We’ve all found ourselves in situations where we have to network. Either by our own choice or at the request of our employer, we attend an event where the sole purpose is to network.

Personally, I enjoy having the opportunity to network and meet new people. That’s just part of my DNA, but for others, asking them to network is like asking them to visit a dentist.

Wherever you fall on the spectrum, it’s good to know a few tips that will make things go smoother.

The 5 Deadly Sins People Make When Networking:

1. Networking with people you already know.

Sure, it’s great to catch up with people you know but may not have seen for awhile, but let’s get real — that’s not networking.  The least you can do is introduce your existing network to people they don’t know.

2.  Trying to meet everyone without giving anyone any real attention.

Networking is not about trying to collect as many business cards as possible.  It’s much better to come away from a networking event with 2-3 relationships worth following up on in place of a mass of business cards you’ll never do anything with.

3.  Spending your entire time connected at the hip with the other business associate you came with.

Split up, go your own way. You’ll meet more people.  I saw an example of this recently at and event with nearly 100 people.  One bank sent 3 people, and throughout the entire event, these 3 people spent the entire time talking amongst themselves and reaching out to nobody.  Now that’s what I would call a waste of time.

4. Making every conversation about you.

Networking is not about you; it’s about you finding out about others.  Put the ego on hold and spend your time finding out about the people to whom you’re talking and then finding others at the event you can introduce them to.

5. Failing to follow-up after the event.

I used to say you have about 72 hours to follow-up with someone after you meet them.  Due to the onslaught of media and the craziness of our lives, I’d say we now have about 36 hours to follow-up with them.

Next time you’re at a networking event, don’t do one of these 5 deadly networking sins.

Yes, there are many more but these, but I see these at the worst of the worst.  Most important of all is never violate #5.  Following up is what a networking event is all about, and if you aren’t in a position to do that, then don’t even think about attending the event.

Copyright 2012, Mark Hunter “The Sales Hunter.” Sales Motivation Blog.

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