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The Dogs and Cats of Networking

By Scott Isabella
The Networking Institute

All of us love to network and find it a wonderful way to obtain new clients as well as contacts. One thing that we have never considered is are we are dog or a cat when it comes to Networking and getting our message out to the people that we are meeting. Let's take a look at the difference between dogs and cats when it comes to networking.

The Dogs of Networking:

If you have a dog or know someone that does, take a look at the behavior of a dog when either you walk in the door or a new person comes to your home. The dog is always in your face, running around wagging its tail and wanting you to give them constant attention. They are relentless in their pursuit of having you give them what they want. Once received the dog continues to bother and want more, until you either give in or end up yelling at them to "STOP"

Several people are dogs when it comes to networking. They will run up to the person that interests them and follow them around, until what they have to say is heard, and understood. The person that they are talking to either gives in and agrees to listen, or gets so turned off that they tell the person, "Look I understand what you are telling me, and we can talk about it another time". In other words they are saying "STOP bothering me".

Although I will say dogs are lovable creatures and I even have one of my own. I think we can all agree, that when you are networking the dog approach is one that although in the short run will give you attention, will end up in the long run hurting what objectives you have when it comes to Networking.

The Cats of Networking:

I know we have all been around a cat at one point in our lives, and if you notice the behavior of the cat it is very cunning, and intent on not bothering too many people, but when they would like to have attention they get what they want. When you the owner or a new person walks into the room, the cat will eye you for a bit, and size you up to see where your attention is.

Eventually the cat may walk up to you and brush along your leg to see if there is a reaction. Once the cat is a bit more comfortable with the person, they come up and approach in a non-threatening way such as sitting on the seat next to you, or coming up to let you know they are there. Eventually they will come up and sit on your lap once they feel comfortable, and most of the time we are all welcome to the idea of giving them a bit of attention, as well as talking to them. Once they have completed their mission (getting attention) they will proceed to leave you alone, and go onto something else.

The cat is a perfect way to look at networking. You want to warm up to people and have them warm up to the idea of what it is that you are looking for. Once there is a comfort level between the two of you, you are then able to get your mission (message of your product or service) across to the person in a non-threatening way that is conducive to both you and the person that you are talking with.

I use the Dogs and Cats example to get the point across that when you are networking it is not getting in the person's face to force them to listen to what it is that you do, but the ability to warm up to people and have them feel a bit more comfortable with you before giving them the information that you would like them to hear.

We should all remember that networking is a method to contact new people and let them warm-up to our personality as well as what it is that we do. We should not try to get the sale every time, but look at the total situation that is in front of us, and utilize that opportunity to get people to feel a bit more comfortable with who we are, so that we can explain to them what it is that we do.

I know there are people out there that are dog people and others that are cat people. I have had both dogs and cats in my life and think they are both lovable creatures, but for the purpose of networking I think and hope that you agree, that looking through the Cat's eye is the best way to pursue successful networking for yourself and your business.

© The Networking Institute 2003