Worst Professional Networking Mistakes
Simple methods you can use to create the networking connections that are so crucial in business. For some it comes naturally, for the rest of us these suggestions may help.
Professional Networking MistakesLearn from these mistakes and discover an easy fix for every one of these situations. However, as some common mistakes have been observed to be worse than others making any of these mistakes may damage your image. Make yourself aware of these cringe-worthy mistakes so that you may more successfully manage your networking contacts to build your career.
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Networking Mistakes You Should Avoid
- It's All About You
When you are talking to other people it can be tempting to explain everything about yourself to them in great detail, but you have to take an interest in the work of other people too. Making a contact is like any other kind of relationship you both must share your experiences with each other equally.
Another major mistake that is often made is having an arrogant attitude. Presenting yourself as being arrogant instantly turns people off. Additionally, most of the people you will be talking to are more advanced in their careers, so you should do more listening and learn from them.
- Not Projecting Your Self Worth
If you are at a networking event, you are not going to be the only one there, so make yourself someone to remember by providing a concise summary about how and why you are an asset to a company. Your job during these events is to market yourself to companies and make yourself the most desired and sought-after talent.
- Forgetting to Follow-Up
The whole point of this process is to build connections with others in your field, so if you meet people and never speak with them again that defeats the purpose. After the event, compile all the business cards you have collected and get to work following up with these professionals.
Make the contact as personal as possible and write something in the note so that you are sure they will remember you. For example, including something you had said or joked about in a personalized letter should get the contact's attention.
- Not Narrowing Down Contacts
Talking with a lot people is great, but you need to have meaningful connections with other professionals. The idea is to form relationships, not speak with them once and get their business card for your collection.
Narrow down who you will speak with at an event so you may spend more time with people who can provide you with the most value in building your career. If possible, search for who will be attending the event prior to your arrival and predetermine to whom you will allocate your time.
- Forgetting the Real World
Using internet social networking platforms is great and can be an efficient tool, but you cannot rely on them solely to advance your career. You must meet with contacts in person and actually speak with them. Even a simple phone call means more than an online nudge. When the contact observes that you have taken the effort to reach out to them in a personal format, they will remember this.
Although speaking in person is ideal, it is understandable that today's world has a large online presence. With that said, make sure that you have a professional-sounding email because this will be someone's first impression of you.
- Being Unprepared
You must arrive at your networking event with copies of your resume, some business cards, and a good attitude. You should also dress professionally and be prepared to answer any questions about yourself. To avoid these worst professional networking mistakes think about each meeting as a sales pitch promoting yourself. You can have a rehearsed act prepared to market yourself to these individuals. If you practice your pitch prior to the event you may be less nervous to meet with them.
- Forgetting Your Manners
Always thank all the new contacts that you have met after the event by sending them a thank you email. These individuals had taken time out of their day to attend an event and speak with you about your career goals. You should show some gratitude for the time they have given you. Send a thank-you email or letter 24 hours after your meeting, you can write one using our free Thank You Letter Creator.