Business Networking: Don't Destroy Your Social Capital

At a business networking event this week, I witnessed someone destroy their social capital in under 10 seconds.
They destroyed it so badly there was little hope of recovery for the 30 seconds their “elevator pitch” (or “business infomercial”) continued.
The tragedy was it was completely unintentional. His only fault was negligence. *Sigh* He was completely unaware of his target audience.

How to make sure you don’t ruin your social capital in a room full of prospects

Rule #1. People always intend to be nice. Voluntarily they’ll give you information to aid your performance. Thus, if you ask them to volunteer information–or themselves–by raising their hand, invariably they will (if they can).
Rule #2. The quickest way to ruin your social capital and your chances of meeting prospects in a room full of people is to discredit the information they just volunteered, because of Rule #1.
It seems pretty obvious, and courteous, to me (is that just because I’m a website copywriter?). But if it is obvious, why did this guy ask everyone to put up their hands, and then tell them that what they were doing was wrong?
He had no knowledge about them, or their purposes. He simpy violated a universal rule of social etiquette and publically humiliated his precious volunteers–who were trying to do him a favour!  How self-serving is that!
He’s the exact reason people always hesitate to put their hand up and volunteer. So thank you Mr. Nobody, for ruining it for the rest of us. Many, many raspberries to you.
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