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…

Visiting Memory Lane’s Coolest Randoms

A few years ago I went to Kota. Honestly, it feels like this particular thing happened an hour ago- because this policeman (hopefully a real one) was just too bad ass to forget. Subtitles will be put up soon- basically he came all the way from Delhi to look for a guy . The name mentioned is ‘Tinku’ (macho huh?), who was connected with some Gurdwara, and that’s all he gave us to juggle and scrounge with.

It’s been a while, I would love to say that I hope the cop found the man- but I know the reality; the man wouldn’t have been found yet, and the cop probably had some shady issue on the side.

Pin Hole Me Down!

An article in the San Francisco Chronicle last year mentioned something about parts of India being in the 19th rather than 21st century (with regards to the whole tabloid revolution), and I always felt a little iffy about that statement until last week, when I came across this:

It’s a pin hole camera folks! And I bumped into it when I was leaving a market in Dehra Dun (a small ex-hill station 5.5 hours away from Delhi). Apparently there used to be an old man who would work this contraption, I didn’t see him around, instead there moped a snazzy man who presumably looked like his grandson. This camera has been in the same spot for years and people still seat themselves in front of it for a passport size photo.

It was sweltering , as Dehra Dun was experiencing one of its first extreme heat waves in history. This camera, bound by black electric tape seemed like one sturdy , relentless being. It withstands the dust of the street side, the jolts of passengers who offload from buses, autorickshaws or  ‘Vikrams’. The photos pasted on the side of the camera (like an imitation of those instant photo booths in asia) are sort of curious, as they seem to be from the 70’s if I’m not mistaken.

Like I said the heat was stifling and I needed to get a few shots with my new found love (the camera not the dude), so I very skillfully convinced a casual passerby to get a photo taken. I had to do the typical, wrinkling of the nose, wincing of the eye, reasoning how cheap it was anyway- all of no use, because seeing me with my own camera he thought I was working for a paper and jumped to the opportunity. I love how he’s posing, with that naive, serious, still stare. Chances are that he props himself up that way for any other photograph as well.

And there’s the ‘One Second Moment’  where the photographer undresses the lens-cap for a slight moment, to expose the soft film to the light, capturing the negative reflection of the image.

After that he mixes the (…err….well when I asked him he mumbled something that sounded like) ‘SigohoubulNatrayt’  into a bottle (very interesting looking liquid) and pours it into a dish that sits under the camera.

There sits my beloved in its unabashed openness….with the film inside the tub. After the man pours the liquid into the other compartment under the tub, he puts his arms through thick purple sleeves attached to the rear of the camera (the lewd being that he is) and fiddles around, washing the film with the fluid.

What he also does is that he passes the film through a sort of trap door under the tub, and pulls out a drawer with the negative image in its almost-final stage of development. He then rubs the film, airs it a little and then places it in front of the camera upside down to take the shot of the negative, hence for the final black and white ‘positive’ copy.

Like so. And then this big bellied man in a tight tee shirt , who was driving us, told  me to hurry up because he had to get the car fixed. Yeah, that pretty much ended my high. Nevertheless, it was one hell of an experience, and I’m so glad I got to stand in close proximity to this classic. I doubt this would be allowed to stand in such an accessible manner any where else in the world! I also doubt that my description of how the camera works is accurate.

But hey look, I can avoid ranting in posts at times! Ay?