Are Networking Mixers A Waste Of Time?

May 31, 2011 by

Before you get all defensive, I know plenty of people swear by the networking mixer as a great way to cast a wide net and meet a bunch of potential clients. As a general rule I don’t attend these types of events unless I have a purpose. Mingling by itself is not a purpose; I mean a defined (often quantifiable) objective.

What prompted this post?

I recently attended the worst networking mixer ever! I mean poor sound quality, multiple presenters just pitched and offered nothing of value, no traffic flow or structure within a huge lounge space, and… the attendees didn’t actually network.

I went to meet a friend (and future client), and we both wanted to learn more about the hosting organization. My friend and I actually had a great time together. Unfortunately I noticed something awkward about the rest of the people there. I thought I’d have a little fun and show him why I’m so “particular” about attending networking events and adamant about having clear objectives if I choose to attend.

Networking mixers

We both sat back and observed everyone’s behavior, as a social experiment of sorts. Then, I would go up to people and intentionally not offer my name or biz, but start a conversation with a “What’s your name?” or a “What do you do?” – and would you believe not a single person reciprocated? Yes, it was that bad!

To make matters worse, my friend knew several people there and they all failed my test as well. Needless to say, he was stunned! But now he understands why I’m so strategic in spending my time and resources as I build my business. Running around to go to a bunch of events for the sake of going is simply not an option for most small business owners, a lesson he clearly understood after this experiment.

I never did find any movers and shakers there to talk business.

On the flip side, I attended an unrelated mixer a couple of weeks later because I wanted to meet and get to know a particular person that I chatted with a couple of months ago online.

I had a fantastic and productive time at this mixer! Not only did I meet this person, but the attendees were engaging, lively, and prepared to socialize and talk business. Of course there were a couple of duds, but I was thoroughly impressed by the quality of the interactions all around me.

Today’s Lesson: Do not attend a networking mixer without a clear objective. The challenge with networking mixers is that so many people go to say they’re pulling long hours, working so hard to meet prospects and trying to make sales. In reality, they’re going to have hors d’oeuvres and cocktails!

What are your thoughts on this often-used activity? How have you benefited from attending networking mixers? Are you intimidated by networking events? Post a question or comment and share your experiences!

Ciao,
Miss Kemya

Meet the Author

Miss Kemya is a Marketing Strategist & Social Media Manager at Phisco Marketing, a marketing consulting firm that facilitates the growth of small businesses through conventional marketing techniques merged with social media tactics. When DIY marketing doesn’t get the job done, hire Phisco Marketing to revitalize your marketing strategy and fall back in love with your business!


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6 Comments

  1. Mike

    I agree with your blog misskemya. I am in advertising myself and I make it a point to tell anybody that advertising simply does NOT work. Ironic that I sell it right? Well it’s actually only half a truth. It doesn’t work unless you do it correctly, just like attending the mixer event, which in essence is a form of advertising in itself. Going back to fundamentals of selling, unless you know who you’re selling to and what type of value you can offer to them, along with qualifying and filtering out your target audience then you are simply wasting your time. Also, we need to remember that just like going out doing some door knocking (or cold-calling) that most people are going to say “No” anyway. That’s where numbers play in, right? Good article!

    • Thanks for your comment Mike! You stated it perfectly. The fundamentals of selling haven’t changed, but the tools we use for communication are constantly changing. It’s always been a numbers game. Today’s tools simply provide us with a better aim.

  2. Debbie Russell

    Ha Ha! I read your post with great amusement as it has happened to me numerous times. What a waste of GAS & my time! Funny, I have done something similar about not offering my name & business and it is very surprising that they are not the least bit curious! I tell salespeople that are looking for clients and are hesitant about using social media for prospecting because of the time involved, this exact correlation. Where is their time better spent – plus, they have saved on the gas!

    • I know, all this “networking” tickles me! That’s a great contrast for the sales people. I still don’t understand why they don’t seem to get it. I guess they’re holding on to 20th century sales rules.

  3. Great blog Kemya! As an author, I think these are particular wastes of time, unless it has a purpose — like you said.

    • Thanks for your comment Brian! Unfortunately, this was a true blog post, I know it’s hard to believe. It always amazes me how many people go to “network”, get nothing out of it, and wonder why.

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