Business Networking: Your Name and Business Name Only!

This morning was not unlike many of the other mornings, afternoons or evenings IShaking Hands have spent in a business networking event.  And like the rest, the usual absurdities happen that exemplifies the problems groups that host a gathering of business people are having.

I want go into my view on the One Minute Commercial being dead.  My previous article on that subject pretty well righted the ship of the need for these atrocities to be done away with and replaced with something more productive or at least more purposeful than getting an unwanted glimpse at someone’s over inflated ego.  

So, for those who did not read that article, I will let you venture back into my archives of blogs and enjoy that one.

But this morning’s incident really outlines the problem that exists in the business world, or with business people to be more specific, who ignore instructions, to make sure their agenda is put in its place.  A lot of words just to say that there are a large number of business people who feel they need to take control of a group at every opportunity to clearly set them self apart, or above others, by giving an infomercial when they were specifically told to say their Name and Business ONLY.

Now, I agree, when some people say their business name it doesn’t clearly identify exactly what it is they do.  That incompleteness is what I feel is what these short minded people are missing.  The name and business only provides enough Mystery of not knowing completely what it is they do for a living draws more attention to that person than details on exactly what their business is.  Yes, not knowing something or seeing a clear picture of something opens a door, or turns on a light, as I like to call it, that draws people to want to find out more.

Several examples here:  Just saying my name and my Business name pretty well tells you enough about it is what I do, but yet not enough.  There is no way I can tell you exactly what I do, what I offer and who I am looking for in 20 minutes much less in 15 seconds.  So why try:  Doing so would make me look as foolish as these people who do attempt this and risk damaging their professionalism and their chance of gaining any respect for what it is they do.  I just let my name and Business name do the talking that was what we were instructed to do.. 

So tell me, which of these scenarios do you like better?

“Hello, My name is Joe Smith and I with Bank of America.” 

Now what did that tell you?  It told me that here is a guy works for a bank and, ‘hey wait a minute, I wonder what department he is in because I need to know…. ‘ Or, ‘I have a friend who needs a….’  or, ‘I going to check this guy out after the meeting or I need to get his business card just in case he gets out of here before I get over to him…’.

Now, over 90% of the people in the room react this way…proven fact…

Or would you rather hear:  “Hi, I am Jim Smith with Bank of America and Handle mortgage lending for both residential from $200K up and businesses from 1.2M and up.  And by the way, I need to let everyone know that if you are currently in a ARM mortgage or know someone who is,  you need to yada-yada-yada-yada’…for over three minutes.  

Which one of these methods of telling someone what they do, did you find better to listen to?  I assume you liked the first one because the people who like the second one have already shut me off a long time ago.

But I digress…what is wrong with networking groups today?  Is there too much desperation? Or are business people that desperate for attention to their business needs?  Are there too many business people with  inflated ego’s who have been told that in order to succeed they need to do whatever it takes to be set above their competitors in the room, which would even include throwing a cut block to the knees of the instructions they were clearly given to provide Name and Business Name Only.

Hey, Duke, you sound a little upset…yaw it does?  So let’s get on with what is causing the problem so I can offer a solution with my remaining time here. 

If I was alone in this attitude I would probably go for the solution I feel a lot of business people who I want to meet at these meetings are taken and that solution is to not go back or not going to function at all.. But I am not alone so there needs to be a solution made before the leaders of these networking groups end up with a room full of the same person they talked to last week.  Oh, wait a minute that is already happening, so there really needs to be a solution and quick.

Why are there so many business people who feel it is a waste of their time to go to a business networking event or returning to a business networking event?  Why don’t they suggest to the leaders of the groups to control the group so everyone there feel comfortable and equal amongst their peers?

Well, there is this thing going around that is a concern, but can be managed and that is Image.  These people, who I have talked to feel that approaching the leadership of these networking groups to express their displeasure of having to sit through 30 minutes of chest thumping would come across as being negative. 

Now, I am sure they would be much kinder than I would be and use different words to express their concerns, but the fact is, they are true.  The leaders of these groups would not take note of the fact that they are losing yet another valued business person that they need for their group, but mark down, and maybe even go so far as to publish it in their newsletter, that they have another whiner joining the group.   The person expressing their concern can’t win, so they end up just shake a lot of hands and do a lot of smiling during the networking until they can get out the door and they are not coming back. 

Yes, these people feel anything they say or do would come across as being negative.  This is not the image they or anyone wants.  So to keep from risking being tagged as a whiner, which they feel hurts their business, they just don’t go back or worst, in most cases, start talking negatively about business networking events since they now feel that what they witnessed is pretty much normal for all networking groups. 

And frankly, they are right on both accounts.  They Would Be looked at as being negative and all of these networking groups are slowly to be alike.

So where do these long winded business people get that doing a longer commercial at all cost is the way they need to be?  Well if you have not been out in the business networking world then you probably have not run into any of this or even understand what I am talking about. 

But, if you been out recently you have run into these groups whose members feed off giving a full length commercial and some of these groups are very adamant to what they are doing really works to generate business.  These groups even have seminars on how to get away with doing more than a one minute commercial.  They have contests where a member tries out their approach to the group and the group leaders give out prizes for the best sneaky approach to doing more than a one minute commercial.   They even go so far as to tell you that if you don’t siege the opportunity to use this method of securing sales during your attending a business networking event then you have wasted their time and ask you to not come back.   Yes, there are groups out there who think that the one minute commercial is a mainstream of business networking. 

Who are these people? Most are business people who are in businesses that have a high level of competition in the market.   In most cases there are thousands of other people doing the same thing in the same small market.   The list of these industries is too long to go into but it consist of businesses that need large number of new leads almost daily to feed a short term product life or has a very high commission reward for each sale.   Some are in businesses that have a very small profit margin so they have to generate leads each day to pay the bills. All of these problems are usually with the business these people are in and the way these businesses are structured does not help the situation.

OK, enough with identify the problem and what is causing the problem.   What would solve this problem?

We can agree that change is needed to solve this problem, but change to what?  The Answer: The groups who make the change to becoming an informational learning community of business people, who find other ways for their members to learn more about the other members of the group beside having each person stand up and tell you what you heard last week, will be the groups that will lead the way of business networking for the future.   This method to a more appealing way to communicate a person’s business needs will facilitate the change for the better. 

For example here is one solution I can offer and I am sure there are more.  For these people, who live on stratospheric egos or are pressured to become a Type ‘A’ personality due to the quotes put on by themselves or by others, let them pay for that pampering of their self esteem.   Let them pay a fee to have the floor once or twice a year to do their entire spill of why we need to be in the room with them.    Or let them pay for a full page ad in the group’s directory or a page on the group’s web-site or a Podcast or a video cast.  Simple huh?  I think so. 

Another way would be to just having a simple pamphlet printed  listing who is attending the event with a five bullet point business profile.  That would provide me, and the 90% of the other business people who attend, with all the information they need to know to determine who is in the group and who can help them succeed in business. 

Now, wouldn’t that work?  I feel that this a more realistic way or a more productive way and I hope that the leaders of some of these groups have listened and taken notes.

Don’t get me wrong…We need business networking groups.  But all anyone needs to say when their time come is just your name and business name only.


Scot Duke,  President of Innovative Business Golf Solutions, provides over 31 years of corporate management experience to helping small businesses improve their marketing strategies. As author of: How To Play Business Golf, Mr. Duke outlines the steps to sucessfully using golf as a business tool.  To learn more about Mr. Duke, IBGS or to purchase How To Play Business Golf visit




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