Whether you are actively looking for a job or not, networking is valuable. If you believe building your network doesn’t bring any value to your career, then there’s a chance you may be doing it wrong.
I’m sure you know by now that having a solid LinkedIn profile is one of the most effective ways to make new connections. But how you approach each of those connections could be the difference between them being a viable resource or just another name.
If you’re going to spend time attending networking events, then it’s best to do it the right way. Here are some of the mistakes executives make when networking.
1. Talking Too Much
It’s normal to want to talk about yourself, since no one knows more about you than you. However, when you’re networking, it’s better to allow the other person to do the talking and just be a great listener. That said, you may want to throw in a story or two, or build on the points the other person makes, but try not to take control of the conversation.
Similarly to executive resume writing, using the right words is better than using a high quantity of words.
2. Not Talking to Enough People
It’s human nature to sometimes find an interesting person and spend the entire evening talking to them. But the point of networking events, is to talk to a variety of people to get your name out there more. To help you with this, take a look at your LinkedIn profile before the event and see which of your connections are attending a certain event. Write down a list of names or make a mental note about them and seek them out at the event.
When you’re a LinkedIn connection with someone, they should at least see your face as being familiar, at the very least. Even if you just introduce yourself and hand out a business card, it’s better than not speaking to that person at all.
3. Neglecting to Follow Up
All the great networking in the world won’t matter if you don’t follow up immediately. You don’t have to call, email or text them right when you leave the event, but consider visiting their LinkedIn profile afterward and thank them for the opportunity to talk to them. At that point, you can invite them to other events or see if they would like to get together with you individually to talk more.
You don’t necessarily have to follow up with every person you talked to at the event. But you should follow up with the people you connected with the most.
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