Here are six mistakes you may be making at business networking events.
1. You look over shoulders
The person you have started talking to is not your ideal connection, so you gaze over their shoulder while they are talking to you to see who else might be in the room. The problem here is this person may be connected to someone who IS your ideal connection, but you will never know because you alienated them.
2. You talk about yourself 99% of the time
Everyone wants others to be interested in them, but talking about yourself constantly is not the way to achieve this. People are more likely to be interested in you if you show genuine interest in them. Ask questions, display curiosity about who they are and what they do as this creates an authentic connection and leads them to be interested in you too.
3. You shake hands like a wet fish
This handshake is worse than the “knuckle cruncher” in my book. The “wet fish” portrays lack of strength and commitment. I never trust anyone with a “wet fish” handshake even though they might be the best at whatever it is they do. Not sure what kind of handshake you have? Ask someone you feel comfortable with to give you feedback.
4. Yours is the “SELL, SELL, SELL” approach
Business networking events are definitely not the time to try and sell your services. Doing this is a major turn off. Focus on building a meaningful initial connection. If you think there is potential business to be done suggest calling them in the next few days to meet for coffee.
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5. You avoid eye contact
Eye contact is essential for building trust with people. Even if you feel shy it is important to make good eye contact.
6. You keep saying their name incorrectly
Fred, Frank, Fabio … they all start with “F” … close enough! People like their names and they really like to be called by their actual name! It may seem such a small point but it is critical to pay attention to names when you are being introduced to someone. If you are not clear on pronunciation ask for clarification, nobody will mind.
This list is by no means exhaustive so feel free to expand on it by leaving a comment about other ways you can alienate people at business networking events. Awareness is the first step in prevention. Happy networking!