put your bra on and now you’re drinking bad urn coffee, while starring with bleary-eyes at a pile of mini muffins.
Who the f**k thought breakfast meetups were a good idea?
That woman over there clearly got dressed in the dark.
No one has had time to brush their teeth.
And you sent your kid to school with a packet of frozen peas for lunch, because who the eff can be bothered to make sandwiches this early in the morning?
Breakfast meetups are the work of Satan.
Make them stop.
7. Pull up banners
I don’t know why.
I just hate them.
I hate pull up banners.
There I said it.
I feel better, don’t you?
8. Giz a job
Is it the BNI, BNE, or the NRA that forces you to give jobs to other members?
Don’t worry that Wayne’s loft insulation business imports illegal fluff from Botswana. YOU MUST RECOMMEND HIM.
Or that Alison’s has a vegan sausage company but is a rampant alcoholic who boasts about occasionally throwing a bit of mince in the mix. YOU MUST RECOMMEND HER.
And if you don’t recommend your quota of people?
You are lain naked on a giant plinth (in the middle of the meetup) and prodded with paper clips.
Or so I’ve been told.
9. The name-dropper
Claire knows everyone. Yes, everyone.
“Oh Sarah, yes she’s great, I met her at a retreat in Bali.”
“Rosie, yes, she gorgeous I ran a workshop with her in Brisbane.”
“Tracy, she’s amazing, I donated my spleen to her just last week.”
Clare is fabulously well connected and you must know about it, you simply must.
And everyone likes her back, they really do.
Really, they do, and she knows them, and everything.
She grips your arm.
“I’m so lonely.” She whispers.
“What?” you reply.
“Oh nothing,” She chirps. “Organic sausage?”
Don’t be Clare.
10. Scroll on John
John just told everyone his life story.
That bike ride he did in Vietnam to raise money for amputee cats.
The Amazing new computer system he just installed.
How he’s doubled his turnover in the last 2 and a half seconds.
Now it’s your turn to talk.
John takes out his phone and starts to scroll.
Because actually, he’s far too busy and important to listen to you.
Rude John. Just rude.
11. The upgrader
Chris is a go-getter.
He accidentally said ‘hello’ to you but realised within 2 seconds that you’re not going to be of use to him.
So now he’s vaguely saying ‘mmm’ and ‘yes’ while he desperately looks over your shoulder for a bigger, better catch.
Go get Chris.
Just go fricking get.
I recently went to an evening event and there was no booze.
Not a drop.
They offered me tea.
13. The tissue paper stuffer
I paid $37 dollars for the event.
The speaker is an idiot, the plastic chairs are sending my bottom into paralysis and the food is shit.
Where did my money go exactly?
Ah the goodie bag.
It’s so sparkly. Many pink. All the pretty.
There are some essential oils (thanks Janine), Kev has included a branded condom.
Oh, and look, just what I always wanted, 348 flyers and bits of crappy paper.
But it has pink tissue paper in it.
And it’s so sparkly!
Money well spent.
14. Lucky me, lucky door
Amy runs a meetup.
To make it more ‘fun’, she asks everyone to drop their business cards into a big glass jar to win a lucky door prize.
It’s so fun!
Look, I won a colonic irrigation voucher!
15. Feed me
It’s 6 o’clock.
I just raced across town and now have a pool of sweat in my bra that a small badger could swim laps in.
I’ve been holding in a wee since 5 and my stomach is making more conversation than me.
And to my horror I realise;
THERE. IS. NO. FOOD.
I watch others wandering to the sides of the room, we exchange panicked looks.
I see one man furtively open a packet of almonds from his backpack.
He rations them out.
One for each of us.
We thank him, moist-eyed.
Another woman furtively eats her leftover lunch sandwich in the toilet cubicle for fear of starting a riot
We cannot live on Powerpoint alone. Feed us!
16. Pin(t)ch me
It’s a pitch-free event.
So Troy starts with a pitch, ends with a pitch, and fills the middle bit of his presentation… with a pitch.
Afterwards, he wanders around the room pitching.
Then turns up at your door, a week later, to pitch.
And at your son’s football game, to pitch on the pitch.
17. The emailer
Yes, I gave you my business card.
I had 200 printed 8 years ago and still have 197 left.
(After giving one to my mum, putting one in my wallet and giving one to the dog.)
I wanted to get rid of some.
But it does NOT give you permission to add me to your gooey little email funnel.
It does not give you permission to call me twice and leave messages.
From now on all my business cards will be entirely blank, or look like this.
What drives YOU crazy about Business meetups?
Please post in the comments below.
Oh and if you like – please share and tell me your favourite Meetup crime from the post!
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You might like my book ‘Confessions of a Misfit Entrepreneur | How to succeed despite yourself’ – buy it online here.
And finally, finally.
P.S. Big thanks to those who contributed ideas in my Facebook group the Misfit Entrepreneurs
P.P.S I love business meetups really and if you want me to speak at yours let me know 🙂 Also I’m starting my own MISFIT MEET up in Umina on the Central Coast soon, follow me on socials to find out more.
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P..S. If you like this post you might also like my post 19 things not to do in a Facebook group
P.P.S. If you like this post you might also like my post 14 things not to do on LinkedIn
* 95% of all statistics are made up.