There are tons of tips out there telling you how to get the most out of networking events. I’ve shared questions to ask and what to bring. But let’s talk about what you should NOT do at networking events. Make a good impression by avoiding these seven bad habits.
Stop with the bad handshakes.
Think of your handshake as your first impression. What do you think when someone has a limp handshake? To me, a limp handshake can come off as disinterested and not engaged. Start the conversation off right with a firm handshake and eye contact.
Stop talking about yourself.
If all you do is talk about yourself how are you supposed to know if anyone at the event can help connect you to people or industries who need your product or services? Ask some open-ended questions and then BE QUIET!
Stop your pitching.
Networking is not the same as selling! Networking events are designed to help you expand your network and yes be connected to people who may know others who need your products or service. Focus on building a relationship and referrals and leads will come.
There may be free drinks at the networking event, but moderation is key. I’m not saying you can’t have a drink – I am always in the mood for a delicious glass of pinot noir – but my advice is to limit it to one drink per event. If you are getting buzzed, I doubt you are making the most of your time and potentially might be giving off bad vibes to others. Remember people are judging you based on your actions and you don’t want to damage your chances at being given a lead because of your drinking habits.
Stop looking for a job.
If it is common practice for you to carry around your resume with you to networking events, even if you are looking for a job, you are doing it all wrong. Reach out after the event if you are serious about job opportunities with a specific company but respect the purpose of the event and focus on networking!
Stop going to networking events with friends.
There is nothing worse than attending events where your goal is to meet new people than attending with people you already know, especially a friend. It is automatically more comfortable to stay with the person you know, and this could hinder your ability to meet new people. You may just miss the connection to the lead you have been looking for because you are comfortable staying in your bubble.
Stop looking for your soulmate.
Sure, you might show up at a networking event and meet someone you think is good looking, smart and funny. But this is not the time to tell them or ask them out. I REPEAT – this is NOT the time! They are there to meet new people and do not expect to be hit on in the process. Follow up after the event and invite them out for coffee but during the event stay professional and respectful.
Have you encountered anything else that has rubbed you the wrong way while attending a networking event?