1. Missing opportunities.
Networking doesn’t happen just during scheduled meetings. You could meet someone who’s a potential networking contact in just about any setting. The more prepared you are to switch into “networking mode” on short notice the more likely you are to maximize your networking results.
2. Ignoring the When and Where.
On any given day there are conferences, seminars, luncheons, steering committees, and any other type of business-oriented gathering you can think of going on. A lot of business gets done at these events. Make sure you have a presence at key events in your industry, or at events likely to attract people who can help you.
3. Jumping the gun.
This one’s simple: listen before you speak.
4. Poor timing.
Sometimes it’s not what you say that matters the most; it’s when you say it. Good listening skills can help you avoid timing blunders.
5. Out-of-scope networking.
You have only so many hours in a week to devote to networking—are you making the most of them by focusing on people who are good candidates for strategic alliances? Every member of your network presents potential opportunities, but not every relationship requires the same amount of time.
6. Stumbling out of the gate.
Get right to the point when introducing yourself at meetings. Your audience should know within the first 30 seconds who you are, and why they should be interested.
7. Casting your net too wide.
The more specific you are in stating what you need, the easier it is for people to help you. Let’s say you want to connect with real estate agents. By telling members what geographic areas you’re targeting, areas of specialty, and any other defining characteristics you make it easier for people to find a good match for you.
8. Taking before giving.
Who would you rather talk to: someone who wants to do something for you, or someone who wants something from you? Be a giver instead of a taker, and you’ll find that the rewards follow.
9. Passively accepting disappointment results.
So you’ve been networking for months, and you’ve yet to see any real payoff. You might ponder why this is while you keep doing the exact same things. Here’s a more productive strategy: talk to people to get advice about to be a more effective networker. Educate yourself about what’s missing in your approach, and make some changes in how you network.
10 Assuming you know enough.
Many people who’ve been networking for a while think they know all the ins and outs. But networking is like any other dynamic field: it changes and grows, and what was a surefire strategy in the past may be old news today. Not to mention all the fine points that can make the difference between so-so and stellar results. Do yourself a favour and start learning more about what works in today’s business world.
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I help You Generate More Business Through Networking Relationships, LinkedIn Training and Business Coaching