A lot of people hate networking.
It’s not hard to see why. Regardless of your level of extroversion, most people don’t find trading business cards and small talk in a room full of strangers all that fun.
“I hate when I go to these conferences and someone comes up to me and they shake my hand and they say, ‘I’d really love 20 minutes of your time to meet one-on-one, is that ok?'” Wessel said. “I’m just like, ‘I have no idea why you want to meet with me one-on-one.'”
Consider things from the perspective of the person you’re attempting to network with. You don’t want to waste your own time, so don’t put a potential connection in the position where they feel like you might waste theirs. For all they know, you plan to to ramble on for 20 minutes about your “big idea” that barely relates to their interests or area of expertise. So be open and clear when you’re approaching someone.
Publicity and business strategist Selena Soo recently told Pat Flynn of the Smart Passive Income podcast something similar: The biggest networking mistakes she sees all fall under the umbrella of failing to put yourself in the other person’s shoes.
“I would say have a goal when you’re meeting with someone,” Wessel told Business Insider. “Even if you didn’t know you were going to meet them, once you learn something about them, have a goal with that person. Try to have a meaningful conversation and make it a real interaction, like you would as a human being. Don’t just try to have it be a business transaction, because people who you might want to network with will see right through that. I would just try to have meaningful conversations whenever possible.”
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