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With the advent of the internet and social age, networking is the key tool to reach out to people across industries and stay abreast of job opportunities, information and trends. However, the one biggest networking blunder that most professionals make in their career is connecting with an intent or purpose and only when they are in need. This is a major faux pas.
There are some right and wrong ways to network, however if you are among those who hate to network and view it as a pretentious means to connect for benefits, then probably you’re wrong here. Networking is not just about passing out business cards and building a huge contact list. Networking is about building mutually beneficial relationships through time.
Attuning your mind set to open up and reach out to many more professionals in the industry with an aptitude to seek information and learning along the course, can lead to rewarding business associations in the future. Here are top 10 networking mistakes, every smart professional should avoid:
- Do not network only for need or greed. Some people network only when they are in situations of dire need and greed. This is one major networking flaw. Establishing a relationship post connecting, and building networks takes time. If you wait until crisis time strikes, and you then reach out networking to action, it never works. Professionals from small businesses to corporate leaders realise the importance of word-to-mouth marketing and regularly chip in networking meets as a part of their busy schedule.
- Do not network only during meetings and conferences. Do not limit your networking to only group meetings or conferences. Through networking you open up the possibilities to experience something new, so find time to quickly catch up with a long-time acquaintance or colleague over an evening or coffee to get social.
- Not following up with new contacts added to your network can make people forget you easily – or even worse you could give an impression to people that you are using their contacts. Learn to treat every new contact you make as your potential best friend and make time to catch up. Share information, offer assistance, and invite them to an event with a scheduled date to touch base.
- Do not leave dead ends in relationship. When you network without having any information to share, you actually end up leaving dead ends. Remember that networking is about mutual respect and involves two people; it is not supposed to be only about you. Look out for opportunities and introduce your new connections to someone you know. When people find you networking only for a job requirement, an informative source or benefits, they can actually see through your shallow networking efforts.
- Missing out on cues and hidden messages. When networking, a contact may refer about a new company, service or an article recently read. Do not just blindly ignore the suggestion or immediately take action, take a step beyond to ask intent behind the recommendation made. You might soon discover that the person would like you to get in touch with a contact for more information and meet. Stay alert with an open mind for more informative bit.
- Not knowing enough details about the contact you’re intended to meet. Know the person by checking on LinkedIn professional profile and running a Google name check to carefully study the background details of the person. Ask questions and take notes to delve further into the person’s background. Most people like to talk about their experiences, so lend them an ear to hear and show keen interest to understand their whereabouts.
- Do not leave a negative impression on the minds of people you network and connect with. Make every person you meet feel important as if they are the first and the only person you met. This is one big networking secret. Give complete attention to the person you meet, be courteous, polite and smile. Use his/her name to ask a couple of important questions, this could increase your chances of creating a positive good impression and be likeable.
These tips will soon make you a networking pro! Time to get started to network and stay connected on the go.
Image credit: jumpstartinc.org
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