I was just finishing a meeting in a hotel lounge, when a distinguished looking gentleman approached me. He reminded me of a family member, so he immediately had my attention. He asked me some questions and then talked briefly about something that smelled like MLM. He asked for my card, which I did not give. I took his card and a flyer and told him that I would email when I looked over the info.
Some would ask, why didn’t you just say you weren’t interested and leave? Well, I hang around that hotel lounge quite a bit and would hate to feel awkward in my “satellite office.” Plus, with more research I may determine the project to be a great opportunity. And I’m a networker, I am trained to be polite and welcoming even when I don’t want to be. Just can’t help it.
So the remedy is alternative contact info. An email or phone number you can give to someone when you are not sure you want to network with that person? Everyone needs a “Hey, how you doin?/ Sorry you can’t get through/ Leave your name and your number/And I’ll get back to you*” for those spam-networking moments. When I got back to the office, I sent him an email from my rarely-used AOL address saying thanks but no thanks (using only my first name).
Am I going to log into my AOL address five times per day? No, but I don’t want to miss anything important that may get sent there every once in awhile. I get notified of new AOL messages twice a day via NutshellMail. I’m sure many of us have some AOL, Compuserve, Netzero, MSN and etc emails that we once used and never got rid off. NutshellMail will check these addresses (as well as Facebook, LinkedIn, and MySpace) as often as you need and send you an email summary.
So if it turns out not to be spam-networking, then I have kept the channels of communication open. If it is, then they will be spamming an address I don’t use for business or personal.
* – see video