3 Common Networking Mistakes and How to Avoid Making Them


3 Common Networking Mistakes and How to Avoid Making Them

Whether you’re trying to build a business, starting a new business, shifting industries. Or looking for new opportunities, networking presents an opportunity to meet new people. You attend conferences, networking evening and other events. Are any of these leading to genuine connects?   

Well, networking isn’t having a glass of bubble and telling everyone about how great you are.  It isn’t about handing out your business card to as many people as possible. It isn’t about connecting with someone on social media, particularly LinkedIn, and then sending them a note “let’s chat because I’m fantastic and you need my services”.      

Here are three things you don’t want to do networking:

Mistake Number One –  It’s Not All About You!

Networking is not an opportunity for self-promotion. When you meet new people, of course, they are interested in you, and it’s okay to tell them about what you do and what your mission in life. But don’t monopolise the conversation. Going out of your way to show an interest in others shows a genuine interest in people. It’s common courtesy and you might even learn something. 

My rule of thumb is to use the 80 / 20 rule. Focus 80 of the conversation on the other person and 20% on you. Make sure you listen and genuinely have an interest in the other person, otherwise move on.

Mistake Number Two –  Don’t Expect to Pick Up New Client

If you’re attending networking events just to find clients, people will see right through you. I recently attended an event, and there were three people in the conversation. One individual jumped into the conversation and asked for our business cards. We were all caught off guard. The individual proceeded to advise us that we would be receiving an offer tomorrow. The lady is a photographer, and her house is being renovated so she was providing us with a discount on her photography sessions. Of course, we are going to jump at that – NOT. A perfect example of not what to do. 

Provide value to people and people will want to work with you. But, when assisting people or providing value, make sure you don’t expect something in return.

Mistake Number Three –  The Follow-Up

Networking events are a great place to make connections. From there it’s about maintaining them. Following up after you’ve met someone is a nice gesture to build upon the relationship. There could even be an opportunity to meet again and you might actually have a lot in common.    

Don’t send them a message or email asking them for something. For example, asking for a job is not appropriate. Assuming the other person wants what you are selling is not appropriate. I met someone recently, once connected on LinkedIn they proceeded to sell me a place at their next event. I did not at any point show and interest or need for what they were selling. A typical situation, which demonstrates bad etiquette.    

Stay in touch with your contacts, and perhaps think about how you can add value to them. You could send them an article or opportunity you think they might be interested in. At a recent event, a lady I was speaking to mentioned that she would like to access more PR, so I sent her a link to a SourceBottle opportunity that was perfect for her. Build relationships organically.     

Networking is not about short-term gains. It’s about building mutually beneficial relationships, learning, developing and adding value where possible. Most of all be genuine, be yourself and nurture the relationships. You’ll be developing long-lasting relationships and opportunities.

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