Three Networking Mistakes I will never make again

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on May 2, 2011 in Marketing, Networking
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By attending networking events you can quickly grow your career. You will not land a new gig from every event, but the opportunity to do so is right in front of you.

Every year, I attend anywhere from 5 to 10 local networking get-togethers. Some are better than others, but I learn something no matter the outcome.

Unfortunately, I have made my fair share of mistakes over the years. Here are three networking mistakes that I will never make again:

1. Forgetting my business cards. There is nothing worse than striking up a good conversation, getting close to a deal, and not having a business card for the potential client. I have only made this mistake once, and never plan on doing so again.

Before you leave for your networking event, make sure you have a stack of business cards in your pocket.

2. Spending too much time with one person. The point of networking is to meet as many people as you can with hopes of generating new work. Getting tied down by one person for too long can inhibit you from meeting others.


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This has happened to me a couple times, but I am improving when it comes to getting to the point and moving on.

Tip: don’t cut somebody off in the middle of a conversation – this comes across as rude and kills your chance of establishing a relationship.

3. Being overly modest. Just like many freelance writers I don’t enjoy talking about myself. I have no problem doing so, but from time to time I shy away from this. When networking you have to be willing to provide others with information on yourself, your business, and what you can do for them. Be the best salesman you can be!

I don’t plan on making these networking mistakes again in the future. Hopefully you can avoid them as well.

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Chris is a full-time freelance writer based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He specializes in web content, sales copy, and many other forms of writing. Chris has two books in print, as well as hundreds of articles in local and nationwide publications.

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6 Comments

  1. John Soares May 2, 2011 Reply

    Good post Chris. My wallet is actually a business card holder, so I always have cards on hand. The card holder also has room for my driver’s license, a couple of credit cards, my insurance card, and an emergency $20 bill. (I keep my cash in my pocket, not in my wallet.)

    I also keep a stash of business cards in the glove compartment of my car.

  2. Carol Tice May 2, 2011 Reply

    Great tips — I’ve forgotten my cards, too! Now I have them turned into magnets — great way to get people to hang onto them. My paper cards also have a $5 off offer on the back, which tends to get them retained as well.

    Couple other networking tips here, including how I eat lunch for 2 1/2 hours at events and get a lot of leads: http://www.makealivingwriting.com/2011/04/22/find-writing-clients-eat-lunch/

  3. Freya Shipley May 2, 2011 Reply

    Thanks for this post, Chris. :) Number 2 is especially tricky for many writers, because we tend to be the kind of people who like deeper (& therefore longer) conversations. It just feels good to hang out with the person you’ve clicked with, rather than moving on. At networking events I try to have a target number in mind: “I’m going to meet eight new people.” (Or twenty, or thirty-two.) It helps keep me on task.

  4. Great article!

    I do think that #2 is not that simple… from my perspective, it’s better to have five “deep” conversations that actually create rapport and make people comfortable enough to remember you and like you then to meet 50 people, “trade” business cards, and then try to follow up with these people who remember you as a blur in the crowd.

    (imagine saying that it’s better to post 50 six word comments on 50 different blogs then five or ten though out ones that are meaningful and lead to further discussion. which would you think would accomplish more?

  5. Jon Stow May 3, 2011 Reply

    I agree we should never forget our business cards, but at the same time we should not hand them out to all and sundry, but only to those who ask for one. The reason we go networking is to build relationships for the future rather than to hunt for business straight away. If you got that close to a deal you were fortunate, but surely not having a card was not a deal-breaker?

    I agree with your other points. Be polite, but know when it is time to move on, and don’t be retiring and play the wallflower at the dance.

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