By attending networking events you can quickly grow your career. You will not land a new gig from every event, but the opportunity to do so is right in front of you.
Every year, I attend anywhere from 5 to 10 local networking get-togethers. Some are better than others, but I learn something no matter the outcome.
Unfortunately, I have made my fair share of mistakes over the years. Here are three networking mistakes that I will never make again:
1. Forgetting my business cards. There is nothing worse than striking up a good conversation, getting close to a deal, and not having a business card for the potential client. I have only made this mistake once, and never plan on doing so again.
Before you leave for your networking event, make sure you have a stack of business cards in your pocket.
2. Spending too much time with one person. The point of networking is to meet as many people as you can with hopes of generating new work. Getting tied down by one person for too long can inhibit you from meeting others.
This has happened to me a couple times, but I am improving when it comes to getting to the point and moving on.
Tip: don’t cut somebody off in the middle of a conversation – this comes across as rude and kills your chance of establishing a relationship.
3. Being overly modest. Just like many freelance writers I don’t enjoy talking about myself. I have no problem doing so, but from time to time I shy away from this. When networking you have to be willing to provide others with information on yourself, your business, and what you can do for them. Be the best salesman you can be!
I don’t plan on making these networking mistakes again in the future. Hopefully you can avoid them as well.