The 7 Types of People You Meet at Networking Events
We’ve all been there, the deafening silence. The shifty eyes when the conversation ends.
The ‘Uhm’s and the ‘Ah’s while you break out in cold sweat thinking of the next interesting topic to continue the chatter.
Well, congratulations! You’ve survived the ordeal of your last networking session to tell the tale!
As an Event Agency in Singapore, we have seen our fair share of these encounters. So here are some of our recollections that may seem all too familiar to you and (hopefully) put a smile on your face.
- The Chatterbox
This person loves to talk—a lot. In fact, they might not stop talking. This person will find a way to keep the conversation going with every, and any, topic. Although most networking conversations will come to a natural close—allowing you to gracefully move on to engage with others—this one may not. If you find this happening, use your gift of gab to punctuate the dialogue or perhaps even introducing them to someone new. If you aren’t blessed with that oh-so-elusive gift, take control of the conversation by being assertive, with something along the lines of, “Well that’s great Mr Chatterbox, it was great to meet you. Thank you and have a great day!”
- The Introvert
This person has such a hard time being there to begin with, you wonder why he even attended a networking event in the first place. These shy and slippery creatures dart between the shadows, averting the gaze of all who try and meet their eye. Perhaps they’re shy and lack the confidence to speak with strangers in such an intimate setting. Not everyone’s a born talker, so why not be the bigger person; walk up to them (try not to startle them), start with a kind word, lead the conversation and inspire them to develop the confidence to work the room!
- The Stalker
Do you ever feel a pair of eyes on your back constantly? Or seeing the same face at every turn or corner of the event? Blame it on your charms, this person just can’t get enough of you! Unlike The Chatterbox, The Stalker will be more proactive about keeping the interaction going. In fact, they may even follow you around all night, hoping to engage with you and SOLELY you. Since, there’s no beating around the bush with this person, be frank. Tell them that you want to connect with others and suggest they take the opportunity to do the same.
- The Drunkard
Networking can be stressful; alcohol isn’t. It has this supernatural ability to make even the meekest mouse the loudest lion. This guy seems to be permanently poised next to the bar section. By the end of the night, he’s the bartender’s next best friend and he’s told everyone about his second cousin Morty who went to Yale and how everyone loves Morty but hates him.
So what’s your best bet? Avoid engaging someone who seems to have spent the night saddled to the bar. Period.
- The Gossip
Always abreast of social status and personal secrets, this person spreads the goods like wildfire. Be careful. It’s true that someone who will freely dish on others will happily dish on you too. When you notice the conversation going south, politely excuse yourself. You don’t want to become the next casualty or worse, guilty by association. Someone who makes talking trash about others a priority is certainly someone you’ll want to avoid.
- The ‘Gaston’
Ever met someone who takes every opportunity to turn the spotlight onto themselves? There’s no Beauty or Beast, but you’ve just met Gaston. He has little or no interest in you, and is purely focused on flaunting his wins. While the main premise of networking is to meet new people and learn more about them, keep in mind that it should very much be a two-way street. You didn’t come to be a flunky, so don’t waste your time stroking Gaston’s ego. These efforts almost always fall flat and end up making you feel worse.
- The Complainer
Sure, we could all point to things going wrong in our lives. But they shouldn’t be the focus of every conversation, especially at a networking event. A person who constantly complains will suck the life out of you and quickly cause your mood to plummet. If you encounter someone like this—someone who has a hard time finding the sunshine after the rain, try to lighten the mood with a great story or an unexpected tale of inspiration. Who knows, they may take a cue and spread the good cheer to others. After all, who couldn’t benefit from an earnest boost in morale?