Podcast: Is Business Networking just a Form of Speed Dating?

Have you ever felt uncomfortable at business networking meetings? I am not talking about getting the boring sales pitches but the feeling that you were inadvertently thrown in a lion’s lair?

When I was a full-time massage therapist, every time I went to a business networking meeting (or even when I went out socially to parties), someone would ask me if I would give them a free massage. Why oh why? But it gets worse. Some people use business networking meetings inappropriately as a way to … get lucky.

Have you had a similar experience? Please let me know in the comments.

Business networking or speed dating, when business networking goes wrong


Friends and contacts tell me I am a bit too idealistic. I would tend to agree with that statement.

A few years ago, when I was a full-time massage therapist, I went to a business networking event, best foot forward and a bunch of business cards at hand,but  I was in for a surprise.

It was all going swimmingly (the free bar helped): I made some interesting connections, learned about new  technologies, had a great conversation about a new online collaboration platform, I had a good exchange about meditation,massage, art and architecture.

So far so good. I was giving myself a pat on the back for being rather focused and efficient in my politician-style hand shaking and baby kissing (although there were no babies at the event, probably not very age appropriate!).

They say you should quit while you’re winning and that was my downfall. I decided to stay after the free bar (bad choice!) and keep networking. Just like a good party that starts tailing off, the quality of the networking started deteriorating. Therefore, when I started talking to two public school-educated young entrepreneurs, I thought I would have a bit of friendly banter and then leave.

Unfortunately, against my better wisdom, I told them what I did for a living and they excitedly replied asking for a free massage (ahem, why?). And when I asked them about their aims and objectives for the networking event, what kind of contacts they were planning to make (maybe new customers? New business partners?), what key benefit they would  obtain from the event, their reply was: “To get laid”.

I bought myself a very expensive beer, which would have normally cost a quarter of the price, made my excuses and left.