Networking is not all about falsities, brown nosing and smoozing your way to the top.
It is about creating relationships, building a community, supporting others as you grow together. Having a strong network around you is hugely beneficial to you no matter what stage of your career your are at, helping you to exchange ideas, discover new opportunities whilst also helping you to grow in confidence and in status.
But whilst many people are desperately trying to network, showing up at the right events (ahem…. zoom call), they are not seeing the real benefits of results that they should. So where are they going wrong?
Here are 3 big mistakes people are making when they network.
They don’t consider ‘why’ they are networking
Networking for networking’s sake is great, you meet people, have nice conversations, but that’s it, you don’t see the real benefits you could be seeing, supporting your career growth and also your own personal development, instead you just float through the evening not really having achieved anything.
Instead of just turning up, take time before the event to consider some of these questions:
– Why are you networking?
-What are your goals for the event? Are you networking in order to change your career, or develop in your current role, or to find a different role within your industry?
– What do you want to know?
Thinking of some of these questions before the event, helps you to frame the objective of the evening so that you can take the right action to achieve more with your networking.
Not doing the right research
Any networking is good networking right? Yes, but we are not talking about good networking we are talking about great networking. Networkingthat is actually going to help you really shift gears in your career.
But too many people take this stance and just go to any networking event, even if it’s not really applicable to them and their career, even if the people who are going are not the people who are going to be able to support you in your goals. By doing, even a small, amount of research in advance about different networking opportunities and considering which one is going to provide the most value for you could save you a considerable amount of time and energy going from one networking event to the next.
Decide which is going to give you most value and spend time before researching who is going so that you know who you want to speak to.
Forgetting your P&Qs
At any one networking event you may meet dozens of people and whilst you may ‘hit it off’ with certain people, it’s easy to forget someone (even if you did give them a snazzy card).
So make sure you follow up with an email, or a message on LinkedIn (or the most appropriate channel of communication). Taking this action is simple, it’s polite but it can make you more memorable to said person, which helps you to build a relationship long term.