Even though we’re becoming more digitally connected through social media and other technology, personal interaction cannot be replaced. Whether you want to open a retail shop or start another type of business, you’ll have to network. While reaching out on social media is a must, there’s just no substitution for face-to-face conversation. We’re innately social creatures and you can definitely use this trait to your business’ advantage. But, don’t put unnecessary obstacles in your way. Instead, understand which networking mistakes most entrepreneurs make.

Top Networking Mistakes too Many Entrepreneurs Make

There’s no question opportunity awaits for you to start a business. And, there are also a number of financing options available. However, there’s another component to starting a company and making it successful. Of course, this requires customers patronizing your business. The question is, just how do you find customers or clients? The age-old answer is simple: networking. This practice provides a wonderful opportunity but it’s vital to do it right.

There is a right way and a wrong way to network. If you are one of those people who hate to network and view it as phony or pretentious, then you are doing it all wrong. Networking is not about building a mammoth list of contacts or passing out business cards like you’re dealing poker. Networking means building mutually beneficial relationships. —U.S. News and World Report

Networking allows you to become a known quantity. It also serves to sharpen your people and communication skills. But, it can also be frustrating, tiring, inconvenient, as well as near disastrous. What’s worse, is networking can also be counterproductive. If you want to get the most out of networking, you’ve got to know what does and doesn’t work. Here are some of the worst networking mistakes too many entrepreneurs make:

  • Selling, not networking. Alright, this makes the “all-too-obvious” list. But, it definitely bears inclusion here because it cannot be left out. Think about what’s most annoying about those loud, hard-selling commercials you hear and see. Now, imagine you are the embodiment of those — selling, selling, selling to each individual you meet. That’s certainly not productive. Keep the sales talk to yourself and meet people, have pleasant conversations, instead.
  • Failure to make and follow a plan. Entrepreneurs are notorious for making plans and following them step-by-step. Planning and executing provide awesome results because you set goals and then achieve them, one-by-one. That gives you a sense of accomplishment and increases your level of motivation. So, do the same when you go to a networking event. Make a plan and follow it.
  • Not networking with regular consistency. If you network, you’ve got to do so consistently. Without consistency, you send a modest signal you’re not really interested in others. Also, without consistency, you run the real risk of always being relatively unknown and that’s not a good thing.
  • Talking too much, as well as listening too little. Even if you’re not engaged in selling this or that product and/or service, talking too much is a big no-no. Everyone knows talking too much is downright impolite. Moreover, if you manage to hold back, be sure to actually listen. There’s a difference between being politely silent and being an active listener.
  • Making pre-conceived assumptions about people. “Never judge a book by its cover.” So the old adage goes and it’s proven true, time and time again. Since this is the case, make a sincere effort to not form assumptions about others. If you do, it will have an impact on how you come across.

What networking mistakes do you think should be included? How do you approach networking at-large? Please, share your thoughts and experiences by leaving a comment!

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