You are viewing this article in the archives. For the latest breaking news and updates in Ann Arbor and the surrounding area, see
Posted on Sun, Nov 18, 2012 : 6 a.m.

Not everyone will want to connect in networking

By Greg Peters


Some people just hit it off. Others just don't see eye-to-eye.

Photo by Pascal Vuylsteker

Ever since we started kindergarten, this has been a worry for most of us. It probably plateaued around the time we started going to junior high/middle school dances and hasn't faded too much in the meantime. Everyone wants others to like them. We worry about how we look, what we do, what we say, all in hopes that anyone we meet will like us. It's a lot of pressure and I have a few (okay, two) words of advice:

Lighten up.

If you want to be successful at networking, you cannot expect everyone to like you. Sometimes, two perfectly wonderful people simply aren't going to be compatible. Trying to force a relationship just makes us look desperate. If there's anything that will throw a monkey wrench into any potential connection it would be when one party appears desperate.

Many times when this happens to someone, it's because they've decided that the person they're speaking with would be a good client. Even if there's no chemistry, they keep trying to engage their quarry.

One of the big reasons we should avoid the "sales mentality" is to prevent ourselves from falling into this trap. Focus first on whether you enjoy being with this other person not whether they need and can afford your services. Remember, they might not be a good client for you, but they might know your perfect client.

The next time you find yourself talking with someone at an event, ask yourself this question: Do I like chatting with them enough to want to spend another hour doing this? If the answer is "yes," then get out your schedules and plan a coffee. If the answer is "no," then politely end the conversation and move on. There are plenty of other opportunities for making connections. There's no reason to waste anyone's time on a relationship that's likely not going any further.

Greg Peters, founder of The Reluctant Networker LLC, writes, speaks and coaches about good networking practice. For more tips that can help your connections count, go to