My colleague recounted to me a most unforgettable networking event he went to the other day. One has a notional idea that these are mostly canapés and champagne, but usually its bee hoon and trying to decipher what the pitch is at most events of this type in the Lion City.
“It’s all started when I attended a business networking event. I met one regular in her early 70s, who participates in these kind of things. After some time, she said that she’s interested in one of our projects and would like to meet again to learn more. Fine.
I am then invited to a meeting that’s happening the following day, when I question her about the ‘seminar’ she says that she wants to introduce me to one of her friends who’s keen on a project that we are helping to promote. Dinner will be served at this event, so I am instructed to be there early so there’s enough time for networking and schmoozing. Furthermore, there’s a business opportunity that will be revealed in the meeting. Since I’m in the financial sector it, piques my interest.
After having plenty of trouble finding the place in deepest darkest Kallang, I arrived about 30 mins before the allotted start time. As the standard bee-hoon-with-vegetables-and-curry buffet started, it was the first time in my life that I witnessed nothing short of a vulture frenzy. Attendees swooped on the metal trays gobbling everything up – plates and chopsticks went flying. People were nearly trampled. The lady who invited me was late but she was kind enough to ask her friend to help me survive the onslaught and with that assistance we were able to create a pincer movement and secure some of the last remaining morsels for ourselves.
Once this was over and the room began to settle, my new friend began explaining the event details. A very large red flag started to flutter – this is an MLM meeting. MLM for the uninitiated is pyramid selling and a marketing strategy for the sale of products where the revenue of the MLM company is derived from a non-salaried workforce selling the company’s products, while the earnings of the participants are derived from a pyramid-shaped or binary compensation commission system. Or a bit of a scam.
The most amusing (or awful) part of the whole thing was that it was all in Chinese. I don’t speak Chinese. I had to get it all translated, but it was torture as I was ultimately sandwiched in between two elderly people for two and a half hours who had some serious issues with halitosis. Bad breath withstanding – I wasn’t remotely interested in what they were selling.
Then a senior MLM guy tried to onboard me. I ran for the hills!”
The moral of the story – don’t blindly go to networking events that you have been invited to by older people who want a free meal!