We’re all busy individuals, and it’s straightforward to let things slide sometimes. However, when it comes to building connections, we need to be aware of a few common networking mistakes. Unequal giving and taking, believing false expectations and assumptions, setting unattainable goals, and overreliance on networking tools are all standard errors when beginning to network.
Unequal Give and Take
When forming a new professional relationship, it’s essential to show how you’re an asset to the other party. When you connect intending to offer value, you give the person a reason to continue the communication and connection. If the individual feels used from the beginning, he or she will not want to continue the relationship. It is important to give before taking when establishing a relationship with someone new.
When giving, you don’t have to be over-the-top. Merely providing a referral or even advice (assuming another person is open to receiving it) or sharing a resource can count as giving. Once you provide value, it paves the way to developing a secure connection.
Not Following Up
While networking is undoubtedly about making new connections, it’s also necessary to follow up to deepen those connections. It can be exciting to meet so many new people that it can be easy to forget to follow-up. It’s also necessary to follow-up individually with people to show them they’re important. Finally, following within 24 hours is also crucial, because this conveys to the contact that you want to pursue a connection and build a relationship. Failing to communicate with a person in a timely fashion could cause him or her to forget your conversation or cause him or her to think you don’t want a connection
Believing False Expectations and Assumptions
People develop or hold expectations of others often without even realizing it. One frequent example of this is assuming that others should automatically want to help you or care about your needs. Believing these false expectations sets you up for disappointment and sets others up for failure. While it can be difficult not to get your hopes up, it’s best to operate without expectations until someone tells you clearly what they can do. Also, don’t automatically make assumptions about your contacts based on their outward appearances or mannerisms.
Setting Unattainable Goals
Another standard error is setting goals that are unattainable in regards to networking. While it’s great to set goals for networking, assuming you’ll meet Warren Buffet next week is unrealistic. As is frequently the case with life, you often have to work your way up the chain of command when networking. Assuming you’re going to meet many useful contacts in a short amount of time is also relatively lofty. It takes time to establish genuine connections and build relationships. You must take into consideration that at some networking affairs, you may not meet anyone who can help you. It’s essential to keep your goals realistic to stay motivated. If you set your goals too high and then fail to meet them, you might become discouraged and stop networking altogether.
Overreliance on Networking Tools
Consider blogs, social media, virtual events, and structured networking events as networking tools. While these tools can help you meet new contacts, overreliance on these tools can make you lazy and cause your actual network to dwindle. While meeting new contacts is excellent, it is critical to communicate with them to build a relationship. Also, while online resources are great to utilize, they are no substitute for connecting with people in person. The tools are only as useful as the person wielding them; make an effort so that the resources can work for you.
Networking takes time, and because of this, sometimes, time management can become an issue. When developing your schedule, build in time for networking. Make sure to prioritize. For example, it’s more important to follow-up with a new contact than to have lunch with someone you just dined with two days ago. Additionally, make it easier on yourself by connecting online when possible, or organizing a group activity for several contacts.
Application bridges the distance between information and results. It’s imperative to maintain the interest of your contacts through online engagement or staying connected through email or another form of communication.