The Top 5 Behaviours to Avoid when Networking

“The single greatest "people skill" is a highly developed & authentic interest in the other person.” -Bob Burg

Networking plays a pivotal role in the success of your business. Whether you have been networking for years or just starting out, there are some things you should keep in mind to help ensure you get the most out of your efforts. It is important to be self-aware when networking, and ensure you are presenting yourself in the best way possible. Read on to learn more about some behaviours to avoid when networking so you don’t hinder your chances of developing valuable relationships. 

Being self-centered 

Networking is built around the foundation of mutual benefit and understanding. The best way to kill a conversation or potential relationship, is by focusing entirely on yourself. While you want people to get to know you, it is more important to learn about others. Find commonalities, ask engaging questions, and dig deeper into conversations to discover how you can add value to others.  

Being aggressive 

Being proactive is much different than being aggressive. It is important to get the most out of your networking opportunities but, coming off too strong, can be an instant turn off for people. Listen to what people are saying, respect their boundaries, and honour the word, “No.” Remember, you won’t connect with everyone you meet, and it’s vital that you don’t try to force a relationship that isn’t a mutual benefit to everyone involved. 

Being negativ

Nobody wants to be around Debbie Downer. Therefore, it’s imperative that you don’t walk into a conversation and be negative. People who are constantly complaining, gossiping about others, or speaking poorly are usually not received positively. Alternatively, try to maintain a positive attitude when interacting with others, and focus on solutions rather than problems. 

Being an interrupter

Interrupting or inserting yourself into a conversation can be interpreted as rude behaviour. If you are interested in contributing to a group who are already engaged in conversation, quietly join and wait for your turn to speak. It is also important to engage in conversations that have meaning and are important to you. Therefore, don’t interject just for the sake of hearing your own voice. You want to add value and be authentic in your conversations so be mindful of what you are saying, how you are saying it, and when you say it. 

Being a bad listener 

Be engaged in what others are saying. Use affirmative body language such as nodding your head in acknowledgement and making eye contact. Try to stand with your arms relaxed at your side rather than having them crossed. This body language might be perceived by the speaker that you disagree or are shut off from what they are saying. Follow up the conversation with meaningful questions or commentary. If you relate to the speaker, share your thoughts and personal connection.  

We understand that there are many things to think about when networking. However, keep these tips in mind: remember to be yourself, be authentic in your interactions, and take each networking opportunity as a chance to learn, grow, and meet some interesting people along the way. 

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