Things always tend to be easier when there is no urgency surrounding them and networking is no different. If you are desperate for a new job finding or speaking with a potential connection can nerve-wracking. You are more prone to make mistakes that could cost you the opportunity.
By keeping the following in mind you can learn to recognize these common pitfalls and avoid the mistakes entirely. This will increase your chances of establishing a real meaningful connection with someone who could potentially be a job lead.
Know That Timing Is Key
Imagine you are at a party and you see someone who is in some way connected to your dream job. You wait around all night to speak to them but they are either having dinner or otherwise engaged in a conversation with another person. Do not go out of your way to interrupt them this will only reflect poorly on you. Either ask a mutual party to make a connection or if you already have the beginning of a relationship with them you can say hello quickly and then send a follow-up note on email later.
Be Respectful of Their Time
Say you are at this same party but this time you do get to have a conversation with this individual. It is important that you are mindful to not monopolize their time. Chances are they have a lot of people they would like to speak to or would just like to enjoy their time and not “talk shop.” In this situation, it is appropriate to introduce yourself and potentially ask a prepared question related to the topic or industry. If there is a natural conversation that stems from that great but if not thank them for their time and allow them to get back to their day or evening. It is a good idea to have a business card on hand which will help you continue your relationship.
Quality Over Quantity
You may have the impulse to make as many new connections as possible. At the end of the day, it is more about the quality of those relationships. Initial contacts are just that the beginning of something. You want to nurture and foster these relationships so that they grow over time into something meaningful. One way to do this is to remember that this should be a symbiotic relationship you should always be bringing something to the table instead of just thinking about what you can take.
How you approach and develop connections matters when it comes to networking. By keeping the above tips in mind you can create stronger more meaningful relationships that benefit both parties personally and professionally.