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Thursday, April 07, 2016

10 Networking Mistakes You Need to Avoid in Your Career


In our technologically overloaded world, networking online is easier than ever—and it’s easier than ever to get lost amid a crowd of others who want the same job, sales lead or connection you do. That’s why positive personal contact or a reference is critical. “Most people think that they should start networking when they need something, like a new job or an introduction to someone,” Tatiyants says. “In reality, you should network all the time, and have people in your networking circle that you can tap into whenever you need something. Plus when you network without a self-serving agenda, you can focus on helping others with their needs. … In essence, networking is like planting seeds: you can’t expect to reap what you sew overnight. Relationships and trust take time to develop, so nurturing those relationships is what networking is all about.”

Sona Tatiyants, an estate-planning attorney outlined these disasters that commonly happen at networking events:

You don’t have a clear plan why you’re there: “I know a lot of people who just show up and don’t know who will be there, and haven’t done any homework ahead of time,” she says. If you can get a list of who’s attending, or even which companies are sending people, that can help you hone your connections.

Business card faux pas: Even worse than not bringing one is collecting them all and putting everyone on your email list without permission. Not cool, but it happens a lot, she says.

Not networking: When you only talk to your colleagues or friends at an event, you’re missing untold opportunities. If you’re an introvert, make a goal of talking to a minimum number of people and then allow yourself to leave after that. You may be surprised.

Getting the name wrong: Everyone makes mistakes and some unusual names sound like names you already know. But when you follow up, there’s no reason to misspell a name. Double-check, especially if it’s something with multiple spellings such as “Brian/Bryan” or “Christi/Kristy.”

Read: 10 most common career mistakes You need to Avoid

Getting drunk: It’s easy to cross the line between having fun and making an idiot of yourself in front of colleagues and potential employers or clients. Drinking too much is probably the most amateur move you can make at an event.

Getting the sexy on: A business networking event isn’t the place to make a move, hand out compliments on someone’s looks or clothes, or ask someone on a date. Don’t offer anything remotely romantic unless you’re absolutely, beyond sure that there’s mutual interest—and even then, wait.

The hard sell: Of course you want to let people know what business you’re in and how you can help them, but anything smacking of a hard-sell will work against you. “This could be very uncomfortable. I’ve had more than one financial planner try to sell me an annuity or another financial product during a networking event,” Tatiyants says.’re in and how you can help them, but anything smacking of a hard-sell will work against you. “This could be very uncomfortable. I’ve had more than one financial planner try to sell me an annuity or another financial product during a networking event,” Tatiyants says.

Flaking out: Don’t promise to send a link, make an introduction, or call back. Not only do you look like you can’t follow through, you’ll be in a terrible position if you ever need a favor from that person.

No “elevator” pitc
h: If you can’t clearly and concisely describe what you do, nobody else will understand it either.

Clubbing it: Don’t overdress or underdress, watch the cologne, check your breath, and if you must smoke, do it afterward. It’s that “first impressions” rule, and it’s a rule because it’s true.

Forbes

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