Have you ever met someone at a networking event who seems to have no purpose? They wander around talking only to their friends. Even worse they somehow get attached to talking with you and it becomes difficult to separate from them. Welcome to the world of wanderers and clingers. Getting stuck with on of these often affable individuals can waste an incredible amount of time.
This is the second of a short series of posts that will focus on exploring the three most dysfunctional personality types who attend networking events. Not only do we need to be aware of these personalities, but we also have to have a plan as to how to deal with them. It is important that these personalities not distract you from your ultimate goal.
Like a ship avoiding flotsam and jetsam, bypassing wanderers and clingers takes successful navigation. Here are some tactics that you may find useful:
- Be clear in your objectives at each event - remember, know who you want to meet by name or discipline before you enter the room...this will keep you on the right course, focused and productive.
- When you’re talking to a wanderer or clinger...it is sometimes unavoidable...ask them, “Who are you hoping to meet at this event?” Chances are they won’t be able to answer the question and you’ll be able to move on without much damage. Additionally, some of your focus may rub off on them and they’ll be better prepared for the next event.
- This one is a bit tricky, but if you network long enough you see this opportunity arise. Attempt this with great care. You’ve found yourself cornered by a clinger and you’ve learned enough about them to break the conversation and introduce them to another wander or clinger who they would benefit from knowing. Done right you will likely make a very good match as not only have you introduced two people with some common ground, but also they are moving at a similar speed.
Like last weeks discussion of bottom feeders, most wandering and clinging is unintended. These are good people who have become lazy. Guide them, coach them, and connect them with the host for mentoring. Then get right back to meeting the key people who you intended.