Networking is quite detrimental in one’s career. Whether they are doing it in the office or the job search. As a serial career networker, one might already know the various pitfalls to avoid in order to make meaningful connections with people who could be of benefit to their career growth.
Take Gerald for example, he has been attending career networking events for quite a bit and as he mentions, “I have become an expert now and I am able to converse well with people from all walks of life. I used to be naturally shy, timid even when it came to meeting new people or exchanging ideas with them. Time, practice and a little bit of patience harnesses this.”
Feel the same way or do you just loathe idea of networking? Below are 4 networking mistakes you should avoid or stop making.
1.Making it all about yourself
As you all might know, networking is about building relationships. Networking is not just about what “YOU” are all about or what “YOU” been planning to do with your life or what “YOU” plan to do.
They’re about “we.” If you find yourself talking a whole lot about yourself—telling multiple stories about your career, college life, personal interests—slow down. Try to listen more than you talk. Ask questions and then listen to responses. Attempt to ask one more question, and after hearing the response, find out one more interesting thing about the person you’re talking to.
2. Being in your head all time
We all do it, thinking about how we look, our appearance, are you smiling too much? Are you not smiling enough? It can be quite a spiral into a never ending rabbit hole.
When you do this, you are unable to be in the moment. And what this does is that you find yourself not focusing on the content of conversation—on who people are. What you have to remember is that networking is about building relationships with people. If you’re swept away by what’s on the surface, you will be unable to dig deep and ask people meaningful questions, remember what’s said, or make genuine connections.
3. Being anywhere else but at the event
A scattered mind can do that and all you have to remember is to smile and engage those around you. It’s free, and makes people feel welcomed. That can open up more people to talking or engaging with you, and help ease into what is hopefully meaningful conversation and connections.
Standing in the corner, looking bored, can draw negative attention to yourself. And that’s the last thing you want to do at a networking event!
4. Assuming you already know everyone
While it certainly makes sense to cultivate connections with people you already know, it may be beneficial to broaden your professional horizons. Meeting new people often results in learning more about your industry or gaining valuable business insights in addition to getting leads. Reach out beyond your current circle of colleagues to expand what you know, as well as who you know.
If you are a beginner, remember that networking events can be challenging, especially for those who are uncomfortable in larger social settings. Don’t make them more challenging by falling into these common networking pitfalls.