The do’s and don’ts of networking: part 2
In my last article on networking, I gave eight cardinal no-no’s of networking. Here are a few more things that you should and shouldn’t do in your business and job-search networking.
1). Collecting cards. What are you actually going to do with that card? Frame it and put it on your wall? Don’t take a business card from someone unless you actually, really and truly intend to call and set up a coffee. Cards cost money. When you take someone’s card, just to throw it away or stick it in a card file, you have cost them money for nothing. Very impolite.
2). Not writing information on the back of cards. One of the primary reasons that people don’t use the cards they collect at a networking meeting is that they get home and can’t associate a card with the face and the information about the person.
Jot down a thing or three on the back of the individual’s card as soon as you are finished, or even while the individual is talking. Few people are offended by this, as it shows you care about actually doing something with their card.
3). Waiting forever to call. Think of a pocket full of cards as if they were a pocket full of fish. After a couple of days, they really start to stink. Cards are very perishable items. If you wait more than about 48 hours to re-contact the person you spoke with at a networking event, you have a smaller chance each passing day of actually making professional contact. Set aside part of the day right after a networking event to make calls to people you’d met the night before and set up coffee meetings.
4). Cornering someone at a networking meeting. If you’re one of those people who corners someone to talk their ear off — shame on you! If someone gives you two or three minutes at a networking meeting, thank them and move on. Women – those high heeled shoes in the instep will serve to get rid of a boozy guy who has pinned you in a corner. Don’t be afraid to use them.
5). Public displays of “affection.” At one networking event I went to, one of the “ambassadors” hooked up with a young woman. The ensuing display was both graphic and highly inappropriate. If Cupid cannot be resisted, leave the networking event together and go to a more appropriate place, like a hotel room or someone’s home. But do not display yourselves for your business associates and colleagues to see. It will make you much less credible in the future, and, if you’re a woman, open you up to future unwanted advances.
6). Drinking like a fish. Some people see a networking event like most people see St. Patrick’s Day. An excuse to get drunk. This displays your lush tendencies to a future employee, colleague or employer. One or even two drinks might loosen you up a bit and take away some of the anxiety of a networking event. More than that — go home.
7). Refusing to network with those of the opposite gender. Some women only want to talk to women and some men only to men. I’ve noticed that those who do this no-no are usually shy with the opposite gender. Get over it.
8). Clustering with people you know. I’m always amazed at networking events when I see a cluster of my clients. I always go break them up at once. It is very foolish to go to a networking event to meet new people and then spend the whole event speaking with people you already know. Go talk to someone you don’t know yet. You can talk with your friends later.
9). Waiting for people to come to you. Yes, I know some people are shy, but hiding in the corner and hoping someone will talk to you is not an effective way of managing a networking event. Get out of the corner and meet people. Start with that other person in the corner, and encourage him or her to come with you as you meet new people. It helps.
Networking can open many doors to professional and personal success if it is done right. If you’re making networking errors, however, it can actually cost you a job, business and personal relationships. Network well and you will reap the immense rewards of being well known, well respected and well connected.
If you are an executive at the Director, VP or CXO level looking for a job, and would like to network exclusively with other executives, join John and 35 of your colleagues for Structured Networking, Monday, September 13th, 5:30 – 9:00 PM at the Denver Athletic Club. There is no charge and nothing is sold nor promoted. Go here for more information and required registration . No vendors, please.