10 Mistakes to avoid when networking

I speak with tons of people who tell me that they have difficulties with networking. I've included some tips below on some things to be mindful of when networking. 

1.       Dismissing people who don’t look important

Be careful to not try to only connect with people who you think are important. This mistake can be a costly one. Remember that assistant that you were nasty too? She supports the CEO of your dream company. Better believe that she will drop her feelings about you to her boss. Rule of thumb: Simply be nice to everyone.

2.       Being uniformed

Do some research before you attend the networking event. Sites like Facebook often show events and people who are planning to attend. Check out these lists and see who you would like to meet. Research companies. Research current events. Be engaged and apart of the conversation.

3.       Forgetting business cards

Yes we live in digital age. People are connecting virtually. However, unless you immediately connect with someone on your phone when you meet them, they will forget you. You need to have something to hand out so that folks can remember you.

4.       Collecting business cards just because

People can tell when you are not making genuine connections. Be sure that the cards you collect are ones you plan to develop meaningful relationships with.

5.       Being too vague about your career goals 

Networking events are not the time to try and find a career coach to help you decide what you want to be in life. Know what you want to do.

6.       Abusing your network

Don’t abuse your new found contacts. They don’t work for you. Be sure that your requests are reasonable ones. Make sure things you are asking for are not things that you can find on your own. Try to compile your questions and make sure your interactions are meaningful ones.

7.       Forgetting to follow up

Remember earlier we talked about collecting business cards like candy? Don’t collect these cards and forget to follow up. Also, don’t only reach out to people when you need something. These are horrible ways to build a network.

8.       Viewing networking as a chore

We socialize with family and virtual friends daily on social media platforms. However, we consider networking for a job as a chore. This will impede your ability to move forward in your career. Networking is not a chore. Implement it as a part of your daily routine. It will pay off long term.

9.       Moving too fast

Have you ever dated before? You know how it goes, you meet someone, you get their number, and you reach out and get to know them before you outline your expectations. Approach the networking scene just like you would the dating scene

10.   Not having a personal brand

We hear this team personal brand all the time. However, we often don’t know what it really means. Having a personal brand means knowing who you are, what you want to do and how you plan to get there. Networking is pointless if you don’t know who you are. Spend some time uncovering this.