One word you often hear now that you’re fresh in your job – networking. It may not be something everyone enjoys but when it comes to your career, it’s good for you. Whether you’re at an official networking event or at a function with your industry peers, there’s never a better time to get to know others and who knows, maybe even future career opportunities. If anything, it’s to get your name out there and finally meet the industry gurus.
Like everything else when it comes to your career, there’s a right way and a wrong way. Here, we talk about the wrong ways to network.
#1 Eagerly handing out your card
One way of introducing yourself is to hand out your business card. But if you are going from person to person literally throwing your card at everyone and anyone, that’s not going to look professional. Instead, take time to properly introduce yourself, make some small talk and then only take your card out and offer it when you are about to leave the conversation. You have a better chance of being remembered doing so.
#2 Pretending you’ve met someone
When you attend a lot of networking events, it can be a blur on whom you’ve met and whom you think you’ve actually met. But don’t make that terrible mistake of pretending you’ve met someone just to be polite! If you’re really unsure, leave it up to the other person to acknowledge the fact of whether you’ve met or not.
#3 Not remembering someone you did meet!
And on the flip side – introducing yourself to someone you’ve already met either at another event or worst, earlier at the same event! It’s possibly the most embarrassing situation to be caught in, especially when you forget their name or who they are – and if they are some big wig somewhere. So do your homework before attending the event. And if you need help remembering those you’ve met, you can make notes in their name cards (write down distinctive information about that person).
#4 Not paying attention
The most important thing when you’re networking? Pay attention! Sure, you may be making small talk but nothing is more rude than talking to another person who is busy checking their phones or scanning the room for other networking opportunities. Give the person you’re talking to your full attention.
#5 Getting a VIP’s name wrong!
You signed up for that networking event because you know a lot of CEOs and important people will be there. This is your chance to impress. So don’t spoil it by calling the VIP a different name! Again, do your homework before attending the event and get to know exactly who will be there. Read up on what the VIP is currently involved in or past accomplishment to bring it up during your conversation. Be careful not to gush though. Nobody likes a shoe polisher either.
It’s literally career suicide if you are caught gossiping at a networking event, especially about someone whom others might be close with or know pretty well professionally. You may think sharing a few inside details is a good way to break the ice... think again. All that you’re establishing is that you’re unprofessional.
#7 Non-stop talking
Sure, networking events can cause some anxiety; especially if it's your first. When nervous, some people end up talking and talking because they are unsure of what to do. Take a deep breath and go easy on the chatting. Instead, ask questions and follow up with sincere responses. You don’t have to do all the chatting! Plus, the more you talk about yourself without being asked, the less the person you’re talking to will pay attention.