The Do’s and Don’ts Of Networking
Networking can be really tough. After taking a six-month hiatus away from most organized networking events, I’ve got back into the swing of things in the last month. Initially, I was a little rusty. Like any skill, if you don’t use networking, you lose it. I learned a great deal of networking in undergrad business seminar classes designed to give students the knowledge and tools needed for networking and business etiquette.
When I moved to Chicago, I learned even more from the original Ms. Career Girl herself, Nicole Crimaldi Emerick. So, while I don’t claim to be an expert on networking, I’ve learned a thing or two and I think we could all use reminders and refreshers when it comes to this very important skill.
- Do prepare a short and sweet bio of yourself, your work, and what you hope to gain from the networking event.
- Do come with business cards or some sort of tangible information that contains your contact information.
- Do show an interest in getting to know other people’s work, industry, and ask them good questions.
- Do try to come on time and if that is not feasible, draw as little attention to yourself as possible.
- Do follow-up with people you made a connection with within 48 hours.
- Do not sit or stand by a corner and wait for people to come and talk to you. Networking is uncomfortable at first – get out of your comfort zone.
- Do not think that you will make a connection with everyone. You will not. Learn to separate potential professional connections from people it was nice to speak with.
- Do not talk about yourself and your career the entire time.
- Do not eat too much or drink too much.
- Do not get too personal when networking; leave your crazy at the door.
So many rules! I know, I know, but if you want to make the most of networking, present yourself in a positive light, and be genuine and cordial with everyone you meet. In this way, networking rules are pretty similar to life rules.