I didn't think the creature really existed.
I thought it was an exaggeration used for effect.
I thought everyone knew the dos and don'ts.
I was wrong!
At a networking event I attended recently (I won't say which to avoid upsetting anyone) I met the nightmare networker. If you ever read anything about "How to network effectively", or listen to someone talk about the subject, they always talk about them. The card thrusters. The salesmen who get straight to the pitch. The ones who drop you immediately they realise you're not an obvious prospect.
Well this person was all of them in one perfectly constructed social disaster!
I noticed her when she arrived - perfectly professional in a suit and with a notepad and briefcase she straight away struck up a conversation with someone across the room. I was chatting in a small group. When I next looked up she was talking to someone else. A couple of minutes later a friend arrived so I went over to say hello and passed her talking to another person. "Blimey!" I thought, "She's getting round the room". A few minutes later she was with someone else.
It wasn't long before it was my turn. I was talking about football to a nice chap from Charlton when I happened to glance round and saw her stood at my side. Without so much as a by your leave she jumped in "Hello, I'm The Predator from Widget Co". I told her my name which she took as all the invitation she needed to thrust her card at me. "Oh, thanks," I replied, "Would you like one of mine?". She paused (maybe she wasn't all that bothered) before holding out her hand. She then went on to ask me what I did. I told her. To which she replied, "Are you looking for any Widgets?" I explained that I wasn't and that was it, she was off.
The whole interaction lasted at most 10 seconds.
Later I was talking to a very nice lady from a design company when I noticed The Predator standing about 5 feet away staring at us. Again my look was taken as an invitation. I watched her then run through exactly the same ritual with my new friend. Again the interaction lasted about 10 seconds. When she left we had a bit of a giggle about her. Interestingly we were then joined by another lady from the same industry with whom we had a really nice chat. I know what she does, where she does it, how business has been, what her hobby is, where she got married, and where she went for her honeymoon. At the end I asked for her card.
If I ever do need some Widgets guess which one I'll be contacting?
The next time I looked up The Predator had left. I reckon she'd been there about 30 minutes and had got round the whole room of maybe 35 people. Incredibly efficient but not terribly effective - unless of course her objective was to make her company the last one you would ever contact for Widgets!