I saw a couple of really good ones last week, and I decided it was time to do a Top 10 post on them. I’m sure there are ones I’ve missed, so please add yours in the comments.
10. Being inconsistent in image
This is a tricky one because it covers a couple of areas. One is being one person in one place or with certain people and presenting a drastically different image somewhere else.
The other way this manifests itself is in representing multiple businesses and not doing it well. In fact, doing it in a way that people think “Who are you today?”
There are effective ways to network multiple businesses, and I’ll cover them in an upcoming post.
9. Hanging with your friends
In large part, networking is about meeting new people. Yes, you need to deepen existing relationships, and reconnecting with people at networking events is a good way to do that. But spending an entire event talking to people you already know isn’t going to get you in front of new people.
8. Not describing yourself well
I did a post on this a while back. Not much more to say here except that if you can’t tell us who you are and what you’re looking for, we can’t be much help to you.
7. Too absorbed with food
Kind of like hanging with your friends. If your hands are full of food, it’s hard to be inviting. Greasy hands do not make fun shaking. And fumbling with food and business cards does not impress anyone. I suggest eating before the event and having only one hand full, preferably with a drink, not food.
6. Not evaluating your venue
Some events are good for you. Some aren’t. You need to evaluate your venues on a regular basis to be certain you are networking in the right places to meet your goals. Don’t just keep going to an event because you feel you “should.” Go because it works for you in some meaningful way. I think I can write a good post on that one too. Look for it soon.
5. Not having business cards
Last week at an event, I was introduced to someone who was supposed to be a fabulous networker. Naturally, I wanted to follow up with him so I asked for his business card. He “ran out at an event that morning.” I met him at 7:00 in the evening. No cards in his car? Really, no time to run back to the office to restock? I wasn’t impressed.
4. Being a networking horror
The networking horror is the person who makes you want to run away when he or she sees you across the room. I did a complete post on this syndrome last year. Read it for more details.
This is my favorite, and so I thought about making it number 1. But it isn’t, quite.
3. Not listening
Another big one and a good contender for number 1. If you don’t listen, you can’t learn about the other person, and you may seriously put your foot in your mouth. Remember the guy with no business cards? Well, he lectured me for several minutes on ways to grow my business. Most of them involved strategies I coach my clients in. He might not have lectured if he’d asked first what I did. Or asked if I wanted a lecture. Because I realized I could use him in a blog post, I was amused instead of offended. But what part of being a “great networker” involved not listening first?
2. Not giving
This one can be tough. It’s a fine line between good giving and giving away the farm. But we remember most the people who helped us. So develop a giving mentality. Bob Burg says it better than me in Go-Givers Sell More. Read the book if you haven’t yet.
So what’s number 1? Glad you asked.
1. No follow up
You can do all the other ones right and still shoot yourself in the foot by not following up. Meeting new people, listening and being willing to give do you no good if you don’t follow up on your commitments or stay in touch with the new people you’ve met. Persistence and good follow up strategies are the key to success for all salespeople, business owners and job seekers.
Remember the guy with no business cards? He took mine and promised to follow up with me for coffee. Guess what? I’m still waiting.