I’ve been to many a conference and networking event in my day. It never fails to amaze me how some men, rather than putting on their networking hats, decide to go with their fuzzy pimp hats instead. What am I talking about? Let me paint a picture.
I’m at a networking event enjoying a great conversation with a person who is passionate about her business. Suddenly, I feel an eye beam on me; x-raying through my clothing. I look up to notice a man, licking his limps, sauntering over. He then proceeds to interrupt the conversation by giving both of us compliments on our beauty. Then, he asks me out for drinks after the event (or at that moment, somewhere else). I always politely refuse. He then insists. I refuse. Repeat two more times and add my walking away.
Now, the man in this story has been anywhere from 25-65, nearly every culture and ranging from handsome to… not-so-handsome. However, the theme is that they are all out of line!
In fact, this reminds me of an experience during my senior year college externship in New Orleans. I’m walking Bourbon street with my gorgeous full figured friend, Brook. We notice a very strange man following us. He is wearing a zebra print zoot suite, matching hat covering finger waves and black platform shoes. Somehow, we knew he was not wearing a costume. After avoiding him repeatedly, we found ourselves face to face with him as we were exiting a store.
“Hellloooo there Ms. Pret-tay.” I must interrupt the story to tell you this is me. “Hi there Big and Tay-stay.” That’s Brook! “Are you looking for employment? I could teach you how to do some tha-angs. You’d have a promising career.”
At this point, we just stared at him with blank stares. After a full moment of uncomfortable silence, we walked away, leaving pimp daddy in the store.
Attending networking events often gives me the same feeling I had on Bourbon Street that night. I would love to leave men with a few tips to avoid networking like a pimp.
At the end of the day, networking is a part of marketing. If you do not actually “work the streets”, do not market as someone who does.