10 Networking Mistakes That Can Cost You Professional Relationships
These 10 networking mistakes may prevent you from forming valuable professional relationships. Are you making any of these 10 critical errors?
1) Being a shrinking violet
How can you network if you don’t get out of that dark corner and meet people? Being a shrinking violet is the #1 mistake that you can make while networking. You have to put yourself out there to start building professional relationships!
2) Relying solely on social media
Twitter follower ≠ professional connection. Adding a contact on social media is a great idea, but there’s no replacement for face-to-face networking. Put in the effort to meet in person, or if they’re not local, call them on the phone. You can make an intro on Shapr or start a conversation by using Twitter, but your relationship should go deeper than 140 characters.
3) Passing judgement too early
Networking is an art, not a science, so don’t judge a potential connection too quickly. Yes, we all have limited time and resources, and you can’t take the time to network with everyone. But that being said, you never know what will happen in your career, or when someone will turn out to be a helpful or inspirational person to know. If someone intrigues you, say hello!
4) Having too many drinks
Taking a connection out for a drink is fun and personal, and can allow your relationship to become friendly as well as professional. But that being said, make sure that you know your limits, and don’t lose control. Keep in mind every person you meet professionally could be a boss or a colleague one day. Save the shots for after your event or meeting.
5) Leaving your elevator pitch at home
Find a quick and easy way to explain who you are, what’s your side hustle and why you’re actively networking. Your conversation should extend well beyond a sales pitch and your focus should be to learn about your contact, but you also want to be clear about why you are an interesting person worth meeting. If you’re using Shapr to expand your network, use your bio section to write a short and snappy elevator pitch!
6) Forgetting to ask for a business card
Instead of handing out your business cards like candy, ask for the business card of the people you meet. This action shows you are serious about building a relationship. Be proactive in continuing the conversation, which leads up to an even bigger mistake to avoid…
7) Failing to follow up
Follow up, follow up, follow up. Networking can never be a one-off deal; you always need to follow up to turn a contact into an actual connection. Make sure to do everything you say you’re going to do, whether that’s checking out their blog, texting them your number, introducing them to another contact, or adding them on social media. This will show the other person that you’re serious about connecting.
8) Taking without giving
Networking should be about building relationships, not delivering endless sales pitches. Make sure to ask questions, take a genuine interest in their work, and offer to help when possible. Make introductions and referrals and try to be as generous as possible. Your network will hopefully return the favor later when needed, but expect nothing when you give.
9) Expecting tangible results right away
Don’t approach someone with the attitude of, “What can this person do for me right now?”, but rather, “Is this a good person to know in the long run?” In the same vein, don’t ask right away if someone has job openings, but rather, build relationships with people at companies you admire so they’ll think of you when they have an opening. Have patience, and you’ll be happy with the results.
10) Networking only when you need something
Networking is all about the long game, so don’t network only when you need something specific. If you start “networking” when you need a job or more customers, then you’re missing the point and will miss out on building lifelong relationships that extend beyond one favor. Make networking and meeting new people part of your daily routine, starting with downloading and utilizing Shapr!