Networking is a significant ingredient in your professional journey, and doing it right would set you ahead of your peers. But here is the problem, a lot of people think they’re networking, but they’re nothing but nusciance to whoever they’re networking with. To save you the embarrassment of networking fails, we’ve compiled a list of things networking is not. If you look closely, you might have committed one of these errors in the past. After reading this, go and sin no more.
It is not starting a museum of business cards
If you look at some people’s wallets, you’d be astounded by the number of business cards you find there. They have the business card of almost every professional in their field but do not have a working relationship with any. Don’t be that guy. Networking demands that you foster a mutually beneficial relationship, not being a connoisseur of cards.
Networking is not a market place
Every time you go for a networking event, you’re always trying to sell yourself, your business, or your brand; why? Yes, you go to these events to meet people to help your business or career, but how many people are there to buy? Instead, get to know people first before you start to pitch your ideas to them. Don’t shove your life story/problems at them; they don't know you yet.
It is not your autobiography; it’s not all about you.
Wait, don’t you think it’s selfish when you make networking all about you? You’re the only one that needs this today and needs that tomorrow without adding any value to your network. This can be draining for people in your network as they cannot rely on you for anything. Learn to give value as much as you receive value. Remember, your network does not revolve around you.
Networking is not being a ghost
If you disappear when you’re comfortable only to reappear when you need something, you’re doing everything wrong. Networking effectively means you have to continually check up on your network, ask for things you can do to help, and be present. Being a ghost doesn’t speak well of you and only paints you as being self-centered.
It is not talking too much
Dominating every conversation without leaving room for others to talk is nothing short of rude. Talking over people would only get you sidelined; sometimes you need to take a step back and listen. Listening is an underrated skill when it comes to networking. Also, listening would save you the embarrassment of talking to the extent where you start telling lies.
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When networking keep in mind that it’s a two way street. You cannot demand from your network, what you cannot give to your network.