Do you hate networking? I actually love it, but I know I am a rare bird. Do you wonder what you are doing wrong and why you are not getting any sales or connecting with the right people?
What NOT to Do when Networking
Do NOT huddle with your friends you already know.
Get out of your huddle and break loose, or don’t show up.
Do NOT wear shoes that are uncomfortable.
If you cannot walk and look normal in them, leave them at home. I am a “sturdy shoe” kind of gal. I want to be able to walk and not fall down. I want to feel confident. I don’t want to break my back with every step I take. Wear the right shoes.
Do NOT dress like someone you are not.
On a networking day, I dress up. I work from home, but I get dressed every single day no matter what. It is about how I feel, not where I am going. But on a networking day, it is both. I want to look good, feel good, and represent my business well. Dress like you, but add some spunk to it.
Do NOT go just for the free food and drinks.
I love to eat. I love to network. But we do not want to hover at the snack table gorging ourselves. I don’t drink anymore, but we also have to be cautious to not overdo the free beverages. That is a dangerous combination in every way!
Do NOT bombard a new person you meet with a chapter-sized conversation about your business if they are glazed over and not listening.
Listen more than you talk. Ask questions. Watch for the glaze over. That is when you have way overshared. Give then a snack pack, not a supersized meal about your business. This is like speed dating—if you want to know more, set up a second meeting.
Do NOT overshare.
Enough said. Do not share like you are with your therapist, hairstylist, or BFF with the person you have just met thirty seconds ago.
Do NOT hide in the ladies room.
If you want to hide in the ladies room, then you might as well just go on home. Then you don’t have to hide.
Do NOT go without bringing your business cards.
It is so frustrating to me when I go to a networking event to meet people and the people I am trying to meet tell me they don’t have any business cards. Pack your cards. Bring your flyers and marketing materials.
Do NOT walk around with spinach in your teeth.
(I have done this one.) Try to not walk around with food in your teeth. That helps.
Do NOT go hunting to make money.
Do not throw yourself at people. We are not HUNTING. Do not lasso them or chase people with a bow and arrow. Please just trust the process and that there is ENOUGH. Do what you are supposed to do. Connect with people.
Do NOT go if you are cranky.
We would all rather you just stayed home. Snarky is not sexy. It does not look good on you and does not lead to success either.
I hope you got a good laugh. But, really, networking is fun if you go with the right mindset. Go meet people and look for the similarities, not the differences. Be open. Be fun. You might meet your next best friend.
Diane Cunningham is the Founder and President of the National Association of Christian Women Entrepreneurs. She is a “business therapist,” plane crash survivor, author, consultant, speaker, marathon runner, and fun friend. Find out more about NACWE and why 165 women joined in the first year at NACWE.org. Connect with Diane on her Facebook page for fun updates, silly videos, and lively conversation.