If you are living and working in today’s digital world, you are likely aware that networking – and your ability to do it well – is a major key to your success. But networking isn’t quite like hopping back onto that bicycle you haven’t touched in years. If you want this tool to feel like second nature, you have to work at it – and keep working at it.
Networking is all about getting out of your comfort zone and fielding connections with other professionals that could potentially benefit you or your business ventures in the long run. Building these relationships is gratifying and smart, but making a good first impression can be nerve-racking. We are here with tips on what not to do when trying to successfully network.
What Not to Do When Networking
Learning to appropriately network is a wise career move, as it can present several opportunities to promote your brand, your business, find clients, or gain knowledge in your field. Just to slip a few things in that you should do: be social, bring business cards, have a short pitch and questions prepared. Now, for the don’ts:
- Don’t Be Shy: This is perhaps the most obvious key to successful networking, but sometimes the hardest to overcome. Networking is about being social, it is not the place to be timid or cliquey.
- Don’t Stop at One Connection: You did it! You talked to one person and got their information! Don’t stop there. Branch out and approach several people you don’t know and do it with confidence (even if you don’t actually feel confident).
- Don’t Show Up Empty Handed: Like we mentioned, you should always bring business cards to a networking event. Additionally, it is wise to have questioned prepared (memorized or on paper) that will assist in breaking the ice.
- Don’t Be Arrogant: While the purpose of networking is to promote yourself, you don’t want to be arrogant or overzealous in doing so. Do your best to be respectful to other professionals and treat them as though you are on the same playing field, otherwise you are more likely to annoy them.
- Don’t Get Drunk: It should go without saying, but getting drunk and making a good first impression don’t usually go hand-in-hand. If the networking event has provided complimentary wine or beer, there’s nothing wrong with enjoying a glass while you are socializing – but it should probably end there. Plus, if you’re drunk you might forget an important networking DO: Follow up!
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