Knowing the right people is important. Events are the ideal place to make those contacts. Sadly, not everyone has the same knack for making these kinds of social contacts. These are the 10 crucial mistakes people make in professional networking.
1. It's all about me
What do most people like to talk about? Right, themselves. However, when you make new contacts, it's not a good idea to only talk about yourself. Sure you can tell something about your qualifications and experience, but don't forget to show an interest in the person you're talking to.
2. Using false pretences to start a conversation
Try not to lie about why you're meeting with someone. If someone tells you he'd rather have a conversation about the company or the sector that that person works in, then you're not supposed to suddenly angle for a vacancy. If you do, it may well be the last time that person wants to speak to you.
3. Not being willing to help others
Networking is not a one way street. If you're not prepared to help your conversation partners in turn when they need it, it may well come back to bite you in the back.
4. Criticizing others instead of promoting yourself
In order to network, you have to promote yourself. So pitch yourself well, but not at the cost of others. Every experienced marketeer will tell you that slandering the competition will only make you look bad.
5. Only using your network when you need it
If you only contact the people in your network when you need a new job or assignment, your contacts will probably feel used. So maintain your network constantly.
6. Becoming too familiar
Try to avoid giving too much personal information to people who only know you professionally. People will quickly get the feeling that you're trying to pressure them with emotional arguments. Rather than doing that, convince them with professional arguments proving your added value.
7. Insufficient researching
If you're going on an interview or business meeting and show that you know little to none about your contact's company or sector, then that's a sure way to ruin your chances.
Never lie about your qualifications or experience. The truth will at some point catch up with you, and then it will not only harm yourself but also the people in your network who have helped you.
9. Being impolite
No matter how badly you need a contact, if you bother people at inappropriate times or in an exxagerated manner, you will strike them as being very impolite. Also, never forget to thank people, even if they have not been able to help you.
10. Demanding results
If you don't get the desired response after a conversation, then don't insist on your wishes. Sometimes the result of your efforts takes a while, and sometimes there won't even be a result at all. After all, no one is obligated to help you.