As the year goes by, networking events start to happen and people start to attend more. A couple of years ago I was attending a meeting where a marketing expert was guiding us on errors that people make during networking and how to avoid them. I want to share some I think can make the difference between a successful event and a less than optimal experience.
1. Not knowing how to interact with others. Let’s be realistic, it is hard to mix and mingle in a room full of strangers. If you understand that people who attend these events usually do not know others, then you are not at a disadvantage. Try starting the conversation with small talk and evolve from there.
2. Bringing a friend. Not that it is totally wrong, but if you spend the event with someone you know, other people may find it hard to “break the union” to introduce themselves. If you bring someone, make it clear that when you get to the venue you will split and go by yourself around the room to meet others.
3. Handing a business card to everyone at first sight. I’ve said it before, the purpose of networking is to make connections and to know the person before making any business deal or transaction. People feel uncomfortable when a total stranger insists on giving them their card and other marketing materials without getting to know them first.
4. Asking for everyone’s business card. Everyone knows you want to grow your email list and get more customers, but it makes an awkward situation when people ask for someone’s business card without first knowing what that person does.
5. Hanging out too long. You may have clicked right away with this person you just met and you may be having this great conversation going, but other people in the same space may want to know you too. You may be missing on meeting other equally great connections if you spend all the time with only one.
6. Drinking more than you should. While I have not yet seen this, does it need an explanation? You should know how much is enough and exert self-control. You most definitely don’t want people to remember you for the wrong reason.
I’m going to stop here now to keep the list short. I hope you can network successfully and if you are hesitant on connecting with new people, this helps break that barrier. If you are seasoned at networking, feel free to share your experiences.