To take full advantage of attending networking events, make the most of the time you have to connect with others. Since my recent posts have covered what to do when you are “in the room,” here are my tips on what not to do:
Don’t feel compelled to hand out as many business cards as you can. It’s not a competition to collect the most cards. Rather, concentrate on building relationships. It is better to meet fewer people who you will remember rather than more people who you will forget. Think quality, not quantity.
Don’t talk about yourself non-stop. There is nothing more tiring than someone who drones on and on about their wonderful self. Focus on the other person, not yourself. You will keep them engaged, and they will look forward to seeing you at future events.
Don’t wait for people to approach you…approach them first. This puts you in charge of the conversation. When it is time for you to move on, you simply thank them for their time and move on.
Don’t talk to the same person throughout the evening. You don’t want to monopolize one person’s time. Give that person the freedom to mix and mingle with other people.
Don’t scan the room for other people to talk to while you’re talking with another person. You will make the person you are with feel unimportant. Remain focused on the conversation and then break free to talk with other people.
Don’t spend a lot of time with people you already know, unless you have something specific you want to discuss or you want to spend a few minutes touching base.
When you approach networking in a strategic way, you will get the most out the experience and so will others.