Fatal Networking Mistakes
Whether you are developing your career, building a business or simply searching for a new job, networking is still one of the most powerful ways to get out and about to meet the right people.
While building relationships both inside and outside of work is a good idea, however, getting it wrong can be damaging to your career as well as your standing in the business community.
Here’s our list of the biggest networking mistakes people make and which you may want to avoid.
Valuing Quantity Over Quality
It can be tempting when you first start to network to rush out there and throw your business card at everyone. Yes, it’s good to connect but, above all, you need to be a discerning networker. Choose your friends carefully. That includes whether you are networking online or in real life.
If you opt for quantity over quality, you simply end up with a lot of people on your networking list. It’s impossible to give all of them your attention and what you end up with is a watered down approach that doesn’t work at all. So, our first big piece of advice is to keep it small and keep it quality.
Be choosey about who you network with.
Not Following Up
One of the worst networking mistakes, according to the Entrepreneur, is not following up your contacts after your initial meeting. It’s easy to do, of course, and even easier to forget. You meet someone at an event, have a good conversation with them and then you get busy at work and fail to connect again. When you do finally remember these people, you figure it’s been too long and the initial spark has gone.
Our advice is to have a system in place so that you ensure a second contact is made. There are plenty of smartphone apps that can help you out here and give you a reminder. Whether it’s sending an email or contacting by phone make time for it.
If you work in sales or are a business owner, you probably do networking as a matter of course. It’s part of the fabric of your daily activity. One of the big networking mistakes that some people outside this make, however, is only networking when they need something.
If you’re trying to build your career and are looking for that next great opportunity, for example, the time to network is while you’re still working for someone not when you’re actually job hunting.
Make networking part of your routine and don’t go into it with the specific intention of leveraging your contacts.
Networking is a two way relationship, more of a business friendship than a cold, callous business opportunity. It’s something you should ALWAYS be doing, not just when it suits you.
Don’t Be Too Pushy
Entrepreneur Vanessa Vallely suggests not approaching people that look like you when you attend a networking event. That might sound strange but t’s pretty good advice. We can all have an unconscious bias to gravitate towards similar types and that’s not always what you should be looking for.
Try to move a little out of your comfort zone but also be wary about being too pushy. It can make you seem too eager, as if you out for something specific and it’s a vibe other people pick up on straightaway.
There’s no doubt that networking is an important activity. If you want to make the connections that help you develop your career, it’s invaluable. Pick the right contacts, keep in touch and you’ll have a wealth of experience and guidance to choose from over the years. If you’re running a business networking provides the framework for building vital connections that give you the support to succeed even when times are hard.
Our main advice for prevent networking mistakes: Build networking into the fabric of your everyday activity so that it becomes second nature.