Orlando, Florida—September 15th, 2021—Networking is a great way to meet new people, build relationships, and grow your business. However, networking can be tricky. Here are five mistakes that people make when networking. Learn how to avoid these common mistakes, and start building strong networks today.
Mistake #1: Not Having a List of Contacts
When you’re attending a networking event or party, it is very important to be prepared with a list of contacts. Using the internet and social media, you can actually put together a list of potential contacts you want to meet before attending the event. These are people you want to build relationships with. They could become future clients, people that could refer you to potential customers, or people that can offer goods, services, or knowledge to help your business grow.
I recommend making a list of ten people you want to me before going to an event. There are two very easy ways to do this. The first is to go to the event page and see who is attending, read their profile, and add them to your “Dream Business Connections” list. The second is to visit the event web page and see who the sponsors are, discover if any of the sponsors would be a good contact for you as a potential client, referral, or joint venture.
When you arrive at the event you now have a plan of who you want to meet. This will not only help you connect with people quickly it will have a ripple effect for you to meet everyone not on your list as well.
Mistake #2: Not Being Prepared
Too many times I see people coming to networking events and parties, and they are just not prepared. They miss out on opportunities to make contacts and connections for the future as well as growth for themselves and their company.
When you go to a networking party or event there are three key things you need to be prepared for success. First of all, how are people going to get in contact with you and follow up? This can be done through the use of business cards (traditional or old fashion), a digital card that you can text or tap to exchange info, or a QR code.
If you do forget your contact materials, another simple method, but often forgotten, is to just type the name, phone number, and emails into the contact section of your phone and add them to your contact list. I always recommend when doing this, to save the name of the event in their contact name and then send a short text to them, saying Great to meet you, with your first and last name afterward. That way, not only will they know it’s you. The next day, you can refer back to your text messages sent to remember who you met the night before. Otherwise, they will get lost in your sea of contacts.
Key number two, for being prepared is to look the part. You want to look polished, well dressed, and groomed. You do not want to come in sweaty after a workout or look like you just rolled out of bed. You want to come in dressed to impress as if you were going to meet the client of your dreams because you just might.
Key number three is all in the name. Take the stress off of people having to remember so many names or forgetting your name if they met you in the past. It’s simple, just wear a name tag. They are usually provided for free when checking in at a networking event. However, you can tell the pros when they have custom name tags already created.
Mistake #3: Talking Too Much
There is nothing more annoying than the person who talks too much. The person who doesn’t read the uncomfortable body language, the person who plows through a conversation as no one else exists. It is very important to not be that person!
Be the person who is listening and attentive. Have you ever heard that saying, the last person to speak wins? I want you to win.
People enjoy talking about themselves, which is why we fall into this trap very often, naturally. It is important to be conscious of this, take a step backward, and allow others to speak about themselves. While you listen, make eye contact, smile, and follow up on their stories with questions getting them to talk more.
If you can master this skill people will gravitate towards you, they will remember you, and they’ll want to build relationships, partnerships, and businesses with you.
Mistake #4: Talking Too Little
When at a networking event, you need to make an impact so people remember you. If you are the quiet person in the circle you may be forgotten. The people interacting are the ones who leave an impression.
I know this can get a little confusing because in mistake #3 I told you not to talk too much, here is the way around that. In order to speak without speaking too much, it is important to ask questions. This way you’re interactive, speaking, communicating, and people are excited and engaging with you. You become a leader heading conversation, yet allowing others to feel empowered.
By empowering others to tell their story and not speaking about yourself you become liked and trusted by others.
Mistake #5: Not Following Up
So many times people go out of their way getting dressed up, driving through rush hour traffic, spending money going to these networking parties, having cocktails and appetizers, and they go home with dozens of business cards yet do nothing with them. It’s just a waste.
If you’re gonna put the energy into it, follow up. The big growth happens after the event not during the event. The power is in the follow-up.
If you connected with people at the event on social media, shoot them a message say hey it was great meeting you. If you got their business card, drop them an email or maybe even make a phone call. Try to schedule a Zoom meeting where you guys can chat one on one, or meet in person for coffee or lunch.
A great reason to follow up a month later and build the strongest relationship is to invite them to go to the next networking event with you.
There is power in numbers!
The growth is in the follow-up.