Common networking mistakes

Correctly executed networking can be a big boost to your professional growth. But missteps happen, and sometimes it's hard to see them coming! We've gathered the top seven most common networking mistakes so that you know what to avoid when building business connections.

Expecting too much, too soon

Wanting to find a new job or hoping to expand your small business are great goals for professional networking, but don't expect to achieve these things immediately! Instead of demanding what you want upfront, use your time to build genuine working relationships.

Failing to express gratitude

When a connection does something to help you out it's important to reach out and express thanks. A handwritten note or personal phone call to show gratitude for the other person's efforts can go a long way in reinforcing their goodwill. If you frequently forget this important networking step try leaving reminders for yourself in your calendar.

Not following up

What happens after a professional networking event is just as important as what occurs during the event. Drop them a linkedin message, send them an email or simply call your new contact.A good follow up is personal, references the things you spoke of during the initial meeting, and is brief.

Paying attention to the wrong people

At the end of any presentation or talk the speaker is usually surrounded by people who are seeking to connect with them. It’s easy to feel like you have to follow suit, but most often your efforts might be wasted. Instead, develop contacts with the less obvious people like hosts or moderators. They are also valuable connections, oftentimes with relevant background and experiences.

Asking expected questions

A good way to get to know a professional connection is by asking them questions that will let them talk about what inspires them. Instead of asking "what do you do?" try instead, "what made you want to get into your field of work?" to open up a conversation.


If you approach a new contact with a list of things you want to accomplish with their help, chances are you’ll never see them again. Professional networking takes time and the best way to begin is by offering your services to others. If you lead with a heavy pitch you’ll lose your footing early on, which can be detrimental to the connection.

Only networking at networking events

Networking events can be interesting opportunities if you are looking for work or considering changing your career. But to really find quality mentors or advance your potential, you should begin to look for networking opportunities in unexpected places. Seminars, conferences and workshops can be excellent environments to meet successful contacts.

May 23 at 3:00 pm

by Molly Hocutt