Career Tips

Top 20 Networking Mistakes (And How to Avoid Them)

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Top 20 Networking Mistakes (And How to Avoid Them)

September 13, 2023

Career Tips

Relationship Building

Networking mistakes are avoidable. We know that networking is an essential part of professional success. It’s about building relationships with people who can help you advance your career. But even the most experienced networkers can make mistakes. 

In this blog, we’ll discuss the top 20 networking mistakes and how to avoid them. We’ll cover everything from not being prepared to not being a good listener. We’ll also talk about the importance of being genuine and authentic when you’re networking, and how to ask for help from your network. By the end, you’ll know how to network effectively and avoid making costly mistakes.

  1. Not Being Genuine

Be yourself. People can sense when you’re being inauthentic. Focus on building real connections rather than just advancing your career.

  1. Not Listening Actively

Avoidance Tip: Practice active listening by being present in conversations, nodding, and repeating back what you’ve heard.

  1. Failing to Follow Up

Send a follow-up email or note after meeting someone new, expressing appreciation for the conversation.

  1. Over-Promoting Yourself

It’s fine to share your accomplishments, but also show interest in the other person’s journey and achievements.

  1. Not Being Prepared

Always have a clear purpose for networking. Know your “elevator pitch” and research attendees or organizations beforehand if possible.

6-10 Networking Mistakes to Avoid

  1. Only Networking When in Need

Build and maintain your network continuously, not just when you’re job searching or need a favor.

  1. Forgetting to Offer Value

Remember that networking is reciprocal. Think about how you can help the other person, whether it’s by sharing knowledge, resources, or connections. It’s a huge networking mistake to think you’re networking only to get something. Think about people who only contact you when they need something. Yuck! Watch the richness of your relationships increase when you give value.

  1. Sticking to Your Comfort Zone

Venture beyond your immediate circle. Attend diverse events and engage with people from different industries or backgrounds. Be assertive and speak up. Be willing to share your knowledge.

  1. Not Keeping Track of Contacts

Use a system (like a simple spreadsheet) to keep notes on when and where you met people, and any important details from your conversations.

  1. Talking Too Much

Be sure that you are listening more than you are speaking. Allow the other person to share their insights and stories. It’s okay to share yours as well.

Keep Reading for 11-15 Networking Mistakes to Avoid

  1. Being Negative

Even if you’re having a tough time, try to keep interactions positive. Negativity can leave a lasting impression. You intention (or goal) is to build a fruitful relationship; so bashing a boss or old job is probably a no-no.

  1. Failing to Set Clear Intentions

Know what you want from a networking opportunity. Are you giving value, seeking advice, connections in a specific industry, or just broadening your horizons?

  1. Ignoring Non-verbal Cues

Pay attention to body language. If someone appears disinterested or in a hurry, be respectful of their time. And don’t take it personally.

  1. Not Respecting Boundaries

Understand that not everyone will be open to connecting or helping, and that’s okay. Respect their wishes and boundaries.

Every handshake, every conversation, every act of kindness is a stone laid in the path of enduring collaboration.
~Twanna Carter, PhD

15-20 Networking Mistakes to Avoid

  1. Only Sticking to Formal Networking Events

Networking can happen anywhere. Be open to connecting with people in casual settings such as hobbies, volunteering, and community events.

  1. Not Updating Your Online Presence

Regularly update your LinkedIn profile, personal website, or other professional platforms 

to reflect your current skills and experiences.

  1. Overlooking the Importance of First Impressions

Dress appropriately for events, maintain good posture. It’s also important offer a firm handshake, and make eye contact. Of course, you may need to make some allowances depending on different cultures.

  1. Being Too Persistent

If someone doesn’t respond to your follow-ups, it’s crucial to know when to step back. Avoid overstepping boundaries and being too pushy.

  1. Not Showing Gratitude

Always express appreciation when someone helps you, offers advice, or provides a referral. A simple thank you can go a long way.

  1. Neglecting Online Etiquette

On platforms like LinkedIn, always send personalized connection requests and avoid spammy behavior.

Avoiding Networking Mistakes

Remember, networking is about building and nurturing long-term relationships. Approach it with sincerity, and you’ll find meaningful connections that can benefit you both personally and professionally. When approach this way, you avoid costly networking mistakes.

Ever felt overwhelmed by the thought of networking?

What if you could become a networking pro without it consuming hours of your time?

Introducing the Master Networking in Just 30 Minutes a Week Guide. A 5 step guide that will reshape how you think about professional networking:

1. Set Crystal Clear Goals: Define precisely what you aim to achieve, be it a new job, skill acquisition, or industry relationships.

2. Pinpoint Your Audience: Pinpoint the right people who’ll help you reach those goals.

3. Establish Meaningful Connections: Discover various effective ways to bond with your target audience.

4. Stay Authentic: Understand the power of genuine interactions and how it sets the stage for lasting relationships.

5. Keep the Momentum Going: Learn how to keep your connections strong and thriving.

Get your Master Networking in Just 30 Minutes a Week! guide below.

Career coach Twanna Carter wearing blue dress
Career strategy, women in tech, Career development, Confidence, career advice, Management consulting, Career coach services, Transferable skills ,career guidance, Imposter syndrome, Impostor syndrome, Emotional intelligence, Black woman, Black women, Life coach, Executive presence, Life coaching, Resilience, Resiliency, Self esteem, Self worth, toxic workplace, toxic boss, toxic coworker, how to leave toxic workplace, how to leave toxic job, Black coach, Twanna Carter, Stress, anxiety, Black women in tech, mental health

Twanna Carter, PhD, ICF Professional Certified Coach (PCC), is a career coach and relationship coach for Twanna Carter Professional & Personal Coaching, LLC. She is a career coach dedicated to empowering Black women leaders, helping them achieve their career goals. With more than 20+ years of experience, Dr. Twanna is recognized as an expert in leadership, personal development, business strategy, career development, and lifestyle balance.  Helping professional women navigate change and uncertainty by providing them with the tools and strategies they need to be successful. Schedule a free 30-Minute Career Solution Call today.

Curated Reads: Essential Books to Add to Your Personal Library 

  1. Melaninated Magic: 180 Affirmations to Nurture Your Soul and Unleash Your Black Girl Joy by Twanna Carter, PhD
  2. Sacred Rest: Recover Your Life, Renew Your Energy, Restore Your Sanity by Saundra Dalton-Smith, MD
  3. I’m Not Yelling: A Black Woman’s Guide to Navigating the Workplace (Successful Black Business Women), Elizabeth Leiba.
  4. Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When Stakes Are High by Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, Ron McMillan, and Al Switzler.
  5. Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion by Robert B. Cialdini.
  6. How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie.
  7. Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead by Sheryl Sandberg.
  8. Dare to Lead by Brene Brown.
  9. The Memo, by Minda Harts.
  10. Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones, by James Clear
  11. Worthy: How to Believe You Are Enough and Transform Your Life, by Jamie Kern Lima
  12. 33 Tools to Remake Your Career by Paul Gabriel Dionne

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Meet Dr. Twanna

Welcome to my blog! As a passionate reader and travel enthusiast, I've spent years soaking up stories from diverse cultures and landscapes. 
I am committed to creating an empowering space where Black women can celebrate their achievements, learn from their challenges, and find inspiration for their journey.
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