By Andrea Nierenberg, Fortune Small Business Many business people wince when I mention the word "networking.

" Who can blame t hem? Far too many of us have endured professional events where we were badgered by an insensitive glad-hander whose only interest was flinging business cards at whoever happened to be in range or aggressively trying to find out how useful w e could be to them. In fact, when my company, The Nierenberg Group, and New York University's Management Institute conducted a survey on networking recently, 44 % of respondents said they were turned off by someone who only seemed interested in selling something. Which presents many business people with a Catch-22. It's no secret that the rea son many of us attend professional events is to increase the visibility of our b usiness and hopefully find new accounts. But how do you achieve this goal withou t becoming a pest? By being aware of the five most common types of annoying netw orkers -- and avoiding their approach to schmoozing. The Pathological Networker This is the individual you see at events passing out his or her cards in a frenz y, obviously there for no other reason than to make a quick sale. At a wedding r eception, a stockbroker at my table began distributing his business cards, askin g people at the table questions about their investments, and bragging that he co uld get us better returns. The next day, he called almost everyone seated there to ask for meetings and referrals. The remedy: If the purpose of an event is soc ial or religious, don't monopolize the conversation with talk about business. Yo u don't need to go out of your way to avoid discussing work, but if the topic co mes up with an individual guest, discretely offer your contact information and c ontinue the conversation in a more appropriate venue -- like your office. The Interrupter A woman once walked up to me at an event, tapped me on the shoulder, and thrust her card into my hand. "I'm a photographer," she announced, oblivious to the con versation I was having with others, "Call me for work." Needless to say, that br usque introduction did not inspire me to pick up the phone and hire her. Sadly, her approach is all too common at many functions today. The remedy: If you'd lik e to meet a guest at an event, ask your host or someone who knows them to introd uce you when there's a break in the conversation. Ms. Tunnel-Vision Stephen, a consultant, went to a trade show to get information for some of his c lients and visited the booth of Lisa's company. Because Stephen's nametag was co lor-coded to indicate that he was a business consultant to the industry, Lisa as sumed that he was not a prospect. Her smile disappeared, and she cut off the con versation abruptly to tend to visitors who seemed more promising. That kind of h asty judgment could cost you new customers. The remedy: Even if you're pressed f or time, always be polite and professional to anyone you meet. The Public Enemy On a flight from New York to Los Angeles, a man across the aisle from me was rea ding a paper when his seatmate got on and said, "Hey, move your bags. You're tak ing up too much room." He continued his hostile comments during the flight. As i t turned out, my seatmate knew the man who was the victim of this incivility. He was president of the firm that happened to be the biggest account for the rude man's company. Imagine what happened when the two met again at the conference. T he remedy: Although life can be frustrating and stressful, it's essential to mai ntain control of your emotions in any public situation to avoid situations like this. If you find that your temper flares when you fly coach class, for instance , use your frequent flier miles to upgrade to first class and consider it an inv estment in your career. Should you find that you're given to road rage, consider carpooling or switching to another form of transportation.

" Would you help that person? The remedy: Take the time to personalize emails to avoid turning pe ople off. I received an e-mail from someone I barely knew. But where s ome go wrong is by sending mass e-mails instead of individual ones.A." The sender had attached his company information to a greeting that read.S.P. The subject line was titled "Ho liday Greetings. "Dear Friend: Happy Holidays! I'm still looking for clients. The "To: " box had my email address with about 20 others. . for instance. Please f orward the attached sell sheet to all of your contacts A. That's a great way to solidify contacts.The E-Mail Blaster Many people follow up on meetings by sending a brief handwritten note or e-mail to each person they've met. Last New Yea r's Day.

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