things not to do when networking
I was at a great event this morning. There was a combination of opportunities to learn in workshops and time for networking – a great combination in my opinion.
Just before the break for lunch we had a “speed networking” session where we were challenged to introduce ourselves to people we had not already met and learn something about each other in 3 minutes. It was great fun and and the energy levels really got a boost.
But many people view networking as a chore – or find it terrifying. Others consider it a means to an end leaving those they meet with a less than positive impression.
Getting a benefit from networking is relatively straightforward but it might help to look at things you should avoid doing to see what good practice looks like!
Do all the talking
Do you find that you don’t know anything about the person you just met? Why might that be? Could it be that you talked about yourself so much that they could not get a word in edgeways? Next time how about asking questions too.
Only pretend to listen
You learned in a guide to networking somewhere that you should only spend 5 minutes with each new person you meet. This means that you have to keep an eye out for the next interesting person who comes into view and be sure that you cut the current conversation short. No amount of nodding, smiling and saying “uh huh” regularly will convince who you are talking to that you are listening – your body language will be leaking all the signals anyway!
Go straight for controversial
You’ve scanned the room and found a couple of people deep in conversation you think would be worthwhile speaking to. You move in to join them and realise that they are talking about something you fundamentally disagree with – so you tell them. Most people will be too polite to walk away immediately – but you can bet you’ll find yourself on your own pretty quickly. Timing is everything..get to know people first before bombarding them with your views!
Cut to the chase to quickly
You’re still working to your 5 minute plan so you talk and listen for a couple of those minutes and then get down to the nitty gritty of selling your stuff. Despite the fact that you don’t know nearly enough about what they are interested in you are in full sales mode. How often does that convert?
The business card brush–off
You’re done and ready to move on so you delve into your pocket( or bag) where you have a ready stash of business cards and hand them out as you move onto your next “target”. Just a thought …how many business cards do you get from other people….?
OK this was a bit tongue in cheek…but based on what has really happened to me!
Any more to add???
By the way if you want to learn how to network effectively why not come along to the Career Hub Scotland workshop on the topic on 3rd October in Edinburgh.