Business Networkers who are clearly on a networking mission regularly attend these establishments. I can attest to this as a consequence of my unintentional eavesdropping on passionate conversations pertaining to all manner of wheeling and dealings.
I am noticing an ironic (at least to me) pattern of behaviour by this coterie of earnest Networkers.
Relatively few express any acknowledgement of anyone within their peripheral vision, inclusive waiters, or patrons kind enough to hold open a door for them. I am noticing many mastering the dubious art of paying for their meals without either eye contact or anything resembling actual acknowledgement of the human being facilitating this menial transaction.
Usually the excuse for this lack of interaction lies at the screen of some mobile device although recently I observed a well-suited and booted chap manage to accomplish this whilst idly scanning a newspaper on the counter.
This observation makes no judgement on the diminishing social etiquette of courtesy, although this scribbler laments its gradual demise. Rather, the observation relates to the end game or purpose of networking.
Face to face networking offers an opportunity to build more depth than can be accomplished via email, text, social media comment or phone, Admittedly face-to-face interaction does lack emoticon mood indicator. (Smiley face!)
Face to face interaction allows for a myriad of social cues to manifest. Rapport and trust are created and elicited via an alignment of energy. Tone of voice and a twinkle in the eye, the warmth of a handshake, sincerity of a smile, authority of body posture, not to mention the subtle smell of 'eau de whatever' topped off by the visual message expressed by the shiny shoes, ever so slightly revealed cleavage, or impressively coiffured head, all conspire to attract and repel.
Birds of a feather tend to flock together and there’s a real revelation in the behaviour that we exhibit around those who in the immediate moment seem to offer no interaction value. The irony of course is that when we become less expedient and focused on our momentary objective we become exposed and attractive to a much wider audience.
Targeted networking may have measurable result indicators, however the immeasurable value garnered by noticing, caring and interacting with the larger peripheral community cannot be overstated