Breaking into a group of 2
When choosing who you want to network with at an event, it is important to look for groups of three or more people. When just two people are conversing, their conversation could be personal. Breaking into a group of two can feel very intrusive and rude to those who are engaging in conversation. When I hear a complaint about how “rude” those two were … and how “they acted like I was an inconvenience when I tried to talk with them” … I have to shake my head. Guess what??? You were an inconvenience! You were the rude one to break into an intimate conversation! Look for a larger group next time and your popularity is sure to rise … Breaking into groups of two is costing you dearly.
Handing out your card without being asked for it
Protocol is this: You give someone a card when asked for it or when you ask permission. We have all experienced the person who touts “You want my card? Here’s my card, Here’s my card!” Enough already. Those cards are going in someone’s trashcan. It you desire a card at a networking event, ask for it. “May I have your business card?” If you want to give someone your card, simply ask permission. “May I give you my business card?” Pushing your card on others has exactly the opposite affect that you desire. You are trying to get your name out there and make an impression. It makes an impression alright … but it is a really bad one. Practice permission-based card dealing. Your chances of winning the round will go way up.
Holding your drink in you right hand
We have all had that awkward moment when someone introduces themselves, extends their hand and we are caught off-guard. When at a networking event, be sure you hold your glass in your left hand. This leaves your right hand free to shake. It also ensures that you do not have condensation on your hand so when you do extend it you won’t leave a clammy imprint on the other person. Fumbling around with your drink to connect or extending a wet hand is easily avoided by simply holding your drink in your left hand. This is a big mistake with an easy fix.
Talking about yourself first
The whole purpose of networking is to connect with others. Of course you want people to know about you and your business … so shouldn’t you talk about yourself to others when networking? Absolutely, you need to be prepared to talk about yourself and what you do … but not first. Create conversations by being genuinely interested in the other person first. Let the conversation flow back to you and what you do. Try to find things in common with people. Yes, we are all different. However, we are still 99% the same. We are all human beings and every single one of us has a story to tell. Ask about the other person first. Then you will have the opportunity to speak about yourself if it is the right time. Trust the process of connecting. The connections you desire will happen, but not if you talk about yourself first. Yuck. Bad networking mistake!
Failure to introduce yourself
The number one mistake that costs you dearly at networking events is the failure to introduce yourself. Or if you do introduce yourself, the introduction is so fast or mumbled that no one even heard your name. Poor introductions are no better than no introduction at all. Have you ever had a conversation with someone and later a friend asks you who that was. You reply “I have no idea, I didn’t even get their name!” We spend countless hours with people whose name remains a mystery to us. For goodness sake, when you go to a networking event introduce yourself! Speak clearly and slowly making eye contact with the other person. If you don’t, you may be known as good ‘ol what’s their name who was at the networking event. Introducing yourself is the way you present yourself to the world. Learn how to do it right and make it count.