There are a lot of networking events you can go to, but none of them will turn out on your favour if you constantly commit mistakes while attending such events.
What are some of them? Here are a few.
To show up without a clear plan
While it is true that showing up is half the battle, knowing what one is going to do when there is the other half. It is always a good idea to have a plan of what you want to accomplish at a networking event. Know how many people to meet or which specific individuals to get to know before you arrive. Write a plan of how early to arrive at an event, how late to stay, and define the goals to be achieved will make a person a much more effective networker at live events. After all, how many other people at the event the think will have a written plan just for that event? Among all the networking tips for an event, this one alone will make one a winner.
Failing to connect more thoroughly
Make time to make a real connection with people during the networking event, instead of just throwing your business card at everyone you can and moving on. Leverage conversations for just that — conversations. Instead of mentioning your title and then quickly distributing your business card, feel free to go into detail, share your passion, your mission, your goals. The effort alone of working on deeper conversations opens up opportunities which may endear you to the person/people you are speaking with. For example, other people might get bored with meeting too many marketing experts, but would love to connect on a deeper level with a fellow golfer or fellow diver. One good tip is to find a point of commonality which you can pursue further. This will help you stand out among the 30 other people an influential CEO will meet at the event.
Sticking together with the people you already know
Networking is about meeting new people. As a matter fact the whole reason to go to a networking event is to meet new people. Therefore, when at a networking event, as diplomatically as possible, avoid familiar acquaintances. The more one knows a person the less amount of time that should be spent with them. That doesn’t mean that anyone is ignored but a simple handshake and hello is all one really needs to give to familiar people. Avoid getting caught up into a conversation with them. If one is truly working the event as an experienced networker, then the networker should already be in conversations with people they don’t know. That will alleviate any problems from people feeling ignored or snubbed.
Being a networking freeloader
If someone says they’re a financial planner, please don’t ask them for free advice. Although yes, it could be deemed as small talk, you’re asking for free information – information others will have to pay for, before it is given.
So if you’re talking to an accountant, financial planner, doctor or lawyer, let’s assume they have a closed for business sign above their heads. The piece recommends exchanging contact information and scheduling a follow up meeting. And at that meeting, if you truly have questions, get prepared to pay for their services.
Forgetting the golden rule
Give and you shall receive. In the networking environment, we earn the right to gain business by doing something for someone else first. Don’t expect people to place an order with you purely because you have introduced yourself to them. You must earn the right to ask a favour. And you do this by indicating your eagerness to help others out with their need first. Isn’t it great to be of assistance – even just by giving your expert advice – endearing yourself to others in the process? Others will soon feel indebted to you in the process, instead of the other way around.