Despite all the information out there about effective networking, business owners continue to commit blunders in their efforts to get face-to-face with potential clients.
Entrepreneurs can be guilty of thinking of themselves first and the people they can potentially serve second. As the saying goes, “It’s not who you know but who wants to know you” that really counts.
Here are three serious mistakes to avoid:
1. Not making eye contact. The first common networking sin is constantly looking over the other person’s shoulder when you are having a conversation. This silently communicates to the person you are talking to that they are unimportant. Instead, focus intently. When you feel it’s time to move around the room and mingle with others, simply excuse yourself.
2. Forgetting the name of the person you have just met. This sets you up for embarrassment when someone else you know comes over and joins you, expecting to be introduced to the person with whom you are speaking.
Make it a point to remember the names of people that you meet. If you miss or forget them, excuse yourself and ask them to repeat it.
Motivational speaker and author Dale Carnegie was right when he said, “The sweetest, most important sound in any language is to that person the sound of his or her own name.” When you remember and use the name of the person you have met in your conversation with them, you will go a long way in building an effective relationship.
3. Showing up late or leaving early. This third and final deadly sin of networking gives the impression of someone who does not know how to plan their time.
People who do this always seem to be in a hurry and come across as pushy and only interested in talking about themselves — shoving one of their business cards into your hand before rushing off to meet somebody else.
My recommendation here is to schedule accordingly and spend quality time at the networking event in which you are investing your reputation and time.