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Networking 201 – The Mistakes People Make

This week we have looked at the process of networking for business from a slightly more advanced perspective.  Let’s now look at the mistakes people often make in their networking efforts.  Much of this effort is simply the converse of what we have already indicated this week, but I want to drill home the importance of business networking and of doing it correctly! 

  1. Not Networking – the biggest mistake is to allow the demands of running a business prevent you from the important task of networking in your local community. For our purposes now, social networking on the internet is not the same thing.  Linked-in is not community networking. Don’t be so involved in your business that you don’t spend time on your business!
  2. Poor effort – just showing up doesn’t count. Prepare.  Go in with a plan. Look the part, know the group, have your own story polished.  We covered this material this week, so take the time to review before your next networking opportunity.
  3. Being inappropriate – If you are a bigot, your options are limited.  If your idea of humor is off-color jokes, you will find only a small set of groupies in a business crowd.  If you wear your political affiliation on your sleeve, 50% of the people you meet will head the other direction.
  4. No Targeting – be specific in your planning and networking activities. Your event planning should include knowing the group and, if possible, who in the group you want to meet.
  5. Taking instead of giving – go with the intent of finding ways to assist others achieve their goals. If you assist others, show interest in them and you are authentic in your approach, your networking efforts will be far more successful. Give first and the getting will take care of itself.
  6. No Follow Up – A pocket full of business cards does you no good if you don’t follow up your efforts.  Reach out to the people you meet at networking events.  Tell them you enjoyed the meeting.  Offer to assist them in whatever way you can.

It is easy to neglect networking and to treat it as an artless effort.  In reality, however, it is one of the most potent arrows in your marketing quiver. Networking requires little capital and with a bit of practice anyone can do it. Most importantly, however, it favors those who are prepared to work it like a professional.

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