Networking Success: Three Reasons People Fail at Networking Events

Networking Success: Three Reasons People Fail at Networking EventsNetworking is something that’s both easy and natural for us to do. We network with people practically every day (and most of the time, we don’t realize it). Yet when we’re at a formal networking event, something as basic as starting a conversation seems like a big challenge and many people walk away from networking events feeling like they accomplished nothing.

Part of the problem is that many people just don’t understand how to network. I’ve been going to networking events for about a decade and some of the things that haven’t seemed to change are the mistakes people make. Here are some of the big ones that you should try to avoid:

You Can’t Please Everyone

I once heard that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again while expecting a different result. Well I’d like to add a second definition: trying to please everyone. Trying to make everyone in a group happy ranges from difficult to impossible and the only guarantee you have is that you’ll wish you never tried.

This topic comes up frequently in both my public speaking and networking classes as people are concerned about what others think. I think we all have a natural tendency to focus on the audience members that aren’t paying attention to us during a speech or the folks at a networking event that say “it was nice to meet you — I see a client on the other side of the room” immediately after you introduce yourself.

Dressing for Success

Business dress code - photo courtesy of Penny MathewsWhether you’re at a job interview, attending a networking event or giving a speech, it’s important that you dress appropriately. I’ve seen fashion faux pas in business situations that have actually shocked me: from the person that I interviewed who was dressed more casually than me to person at a networking event who was dressed like he was meeting Cinderella at the grand ball.

Appropriate dress is always in the eyes of the beholder and inappropriate dress can often cause negative perceptions about you before you even open your mouth. Three’s no hard and fast rule such as all job interviews require formal dress or all networking events require business dress as I’ve seen several situations where events that traditionally require formal dress requested casual dress and vice versa.

Networking Success: The Right Way to Make Referrals

NetworkingRelationships are the key to networking success and the sign of a great networker is to have a wide variety of people in his or her network that can be tapped when you or someone you know is in need of something. So perhaps you have a friend looking to relocate that needs a real estate agent to sell a house. Your neighbor is a real estate agent, so you connect her with your friend and you look like a hero for bringing the two together, right? Not so fast.

How to Improve Your Memory

Whether you’re trying to memorize the main points of your speech, your to do list or the capitals of the major countries of the world, a good memory can be a powerful asset. The benefits to having an excellent memory are extraordinary: improving your memory will help you be more efficient, learn things faster and communicate better. Here is a far from complete list of skills that you’ll notice big improvements in with a better memory:

  • Public Speaking (remembering your material, especially key points)
  • Networking (remembering names and conversations)
  • Personal Finance (remembering to pay bills and take advantage of deals)

Networking – Career Day

Networking - Career DayNetworking is a term that means different things to different people. To some, it has a negative connotation such as relying on others to get things or trying to get something out of everyone you interact with. To others, it strikes a chord of fear because they associate the term with having to introduce themselves to a total stranger.

Great networking site

I came across an interesting blog about business networking called The blog author, Josh Hinds, has interviewed several people to get their thoughts on Business Networking so it’s a good read. Josh asks two questions:

1. How do you define Business Networking and why do you feel it is important?
2. Can you share a few ideas that someone could put into practice that would help them to improve their business networking skills?

The answers vary but some key elements include:

  • Networking is more than just trying to see what you can get from someone else.