Networking isn’t always fun, but it’s important to get the word out about your business and to make important connections within your industry that could be beneficial to your company down the road. However, there are certain networking behaviors that could actually wind up doing more harm than good for your company.
Here are a few examples:
1. The cold call/email.
Rather than randomly sending out introductory messages to businesses or people, ask for a chance to introduce yourself, or find a mutual acquaintance to do the introduction for you. It’s a much more organic way of making a connection and much more likely to be successful. Cold calls or emails only typically serve to annoy the recipient. If you must email or cold call, do so via the media’s internal process.
2. Being overly detailed or personal about your life early on.
It isn’t about you! Make new connections about them. It’s important to have an “elevator speech”, or better yet a position statement, prepared for networking situations, but this speech should only be a few minutes long, not a 15-minute oration on your entire personal and professional experience. It’s important to hit on some key details, but spending too long talking about yourself makes the other person uncomfortable and makes you come across as being obsessed with yourself. A good rule of thumb is to think of three takeaway points that you want the person you’re talking with to remember about you.
3. Being vague about your intentions.
The person you’re talking to isn’t a mind reader. When you’re attempting to build your network, you need to be clear about exactly what you’re hoping to accomplish. What are your business and personal goals? How can that person help you, if at all? And remember, always be clear and concise.
4. Being overly informal.
Ok, you don’t necessarily need to talk like a buttoned-up business stiff, but don’t talk to someone the same way you talk to your best buddies down at the bar, either. Profanity and vulgarity has absolutely no place in networking sessions. If you find a way to make a personal connection with a person, then great. However, there are boundaries that you shouldn’t cross in these situations, just like when you’re building relationships within your own business.
What are some other common networking mistakes you’ve seen made? Avoid these types of mistakes and you’ll be much more likely to create some great relationships for your business that will help you to achieve your goals.