Networking may be a daunting experience for some, but hopefully with guidance on avoiding some of these blunders you will be able to sail safely through the sea of lead generation.
Blunder #1: Undervaluing face-to-face contact
With the advancement of social media, many people try to network through social media channels and email. Though this may be an effective way to meet loads of leading people in your industry, it is also easy for people to ignore you. It is important to go to business meet-ups in your area and meet the people face-to-face. Through this method, the people will get to see you, they will be able to build a better connection with you and are less likely to ignore you.
Blunder #2: Being selfish
Though you may network to bolster your career, it is important that you do not always ask for assistance. This will lead to your emails landing in the trash without being read. Therefore, try to build a rapport with your fellow colleagues and industry leaders. Try sending them an email or tweet when they get a promotion or achieve a great professional win, or if you read a cool article that reminds you of someone’s line of work pass it on to them. You could also send them an email to say hi and organise a coffee meeting to catch up and maybe ask them something specific about their industry that you are curious about. Furthermore, do research on your potential networking colleagues, so that you will be able to ask them precise questions about their place in the industry. This will help you stand out of the crowd as you won’t be asking stock standard questions. Additionally, it is important to listen carefully to what people say and be interested in their opinion.
Blunder #3: Not following up
This one is probably the most common. You have gone to the networking meeting, you have made many contacts and have a stack of business cards with great opportunities but then you let them sit for a couple days and forget to follow up. It is important to follow up on your leads as soon as possible. This will show your professionalism and also the seriousness with which you take your career. If you leave the follow-up for too long, your leads may think you do not care or that you think that you are better them. So try to get back to them within 24 working hours after you have made the initial contact.
Blunder #4: Being unprofessional
You may be attending a social networking meeting but this does not mean you should not behave in a professional manner. Though it may seem unfair, many people judge others by the way they dress and conduct themselves. As a result, it is important to ensure you are well dressed and behave in a professional manner when you attend these meetings.
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