In any given week I can network with 100’s of job seekers and professionals in career transition. I see various levels of networking skills and savvy, as well mistakes. My hope is that by sharing these mistakes, job seekers and professionals alike will become much more effective networkers.
1. No eye contact. Have you ever been in a conversation with someone at a networking event and they are constantly looking over your shoulder for the next person the meet? Needless to say it doesn’t make the contact or conversation seem genuine or authentic. And the likelihood of you wanting to continue a business relationship with that person is slim to none.
2. It’s a one way conversation. People practice so hard to master their elevator speech or their pitch, they forget to practice general conversation and active listening skills. There couldn’t be a bigger turn off than a one way conversation. Good networking is a give and take, a two way street.
3. No business card. The biggest clue that someone is new to networking is that they don’t have a card to exchange so that the conversation can continue well beyond the initial meeting. Networking starts with a conversation that hopefully leads to a stronger business relationship and exchanging contact information facilitates that process.
4. No respect for time. I see this mostly with people unemployed. They forget that even though they have a lot of open time on their calendar, the person they are networking with very well may not. It is rude to monopolize a persons time. It will make them less likely to want to give you any time in the future.
5. Networking too soon. Too often I see people jump into networking before they are clear about their objective, their networking skills are sharp or they understand how to make the most out of networking conversations. Unfortunately what happens for those that jump in too soon is that they waste a good networking opportunity or they have to go back and do damage control.
Networking isn’t about asking for jobs it is about fostering professional relationships. Let us help you avoid these mistakes. Call Cultivating Careers to set up a 30 min. complimentary introduction meeting to help you become a skilled and savvy networker.