Networking is integral to growing your career and interpersonal skills. Networking helps you meet like-minded people who can help you grow, get new opportunities, and climb the ladder of success.
You have to step out of your comfort zone and network. Some people are good at it, while others are not perfect at networking. They can make mistakes, leaving a bad impression on the potential client, employee, or contact. So, what can you do about it? Knowing about the common mistakes people make while networking is one thing.
Then, you can improve yourself to ensure you do not repeat the mistakes. The blog discusses the common errors people make while networking and their solutions.
Common mistakes networkers make
Mistake 1: Getting someone's name wrong
One of the most common and embarrassing mistakes is to get someone's name wrong. Often, it happens, and if it does, you should apologize immediately. Moreover, you can practice a small tip to ensure you remember the names of the people you are meeting and networking with. When they tell you their name, repeat it.
For instance, say, ‘Nice meeting you, (name).' Keep repeating their name in your conversation a few times, and you will remember it.
Mistake 2: Talk too much
Are you someone who talks a lot, especially when you are nervous? Then, you should work on it because it is a networking blunder that can cost you, potential customers, or clients. You should talk and give a 15-second elevator pitch introducing yourself, your business, what you do, and your goals. That's it!
Continually talking about your business or trying to sell your business doesn't work. It will not help you network or create connections. Instead, listen to what people are saying and start a conversation. Do not hold people hostage; listen to make a meaningful connection.
Mistake 3: Forgetting your business card
A business card is an essential networking tool. When you exchange a business card with someone, you are giving them a means to contact you when they require your services. But what if you forget your business card? It happens more often than you think. And wouldn't it be embarrassing to share your number on paper? The solution? Stack your business cards everywhere.
In your car, in your pockets, and so on. However, the best solution is to get a digital business card. They are easier to share, and you don't have to carry a stock of them everywhere.
Mistake 4: Asking too much from a new connection
Go with the' give first' mentality at a networking event or even when you meet someone from a networking perspective. You should not approach a new connection to get a favor. It does not work that way.
Take some time after you break the ice and figure out what they can help you with. Try to build trust between you by messaging them on holidays, following up, and more. Do not be eager to get a favor; it will not help you build deeper and more meaningful connections.
Meet a new connection and offer them your help. Ask them if they need an invitation to an event, a referral, or more.
Mistake 5: Not going to face-to-face meetings
Are you still networking only on LinkedIn? Are you still attending virtual events? If yes, you are letting go of multiple opportunities that can help you get a job or further your career. Do not underestimate the power of physically networking with people. When you meet someone face-to-face, the chances of getting recommendations are higher.
Also, the option of saying no to unanswered emails decreases. So, make it a point to attend at least three networking events and meet-ups every month. It will help you make better connections.
Mistake 6: Ask for a job.
The networking event is full of people who might be looking for great employees. It is ripe with possibilities. But you cannot use this time to ask for a job (unless the event is for that). Use the networking event to make conversations, contribute, or ask a great question. Doing all this will help you make a great impression.
That is better, as it will help the people know what you can offer them, and using your digital business card, they can follow up with you and offer you a job or more. Use the event to make meaningful and lasting connections, not to ask for jobs.
Mistake 7: Do not talk with your mouth full.
It is basic etiquette, yet many people are still making mistakes. You should enjoy the networking event, eat, and drink, but in limit. You are there to network, not stuff yourself with pastries and champagne. So, the next time you are in the middle of a bite, keep your mouth shut. Do not contribute to a conversation unless you are empty-mouthed. Also, refrain from eating from the snack tray continuously while trying to make a conversation.
Mistake 8: Staying silent during a conversation
Often, conversations can get a lull; it is normal. But do not let it become the norm. You can avoid awkward silences by preparing ahead. For instance, know a few icebreakers to start a conversation with someone. Moreover, prepare questions you can ask the other people at an event. Do not prepare yes-or-no questions, as they can lead to lulls.
Mistake 9: Stay in an uncomfortable situation.
If you think someone is being rude to you or is being inappropriate, leave. If anything makes you uncomfortable, thank your contact and leave from there.
Mistake 10: Not take notes
At a networking event, you meet many people. If you do not take notes, you will forget important details like their names, what they do, etc. So, always take notes on your phone or the back of your business card.
As a human, making networking mistakes is okay! You will make mistakes, but if you are not learning from them, then it becomes a problem. Do you know most jobs are filled due to recommendations? So, making connections can help your professional career grow tenfold. So, ensure your network well and do not make such mistakes.