7 Networking blunders … and how to avoid them!

Posted March 8th, 2011 at 1:31 pm

Networking definitely has its advantages, but many people feel awkward doing it. Avoid feeling foolish and make the most of your connections by keeping these simple steps in mind at your next networking event!

View the full article by Kelly Eggers (kelly.eggers@dowjones.com) on The Wall Street Journal.

  1. Don’t arrive late.
  2. To make things easier on yourself, time your arrival so you can maximize the interactions you’re most interested in having.

  3. Don’t just stand there.
  4. This is not the time to wait around for people to approach you. You need to work the room—even if you’re on the shy side. There are ways to step outside your comfort zone and avoid awkwardness.

  5. Don’t feel like you need to talk to everyone.
  6. As a budding business owner or executive, you might enter a networking event with a “more the merrier” mentality when it comes to making new connections. However, it might be advantageous to take a “less is more” stance instead.

    Instead of going to a networking event and grabbing 40 business cards in two hours, speak with fewer people for a longer period of time. This way, you’ll leave networking events energized by new, true connections rather than tuckered out from meeting too many people.

  7. Don’t come unprepared.
  8. Once a new contact tells you what they’re specifically looking for in terms of products or services, you need to be ready to tell them how your specific experience lines up with their needs.

    Your goal isn’t to hard-sell them right then and there—instead, it should be to get them interested in you and what you have to offer. To do that, you need to be prepared with an understanding of what everyone from an investor to a potential client will need, and be armed with the most relevant, useful information to show that you have a solution that works for them.

  9. Don’t forget the big picture.
  10. The bottom line is that, once you leave a networking event, you want the contacts and connections you’ve made to follow up with you and your services in the future.

    You’re trying to maintain the image of your company, and if you’re not prepared to answer detailed questions that cover the ins and outs of what you have to offer, or if you can’t offer it to them in a timely manner, they’ll move on—fast—to someone who can.

  11. Don’t try to multi-task.
  12. Within the first few minutes of meeting someone new, you probably don’t whip out a notebook to write down what they’re saying—and that should be a rule for networking events, as well. Instead of being distracted by a pen and paper, focus intently on the conversation you’re having. After you’ve grabbed a business card and stepped away, jot down a few things that will help you jog your memory when you follow up with them later.

  13. Don’t forget to follow up.
  14. Within 48 hours of your first meeting, you should email a note that pinpoints the most important parts of your earlier conversation, so your contact remembers who you are specifically. A timely turnaround will show that you’re both interested and available to continue the conversation.

Connect. Lead. Succeed.
Young Professionals Windsor

7 ResponsesLeave a comment
  • Katie Stokes
    03/08/2011 at 5:52 pm

    Great tips for successful networking, thanks for sharing! I just wanted to add that it’s also important to research who is attending the networking event beforehand so you, as an attendee, can plan out who you want to speak with in advance.

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  • YPWindsor
    03/10/2011 at 1:53 pm

    Definitely a good suggestion, thanks! Being prepared allows you to make the most of your time at networking events.

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