5 Things The Best Connectors Never Do When Networking
Creating a positive networking experience is not rocket science. Here are the 5 things you should never do when connecting with others.
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Building and nurturing a strong professional network is more important than ever. However, with the constant pressure to build quantity rather than quality, it can be difficult to nurture true relationships.
Some of my most important advisors and mentors have been in my professional life for more than 20 years. As a member of many exceptional leadership organizations including Entrepreneurs Organization, Women Presidents Organization, and CADRE, I've established dozens of life-changing connections with other leaders around the globe.
Because I've taken a thoughtful, strategic approach to networking, I've had the privilege of building lasting relationships that have led to business, learning, mentorship, friendship, and much more.
Whether you are new to the workforce or a seasoned leader, here are 5 mistakes to avoid when you are seeking lasting connections.
Think Quality, Not Quantity.
When you attend a networking event, adapt a mindset of quality over quantity. There may be 200 people in the room. If you can make one significant connection, then that's a huge win. We've all been at events where we are talking with someone who is not truly present in our conversation. Instead, they are scanning the room to see if there is someone "better" they should be targeting. Don't be the person that isn't present.
Don't Be Closed-Minded.
I've been in situations where people want to talk with me only because of who I am, and don't want to talk with me because they have no idea who I am. One of my mentors taught me long ago to ignore titles when networking because titles never tell anything about a person, and should never be considered when building relationships. People are people. They are so much more than titles and positions. By only seeking out people with a certain level or position, we eliminate the opportunity to connect with so many others.
Remember That Networking is Not A Sales Call.
When meeting new people, resist the urge to jump into a sales pitch. Connecting with others outside of the office is a great opportunity to connect on a human level. Besides, people never buy your product or service. They buy trust, and security in the fact that someone has their best interests at heart, and you won't achieve this in a 45-minute conversation.
Don't Commit Unless You Mean It.
Integrity is everything, always. Don't agree to a follow-up call or meeting unless you mean it. Don't offer to introduce a new contact to someone in your network unless you mean it. Start your new relationships from a place of trust and dependability.
Don't Ask for Anything, Except This One Thing.
The only "ask" that's appropriate for a networking event is, "Can you help me understand how I can help you?" Then, once they share what they need, listen and take note. Be honest if you can help, and follow up soon after.
Before your next networking opportunity, think about the experience that you don't want to have. Then, promise yourself you won't create this experience for someone else.
By focusing on quality, open-mindedness, trust, integrity, and generosity, you will be able to create a highly positive networking experience for you and everyone you meet. Good luck!