Having been to and also organised many networking events over the past 18 years sadly some things about people seem to never change.
Last week I was involved in three events and I also attended an event organised by another
business group. I am comfortable with any occasion and it is still surprising to me how many people still don’t know how to be “inclusive” when being with strangers. (Remember, strangers are just friends you don’t know yet.)
Networking events are not the time or the place to be exclusive, no matter how special your business or job may be. Last week, I watched a professional speaker who outshone many other speakers I’ve dealt with in the past. Some speakers who are new to the speaking world can act very precious and be exhausting to deal with. Not only was this very experienced guest speaker not demanding, she was humble and totally inclusive of everyone who wanted to speak with her (and there were plenty). A constant smile never left her face.
To sit at a table or be in a group where you don’t know anyone is hard. Yet, to sit at a table where the other people are talking amongst themselves and not including you is even harder. You may be sitting next to someone you haven’t seen for a while and are keen to have a catch up, however at a table with other people it is not the occasion to do the catch up. Do it over coffee later.
Have we become so insular and exclusive that we don’t want to meet anymore people?
Is it that you only want to know people who are good for your business but not help other businesses?
We know that we make snap decisions about someone with the first 2-5 seconds of meeting them. At an event last week, a large table of ladies did not engage at all with a young woman sitting with them. They were older and had basically given this young woman the cold shoulder. That was until the young woman made an observation to the guest speaker when the guest speaker had asked if anyone had any questions. The statement startled the table of older women. It also floored the room. It was a beautiful moment when the table suddenly realised that this young woman was much wiser and experienced beyond her youthful face.
At the end of the event they all loved each other and their experience of the event had been enhanced because of the sharing of experiences amongst all of them.
Become inclusive not exclusive because not only will it be better for your business and your career prospects, it will make you a better person too!
I’ve had the pleasure of making the most amazing friends over the years because I’ve stayed open minded about people. And as we get older there can be the tendency to be super selective as to who we allow into our circles, but you know what? If you don’t allow anyone new in, you’ll never get to expand your own horizons and how boring would that be?
So tell me, who are you when you attend networking functions? Inclusive or Exclusive?
WORD BY Sue Heins – Founder – Inspiring Women, Inspiring Women Blog. Post originally published at this link.Visit Sue’s blog, ‘like’ her Facebook page, join her group on LinkedIn or follow her on Twitter.
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