We’ve been busy hosting networking events over the last few weeks, and we’ve had a chance to reconnect with old friends and meet a lot of new friends as well.
It’s always fun to stand back and watch a roomful of people get to know each other, because great things can come from even a single conversation.
That’s why, in our Authentic Networkers meetup group, we have one rule: have a real conversation with the other person before you talk about your business.
(It helps break the ice and prevents you from coming across as a slimy salesperson.)
There are lots of lists out there of how to network appropriately, but sometimes it’s equally helpful to know the things you absolutely shouldn’t do.
Without further ado, we at Authentic Networker present:
Ten Things NOT To Do At Any Networking Event, Ever
- DON’T Blast their hair back with your business pitch. By all means, talk about your business once you’ve had that initial conversation. But not Every. Single. Detail. Of. Your. Business. It’s the fastest way to lose their interest, for good.
- DON’T Spend the whole event talking to people you already know. Yes it’s amazing to reconnect with friends! But make sure you circulate the room and talk to new faces. That’s kind of the point.
- DON’T Try to get to everyone in the entire room. At any event – no matter the size – you are bound to come out with a handful of solid connections if you make an effort at real conversation. If you rush through 35 speed pitches it will be nearly impossible to know who is worth developing relationships with later.
- DON’T Grill people you’ve just met for their connections. “Oh, you work at XYZ? Can you introduce me to Mr. CEO?” …. No. That’s a slimy approach. Stop it.
- DON’T Make promises you can’t keep. If you promise to make an introduction for someone, make sure you follow through on that after the event. Have somewhere to write it down (a smart phone works) so you don’t forget.
- DON’T Interrupt. Whenever someone else is talking, you’ll be tempted to jump in with your own stories. Curb the impulse and wait for your turn.
- DON’T Multitask. Don’t scan your smartphone (or scan the room) while other people are talking. It’s rude and yes, they notice where your eye contact is going.
- DON’T Talk more than you listen. Slow down and ask questions that get you to the bottom of who this new person is. Listen to their answers. You’ll be surprised at how much you learn.
- DON’T Ghost on the follow up. Reach out and follow up after the event. Tell people you enjoyed meeting them. Thank the organizers. A little courtesy will go a long way.
- DON’T Overdo the follow up. Just because you have met someone and had a good conversation with them, you are not automatically their best friend. Keep it professional.
Remember, we do business with the people we know, like, and trust.
Which means that your success in networking depends on how committed you are to building sincere, trusting relationships with the people you want to do business with.
If you’re new to networking, it can be overwhelming at first. Find a group that is the right size and style for your comfort level, and practice building relationships in a safe space. Relationships are built over time, so repetition is important.
If you’re a veteran networker: overconfidence can be a trap, remember your basic rules of engagement
I’ll leave you with one great tip to help you appreciate your fellow business owners, and that is to support their businesses over the holidays. If you have friends who have home businesses selling candles, or socks, or hair products, or skin creams, or photography, or crafty things, or anything appropriate to give as a gift… support those people’s businesses rather than buying from Amazon or Wal-Mart.
You’d be amazed at what one single act of goodwill does for your relationship with that person.