Who to Avoid at Networking Events


When you move to a new place and want to get the gist of how people tick, attending networking evenings is a great place to start. These evenings are centred around hobbies, business hacks, digital marketing trends, product launches or brainstorming activities for certain communities. I can personally vouch for the usefulness of such events, since I’ve had professional assignments come about as a result of networking. They can also help you build your own tribe, especially if you do your homework and pick a good field to graze on.

Networking events can revolve around insightful panel discussions or workshops. But on the flip side they could also be insidious sales pitches.

Regardless of what type of event it is, the meat to reckon with is the people who fill the room. The crowd determines whether the event was worth that $50 Uber ride which took you 2 hours swimming through thick traffic (in the worst case scenario). The key is finding the right strangers to spend your evening with. By avoiding those who fit the following profiles, you can pretty much guarantee a successful networking session:


Bull Dozers

We love confident people who are enthusiastic and upfront enough to introduce themselves to everyone who enters a room. It’s great to get a full account of what they do, their interests, beliefs, opportunities they’re after…but then when it veers off into how successful they have been at every juncture of their life, what they like to do on weekends, how they like their coffees, where they went on their last holiday, the massage they got while being on holiday, what they ate…. it means that you’re entering the danger zone.

People who only want to talk about themselves and don’t leave you any room to contribute can be real hazards, especially if you meet them at the start of an event. They could mean well and come across as fascinating, but they’re uninterested in forging good relationships. In order to know if a someone is valuable to you (emotionally or professionally) you must seek their input. This is nothing but common sense. So, if you meet a person who doesn’t posses this basic nugget – nod, smile and go get a drink. Run away.


Insecure Vultures

A sub category of the above, insecure vultures are those who seek out promising individuals and work tactically to crush their hopes and dreams. All it takes is for them to ask you what you wish to do in life – and this gives them enough fodder to begin their BS. They will tell you that the market is extremely competitive for people in your field, warn you about how difficult it is to even break through in the first place and then advise you to keep your expectations low. There is absolutely no truth in any of this. Sure, the world is a competitive place but there are always opportunities for skilled people. 


Mindless Freaks

In a new city? Same here. Attending a networking event to see what’s happening? Awesome, me too. Don’t know what the hell is going? Okay. Don’t really want to talk about anything? This is awkward. Just feel like smiling and staring at others? Even more awkward.

You may ask yourself why people sign up for events when they don’t really want to be a part of it. This is a great question. I have no idea what drives such people. Strangely enough, I have often spotted them at multiple events. They’re like serial attendees who don’t give a crap about anything! Being in a crowd of wishy-washy thinkers will not help you grow in anyway. Sometimes it’s easy to hang out with such folks; their relaxed vibes and non-demanding demeanour can take the edge off. But why settle into your comfort zone at the cost of making dull connections?


Sleaze Bags

Without sounding pompous, I must add this category of networkers simply because I’ve observed many and can easily sniff them out the moment I enter a room. They are women or men who are out to get their eye candy and do this in sneaky ways such as standing around well-presented people and picking out their ‘targets’.  When they secure their prey, they begin conversing with them while flooding them with ‘signals’. These usually include clinking of drink glasses (at this stage I get the game and walk away), winking, giving a playful pats on the arm while laughing and staring intensely at you without saying anything.

Even if you’re not the object of such people’s desires, you will recognise a Sleaze Bag by the way they pause during a conversation and scan someone from head to toe. Yes, these people exist. No, there isn’t any point in socialising with them. Nod, smile (actually don’t smile at all) and walk away.


Usually Sleaze Bags depend on alcohol to fuel their tenacity, but there are also others who need that extra boozy encouragement during a networking event. Ain’t nothing wrong with that. It just sucks when a person you actually want to talk to, is off their face. This may happen towards the end of an evening, after you’ve sussed out the crowd or even heard them on a panel discussion. If the person is a speaker, make sure to get their attention immediately after they get off stage. On the other hand, they could be someone you’ve been hearing about from others all evening and finally get the opportunity to have a one-on-one. If they are tipsy and you doubt their ability to remember you, making them your LinkedIn connection should be your #1 goal.

Now, if they’re someone who isn’t influential and hasn’t been stable enough to tell you about themselves in a coherent fashion, walk away. This is someone you could avoid till fate brings you together in a place where getting drunk isn’t an option.

Lastly, Connection Hoarders

Alternatively, you should also steer clear (or expect nothing) of people who just want to add you on LinkedIn without any real introduction or conversation. You should avoid being this person too. Value social networks by using them for what they were destined to be.

For The Journey Ahead

Reading through this list may leave you feeling a little shaky about your networking ventures. Rest assure that these examples are rare, and that the majority of attendees are looking to mingle for noble reasons. If you spot certain signs of negativity in someone, don’t hesitate to smile and turn around for a fresh start. The time you get at networking events is too short to bear the weight of those who don’t add any value. You should focus your attention on like minded folks who will keep you in good spirits and fill you with hopes of collaborating or socialising with them in the future. For a checklist on the traits to see in people you should network with, stay tuned for my next article…

Digital Detox

After thinking about the innovative changes in digital industries, I came across a wave of social media posts about the importance of a ‘digital detox’. There is a new movement that is gaining momentum right now… Digital marketing writers are publishing articles about the damaging effects of being addicted to digital content for their online publications, which are going viral. Digital is simply getting too digital at the moment, and we must all take a break.

So before my previous article on digital disruption is considered passe, I wanted to examine the non-digital ways in which I have experienced disruption in my life.

Here are some tech-free examples I could think of:

My Moka pot.

Bialetti wanted the art of espresso making to be so simple, that people could do it at home.

There’s no need to get my butt out of the house for a grand cuppa of flat white anymore. Having espresso at home without the use of electricity or a queue to wait in, has made my life easier. It has also replaced the service of the local barista – he or she will not be earning $3.50 from me on a daily basis. Cheap, convenient and replacing old systems? The Moka Pot ticks all the boxes. Yet it falls short in one big way. You miss out on human interaction of the purest and most golden kind; the one which involves your over-enthusiasm and the barista’s nonchalance.

My friend’s anxiety about current affairs.

This person has a tough time with digesting the news. S/he just can’t do without absorbing every piece of information about an array of industries and upchucking it. It’s a way that s/he deals with the chaos we live in. Thanks to this person, I know what’s happening in the world and I don’t even bother seeking any confirmatory reports, because I get the real deal, for free.


Does this person know that s/he is offering me a convenient service? No. But it serves my purpose. See ya later Trending tab on Facebook. No need to buy a newspaper. I ain’t CNNything either.

Free monologue performances at Santa Monica Promenade.

Not too long ago, I veered out of a terrible blockbuster film that left me feeling quite heart broken. Where have all the interesting stories gone? When would I ever be entertained again? Little did I know that my doubts would be answered right away, on the corner of the 3rd Street Promenade in Santa Monica. A crazy dude was hanging around, overly-enthusiastic to share his tale about his daring teenage years, to the wide range of uninterested audiences who were trying to enjoy their evening stroll.


While waiting for the pedestrian crossing, it was so fascinating to hear about the way the crazy dude’s parents were really mean to him and how his sister was great at stealing credit cards. Unfortunately, when it was time to cross the road, he got to the really meaty part of the narrative which concerned his day time job as a pill-pusher. The crux of the matter is that I got something so real and insightful in those two minutes, that it restored my trust in the world of storytelling. You don’t need to go to any movies. Cancel all your subscriptions and just take a trip to the coasts of SoCal, really.

Getting Back to the Tech World…

I must confess that I couldn’t think of too many examples which didn’t involve some modern technology. This example is actually one that I completely missed in my last article, and it is one that is changing the structure of South Asian entertainment. In other words – the Woods of Bolly is getting disrupted. 

The Indian People’s Secret Music Network.


It’s not really a secret, but when you see an Indian person wearing headphones and enjoying some beats, s/he is most likely tuned into a music streaming app by the name of Saavn. Officially launched to users worldwide in 2009, the app has now become a portal of original content allowing listeners to tap into the largest repository of…

– South Asian music (both ancient and brand new)

– Serialised narrative content (with it’s This American Life style of podcasts)

– Chat-shows offering the latest celebrity gossip (too exciting, my goodness.)

– Original Saavn branded music (thanks to its artists in residence programs)

Forget installing those weird satellite dishes in odd places of your yard, and plug into the most current content that is customized for audiences from various South Asian regions.

What can we takeaway from this?

Life can be easily disrupted by clever, high-energy people who want to make themselves heard and wish to share their simple joys or discoveries with others. It sounds easy enough to put into practice ourselves. Who knows why and where the next disruption will come from?

Influencer Addiction

A minute spent on channels like Instagram, snapchat and Pinterest is another minute into the lives of others I wish to emulate. I’m talking about those who sit outside my circle; the social media influencers I access all with the touch of the search symbol. These influencers are like celebrities who sit in the trending list and promise to fulfil our browsing time with endless snippets of their days, dinners and wardrobes.

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I think I’ve become an addict. I go through 15 minutes of a catch up whenever I get a moment’s break from work (which revolves around building social media strategies).

I call it ‘the absorption process’. I come across people who seem to be setting a great example either with their exercise/diet regimens, photography, hair – anything that reflects a healthy lifestyle which I would like to make my own, and then I follow them.

After this, life is never the same. I’m constantly riddled with questions about whether so-and-so would eat what I ordered, whether they would have as many rest days from the gym as me or  if they too have an endless number of Friday nights on the couch with the flix on…

It begins to feel as if the people on social media I know so much about (but have never met) are co-existing with me. And that’s practically the whole point. At least in the world of retailing and branding. 26% of purchasing behaviour around the world is influenced by social media influencers.

Following influencers is not a bad thing. People do go on about how you’re supposed to surround yourself with ‘wonderful’ people. But don’t you lose a sense of yourself?

In the pursuit of putting an end to this addiction, I have set up a social media challenge.

It revolves around the idea of using social media as a way of recording life for the sake of reflection – not for audiences of friends or random browsers. Idols shouldnt have to be collected, life doesn’t have to be projected differently to what it is.

This month I will record what I really eat, how I style my hair and what I actually wear on a Sunday morning.

My social feed will probably be quite uneventful….

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But maybe it will seem very interesting in the years to come.