How do you act at conferences? How about on LinkedIn?
Are you anticipating questions about your field or specialty? Eager to talk to many people? Doing all of your follow-up through social media?
If so, you may be going about networking the wrong way entirely. Here are four practices you’ll want to get out of your system before that next big finance conference.
1. Focusing on yourself.
Sometimes people go into industry conferences with a very narrow scope. That is, they’re too focused on what they can gain from meeting new people. “My goal is acquiring X, so I need to immediately decide if this person can help me in my goal.” Wrong. Networking is about creating a relationship that is a two-way street where both parties are benefiting.
When meeting someone, immediately push the conversation on them. Ask plenty of questions and if you feel the conversation start to turn onto you, just ask more questions. Same goes for LinkedIn, too. Always keep the online conversation about what they’re doing.
2. Talking to too many people.
Remember: quality over quantity. Networking events are a great chance to form strong business relationships, but if you’re spreading yourself too thin and making a point to meet everyone in the room, you’re going backwards. It’d be nice to meet everybody, but focus on building a rapport with a few strong connections.
3. Forgetting the follow-up.
After meeting someone at a networking event, you need to follow up in a timely manner and in the proper way. An email is thoughtful, but we all get tons of email everyday. It’ll easily be forgotten. If you want to stand out from the rest of the crowd, a handwritten note is the way to go.
4. Too much social media.
Social media — namely LinkedIn and Twitter — are a great way for connecting with your peers. But if this is your only way of communication, you’re not going to be taken seriously. There are always going to be those people who are desperate to connect with every single person that has an inkling of a connection to them. And then communicate with them solely via social media. Don’t be that person. Use social media to set up times to grab coffee or lunch. The goal here is to take the conversation offline.
What are some of your networking tips? Let us know in the comments below.