Whether you’re trying to land that perfect job, or find investors to help you fund your own start-up business after college; navigating the professional world rests heavily on your ability to establish solid relationships. Networking is a true and tested route to meeting people and locating companies that can help you jump-start your career. While it can be a daunting task for those just starting out, here are 7 mistakes to avoid when networking.
1.) Being Unprepared
Networking is only helpful if you have your own goals firmly in place. Walking into a networking event can be confusing if there are no plans to help guide you. Make sure you understand what you are setting out to achieve before you begin marketing your ideas to others.
If you say you’re going to attend a networking event, or take part in an online community of professionals…do it. Not showing up to a networking event will give others who may be able to help you the impression that you’re not serious about your goals.
3.) Refusing To Branch Out
If you don’t take risks in networking, it’s very possible you’ll miss out on some amazing opportunities. Don’t be afraid to reach out to a few unknown, or unlikely investors or employers. If you refuse to move beyond well-known networks, you could find yourself stuck in a competitive pool that is already full.
4.) Sticking To A Sales Pitch
Networking is about building relationships with others, and a relationship is hard to build if people constantly think you are trying to sell them on something. Make sure your conversations move beyond a sales pitch and into the realm of depth and meaning. Building trust is a sure way to create a successful network without the added sales pressure.
5.) Failure to Follow-Up
There’s no point in connecting with others at a networking event if you don’t plan to follow-up with them. Failure to touch- base once you’ve created a solid contact list will quickly earn you a reputation of being someone who isn’t serious or committed. Take time to follow-up with each of your contacts in a timely and courteous manner in order to maintain relationships.
6.) Limited Platforms
Once-upon-a-time, networking was exclusively a face-to-face event. Those days are long gone and have now been combined with social media and virtual events. Making sure to balance your presence between online platforms as well as personal events is imperative to your success. Attending a high-profile event may not be effective if your social media marketing is at a complete standstill. Take time to focus on both your virtual as well as physical platforms when it comes to building a strong network of contacts.
7.) Lack of Research
Failing to research clients, companies or contacts can make networking not only difficult, but also destructive. Approaching a potential client or employer without a clear idea of how their goals may match your own, could lead to a very awkward encounter. Be sure to know enough about your networking events and fellow networkers to be able to converse with ease and purpose.
Avoiding these common mistakes will help you approach networking with a focused and confident outlook. Having a clear goal, planning your events, researching your potential clients and keeping up with social media platforms will give you the competitive edge you need to stand out in the crowd. Above all, avoiding these mistakes will allow you to build strong and lasting relationships that will help boost your career or business. They’re small steps towards big connections that assist you in achieving your dreams.