Whether you choose to network with others in social groups online or through local career networking events, the way in which you approach and make new contacts matters a lot. This activity can be stressful, especially if you do not know anyone yet. Finding a way to break the ice can be difficult, but it is necessary for you to succeed in building a strong network of contacts who can help you down the road.
Avoid Talking to Those You Already Know
When you go to any networking event, there is nothing wrong with acknowledging people you already know, but do not make a habit of hanging out with them only. This will limit you in the time you have to meet new people and can make it seem like you have alienated yourself from the rest of those in attendance.
Forgetting to be Yourself and Staying Connected
Try to be yourself as much as possible, even if it means being honest about your reservations or nerves surrounding the event. Make it a point to hand out your connection card to as many people as you can to help boost your network. Follow up on social networking sites to stay connected to new people.
A Lack of Confidence
Confidence is important to have at a networking event. This is especially true when you are in front of everyone else. People can read body language well and they can spot someone who does not have confidence. Keeping your head down, making a beeline for the coffee, does not offer a good first impression to those around you. When you stand in the middle of the room and take in everything going on around you, it exudes confidence and lets people know you mean business.
Failure to Offer Introductions
Do not be the person who is open to being introduced to hoards of new people, but who rarely hands out introductions to others. It is always best to reciprocate when at a networking event. If you know other people who are in attendance, be sure to introduce them to people you are meeting for the first time if the connection can help them. Do not just take invitations and fail to reciprocate. This will harm your chances of building a strong network and even give you a bad reputation within networking circles.
Bring your business or personal connection cards with you to any networking event. However, you do not want to give them to just anyone. Instead, you want to build a rapport with those whom you talk with at the event and then decide if he or she should receive your business card. This will help you build a strong network of connections.
If you avoid the mistakes outlined in this post, you will succeed at networking events more often than not. Also, make sure that you always follow-up with people you meet at these events in order to show them how serious you are about forming a relationship.