Even the most experienced networkers sometimes break these fundamental rules of networking etiquette. Avoid missing opportunities to connect with key people by following these simple rules.
- Don’t interrupt people who are in the middle of a conversation
It’s impolite to barge into someone else’s conversation, and this holds true in networking settings. If you truly feel you have something valuable to add to a conversation, wait for a lull and then dive in.
- Don’t interrupt the person you are speaking with
This might seem like common sense, but it happens more often than you think. Everyone wants to be heard which means you can make yourself indispensable by listening.
- Don’t force people to network with you
Networking is about building relationships, and like any other relationships, it should be built organically. Don’t feel as though you have to give your business card away to everyone you speak with. Wait until you know the relationship will be mutually beneficial before exchanging cards.
- Don’t leave anyone out
If you see someone standing by themselves, go up and say hello. One day you will be the person with no one to talk to, and you will be eternally grateful for the person who stops by and says hello. Being inclusive and friendly are great qualities and you never know who that person might be. You don’t want to miss out on a great connection!
- Keep your language and stories clean
You want to be remembered, but not for being crass. Avoid stories that inspire you to use coarse language, and leave out any mention of intoxication or criminal activity.
- Be brief
Don’t dominate the conversation. Aim to ask more questions and do less talking.
- Keep your phone in your pocket
Nobody likes to feel unimportant and when you check your phone while speaking with someone, it sends the message that you find them uninteresting. Even while you aren’t speaking to someone, it is best to keep your phone in your pocket during networking events. When you are fiddling with your telephone it sends the message that you aren’t available to meet other people.