The other day I attended a workshop on Networking and was reminded of a few items I want to share with you. One of the topics that peaked my interest was the conversation on Networking Etiquette. At networking events, we have all come across someone who did not follow the etiquette rules of networking. So don’t be the person whose business card is thrown away just because you used poor judgement. Here are my tips for dealing with a networking faux pas.
– The time suck: We all know this person… they cannot stop talking about themselves. Not only that, they just keep talking and talking and talking! They don’t pause long enough for you to make a graceful exit. Tip: Keep your answers and stories to 2 minutes or less in order to give the person you are talking with a chance to speak or wrap up the conversation.
– The business card thrower: This person doesn’t take the time to get to know you. They just stop by and hand you their business card and then move on. The worst version of this is where there are people sitting at tables. The thrower will literally thrown down his cards on the table in front of you and move on. Tip: The goal is not how many business cards can you hand out. The goal is how many people you can connect with. Just handing out or throwing business cards around does not mean you are connecting with them. They have no reason to utilize your services or even remember you.
– The refuser: This person wants you to have their card so you can help them, but they politely decline your card. They clearly don’t know the phrase “givers gain”. Tip: Networking is about developing relationships. It is not about “what can you do for me”? Think through how you can help the person you are speaking with.
– The scanner: This person is speaking with you, but is always scanning the room for other people to talk with. They make it clear that they are not actively listening to you. Tip: Actively listen and pay attention to the person you are speaking with. If you need to end the conversation, do so gracefully by letting them know it was great to meet them, and get their business card.
– The bulk emailer: This person sends the same “nice to meet you” note following the networking event to everyone she met. Tip: Your follow-up notes should be personalized to the person you spoke with. The majority of the email might be the same, but make sure to personalize each follow-up email to the conversation you had. How can you remember all of the conversations? Ask yourself: What is on the back of most people’s business cards? The answer: Nothing. This is a great space for you to jot down notes about the conversation and any follow-ups you have promised to complete.
If you recognized yourself in the roles above, that’s okay, now is the time to learn from it. Networking is not easy, but with practice you can get better at it.
What type of networking violations have you seen? Let us know in the comments section below!
Amy Wolfgang is a career coach who founded Wolfgang Career Coaching and co-founded Coaching 4 Good. She brings over 15 years of corporate and coaching experience to help organizations boost employee engagement while simultaneously helping her clients excel in their careers. She is a certified PCM (Professional Career Manager) and has a Master’s degree in Educational Psychology from The University of Texas at Austin.
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