Tip #7 Say Nice Things About Others

This is the seventh in a series of 10 tips about networking based on a phone call I received.

You can read the five prior tips and a little bit about the conversation that prompted this series on prior blog posts:

Tip #1 Participate Fully In the Event

Tip #2 Set Realistic Networking Expectations

Tip #3: To Feel Comfortable – Serve Others

Tip #4: Dress and Act the Part

Tip #5: Have Fun!

Tip #6: Don’t Take No Personally

Tip #7 Say Nice Things About Others

This tip is all about saying nice things about others.  Seems logical right?  You’ve heard the old adage, “if you can’t say something nice…”  But this tip goes beyond not doing something because it’s not “nice.”  Instead, it’s all about doing something because it is good business.

1.  Praise Those that Praise You

As you get going in business you’ll develop customers and others who like you and your company.  They’ll refer people to you.  You are very likely to have someone come up to you at a networking event and say something such as “Oh you are (insert your name), I heard about you from (insert your friend’s name) and they said what a great job your company does.

Your initial reaction would be to start talking about your business.  Resist that urge.  So long as you sincerely believe it, tell them what a great person your friend is.  This will benefit everyone.  First, no one likes people that “over sell” themselves.  By you not immediately going into your sales pitch you create curiosity.  You also show that you are equally interested in the other person and your friend that referred you.  Further, lifting your referring friend up with sincere praise means that their recommendation of you carries that much more weight.  Finally, not just jumping into a conversation all about you gives you the opportunity to learn about your prospect and therefore connect with your prospect, so that when the time is right, you can sell yourself properly.

2.  Praise Your Competitors

It’s human nature to feel a sort of resistance to those that you feel are in competition with you for your clients.   No one likes someone who says negative things about someone else.  Sell yourself based on your strengths, not someone else’s alleged weakness.  It diminishes you to spend time belittling someone else.

Instead, when you approach someone at a networking event and they say something like “Oh you do what Jane Doe does” realize that they are just trying to understand the nature of your business.  If you go into how the other person/business is lacking, it will just make you seem threatened or bitter and make your competition seem greater than they are.  Have a few responses ready for such a situation.  I like telling people, “Yes, we are both in the “x” business and I hear she does a great job.  Now, tell me about YOU, Ms. Prospect.”  This shows that you are gracious and turns the conversation to what you should be interested in anyway at a networking event, the other person.

3.  Stay out of Gossip

There are gossips in every group whether business, social, networking etc.  The worst thing you can do is engage in conversations at a networking event that degrade others in any way.  First of all, no one has any idea whether the “rumors” are true or not, what the gossiping person’s agenda, and frankly, you have better things to do at a networking event than talking about someone life that you truly know nothing about.  Excuse yourself from every diminishing conversation and go and conduct business with those that really want to get things done, not those that want to sit around talking about others.


We are very fortunate at our Networker for Business Women events, the negative people, the gossips, and those that aren’t willing to “play nice” seem to weed themselves out, because we have developed a culture of uplifting cross-promotion and inclusion.  It’s simply not “cool” to be negative at our events.

While you’re likely to encounter negativity anywhere, you’ll find that successful professional networking organizations have a culture of rewarding the positive.  The negativity, just finds a way to go elsewhere, and that’s great.  So if you do encounter any negativity in any networking organization, just realize, that it won’t last and by rising above it all, you’ll be able to get the most out of your investment in time and money.

Stay tuned for the next tip in the series Tip #8 Be Consistent.

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