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Is networking flirting?

Posted by Ilise Benun on

Last night, I gave one of my new talks, Networking 101, for the NY Chapter of the Advertising Photographers of America.

It was a very engaged and interested group of photographers, many of whom are preparing for next week’s Speed Networking event, when they will be talking to their prospects and clients for five minutes each. They need to have their "blurb" ready, so we spent a lot of time working on that.

Then I gave my general networking tips, the thrust of which is the recommendation to be curious about people and ask lots of questions, probing as deeply as possible (and appropriate) to get to know them.

Later on, after the event, I was surprised when 3 women approached me and said variations on, "If I follow your advice, couldn’t it be misperceived as flirting?"

What do you think? Do you sometimes refrain from networking so you don’t convey the wrong message? And is there a way to network without doing so?

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