Networking is essential for both your present and future career path. It is all about creating connections and relationships with professionals both inside and outside of your company and industry. Networking should be a social way of talking business and interests; however, you need to be sure you don’t fall victim to these 3 common networking faux pas:
- Being unprepared
Prepare ahead of time and know answers to commonly asked questions– not to sound mechanical, but to be clear and concise. At networking events, doing your homework will come in handy and it will really show when you are able to proactively approach someone you’d like to connect with. It’s always a good idea to Google professionals and companies who will be attending the event so you are up-to-date with what’s going on in their career and business. It will also allow you to ask more insightful questions later on.
- Collecting business cards
Have you heard the term “quality over quantity”? – The same idea is applicable here. It is not about gathering as many business cards as possible. Instead, it’s about having candid conversations with experts. Get to know the person you are talking with by asking questions and actively listening to what they are saying instead of scanning the room looking for the next person you want to speak with. This way, you are building a real relationship instead of building a stack of business cards.
- Trying to be someone you’re not
Even though you may go into a networking event not knowing many people, be friendly and get the conversation going. The worst thing you can do is lie or pretend to be someone you’re not. No one wants to build a relationship with a person that is dishonest or comes across as a fake.
Before attending another networking event, remember to prepare, connect, and have fun. Do your research, talk with professionals from all different industries, and be honest. If you follow these easy rules of thumb then you’ll expand your professional network in no time!