It is said that the most connected people are often found to be the most successful. Networking is one of the best ways to make those connections, but quality networking takes time and effort. While you may not feel comfortable with it, or don’t think you are great at it, just know that it is a learning process. Let’s look at a few of the common networking mistakes and how to fix them.
1. You don’t actively listen to others.
Passively nodding to show that you are listening isn’t enough to build a networking connection. Active listening involves stimulating the speaker and conversation. Here are some tips:
- Don’t allow yourself to disengage from the conversation, even if you are attending a crowded networking event.
- Maintain eye contact and ask engaging follow-up questions. This can show your genuine interest and is said to help you be more memorable.
- Focus on finding things in common to build strong, lasting relationships.
- Practice mindfulness so that you can be aware if you are talking too much about yourself.
2. You only network while you’re job hunting.
Networking should be a continuous process throughout your career. Many people are wary of, and less likely to connect with those who only network during a job hunt. By starting early, even while happily employed, those relationships will be readily available when you do need them. The longer you network, the more time you have to build stronger relationships. This can lead to new opportunities faster, and less urgency in between jobs.
3. You don’t offer help in return.
The concept of networking requires involvement from both parties. Brushing off requests for assistance / favors can lead to impressions of selfishness. And when the time arrives that you need the help, you might find yourself empty-handed. Instead, help when and where you can. Even if you don’t have the answers or skills requested by a colleague, at least try to point them in the direction that they need or help them brainstorm some creative solutions.
Networking doesn’t have to be as daunting as it can appear. Don’t forget that everyone starts somewhere. Start fine-tuning your networking skills today.