Networking events serve as great opportunities for marketing your firm, business development, and learning about potential employment opportunities. These events bring together people who have common goals and experiences; they are professionals just like YOU. Yet, so many of us enter into these networking opportunities with trepidation or, worse, overzealous expectations.
If you leave a networking event empty-handed, here is what you could be doing wrong.
- The “WIIFM” Mindset.
Having a “What’s in it for me?” mindset will not only brand you as an amateur networker, but will make a lasting negative impression.
- Expecting an immediate quid pro quo.
Avoid the mindset of, “This person owes me.” Remember, networking is a long-term process – your good deeds will pay off in time.
- Not proactively promoting other people’s (colleagues) services.
When you see an opportunity for someone in your network, and they are unavailable, instead of thinking, “Too bad they aren’t here for this.” take the time to market their service for them.
- Failing to take time to help others.
I’m not talking about attending more networking meetings. Instead, I’m suggesting you keep the mindset of “being of service” to those in your network. E.g., If you read an article about a new development in a clients’ industry – take the time to send the article to them with a short note.
- Not forming cross-network alliances.
For example, a local attorney who is married to a foreign national was frequently asked if he knew any immigration lawyers. After some time, and several missed opportunities, he developed a cross-referral arrangement with a local immigration attorney.
The key is to mentally prepare yourself before you walk into the room.
Avoid these common networking mistakes by designing an action plan, setting goals, and letting a positive attitude guide your behavior.
And last but not least, don’t forget to foster your new connections. Potential prospects often fall by the wayside shortly after a networking event. Overcome this by reaching out to prospects at least once a month.