Entrepreneur, Author, Networker, Speaker

Sarah is an expert in Business Networking, a speaker and an entrepreneur with multi industry interest.

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Bad To Worse?

It’s Friday, 8am. You check your diary; it says you’re supposed to be at Strathmore University for an event convened by Strathmore Business School. You quickly make your way there. You arrive late; the amphitheater is filled to capacity. You survey the room from behind, your eyes scanning row after row. Lucky for you, there’s an empty seat on the third row. You move with speed, squeeze through people’s legs, with an occasional “excuse me” till finally you land on your desired seat.

You are now seated in between two people; a lady on your right and a gentleman to the left. Serious looking people. From the corner of your eye you can pick a few things. The gentleman is very smartly dressed; a power business suit complete with a crisp white shirt and a blue tie. He summons an ambience of professionalism. The lady on the other hand looks to you like someone who came to cut a million dollar deal that morning. Everything about her looks and speaks the part. From her dressing, to the way she sits on her chair; back straight. She exudes a lot of confidence. Both have notebooks, keenly following and jotting down what the speaker is saying.

Then you look at yourself, you realize that your shirt isn’t well pressed and the creases on your front pocket are showing. You quickly swing into action, buttoning your coat to conceal the mess. Discomfort is gradually setting in; you start to feel out of place. You try to take a deep breath and relax. But midway though that, the speaker posses a question to the audience, he asks you to engage your ‘neighbor’ on the left, for a minute. You turn to the gentleman, the power suit guy. He has his hands already stretched. You shake hands, his is very firm. Firm handshake! He introduces himself and what he does, but what gets your attention the most is the way he does it. Like his power suit, his intro is powerful! Natural and fluent. You’re stunned.

“And yourself?” He asks.

Already feeling intimidated, you stammer through your intro. The one minute is over, but to you it seemed like a lifetime. “Man that was pathetic! You couldn’t even introduce yourself properly,” a voice in your head accuses. It getting more uncomfortable, you become fidgety. Little sweat drops begin to form on your forehead, you didn’t carry a handkerchief so you just wipe it off with your palm.

You sit through the remainder of the session, but a troubled soul. It is a relief when the meeting finally comes to an end. The MC invites everyone for snacks and to a time of networking. At least now you have a chance to redeem yourself from the dismal performance earlier on. You turn to say hello to the ‘deal-cutting’ lady on your right, but she’s quick to leave. She probably saw you wipe sweat with your palm and she is not willing to shake sweaty paws.

Well, you collect your self esteem from the floor and proceed to the serving queue. While there, you see the CEO XCorp from a distance, this is a guy you have always wanted to meet. You quickly grab your snack and hurriedly march to where he is; a table at the farthest corner. He invites you with a broad smile. On one hand he is holding a glass of juice, and on the other a biscuit. But you still insist on shaking his hands, so he reluctantly offers his wrist. You introduce yourself. You’re excited and nervous, both at the same time. You talk, and talk and talk. Words are flowing endlessly from your mouth. You exaggerate everything about you and your business, I mean, you really want Mr. CEO here to like you and to give you business. It’s now a monologue; you’re hogging the entire conversation. Mr. CEO is getting impatient, his body language is telling. But since body language reading wasn’t a unit in your undergrads, you cluelessly carry on with the monologue. Minutes down the line, you are completely off script, asking him questions like;

“By the way are you NASA or Jubilee?”

Poor CEO. He leaves to pick a call and never returns.

What did you do wrong? You’re left to wonder.

 

Now dear reader, you might relate with this story in one way or the other. If not fully, then just in part. Either way, you need to learn and appreciate some fundamental principles governing business networking in order for you to be effective and thrive in your next networking event. Whether an individual or corporate, let Global Networks Investment help you achieve that. Email us on

About Sarah Karingi

Sarah Karingi, the Queen of Business Networking, is an expert in Business Networking, and an award-winning topmost BNI networker in East Africa.
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