Before I get to the 5 networking no-no’s, there’s a story behind this post. My best friend, my wife, was asked a judgmental question about a third-party at a event. My wife is more patient than I. Much more. She let the speaker finish then politely asked, “May I curse?” When the speaker consented she asked him what business of his was it (she used more colorful language). He said it wasn’t, but other people were saying it. My wife answered that he should do what she had just done to stop the gossip. Otherwise, he was part of it. I love that girl. That’s the first no-no; don’t spread rumors.

5 Networking No-No’s

1. Don’t Gossip

Don’t spread rumors and don’t be part of the gossip by allowing others to spread their venom to you. Remember what my wife said, “May I curse?”

2. Don’t Beat Around the Bush

Be open, honest, and straightforward. For example, if you’re looking for a career change, don’t approach someone at a networking event and say, “I hear your company is hiring?” Take the direct approach and share, “I’m considering a career change, what I’m looking for is ____ are there any openings at your company?” Instead of “You know what your company needs—widgets!” Say this, “I’d love to chat with you about our widgets and how they may help your organization.” Put it in your own words but be explicit, speak your mind.

“When a lot of people network, they’re afraid to step up and accomplish what they want to do or say. As somebody who’s sometimes on the other side of that, it’s annoying. When people are clear with me and tell me exactly what they want, I always want to help. When somebody’s trying to be subtle, it hurts my ability to provide whatever benefit they’re looking to achieve in the networking.”–Dan Price

3. Be Wary of the Open Bar

Over indulging is a rookie mistake many of us, self-included, have made. Limit your intake. It’s not the place to party.

4. This isn’t a Pick up Spot

Leave the pickup lines at home. Hitting on someone at a networking event, unless it’s a dating event, isn’t cool. It’s embarrassing. Remember where you are and why you’re there.

5. Don’t Always be Selling

I’m no sales prude. I’ve been in sales most of my life. I’ve followed the good ole ABS philosophy. I was very annoying. Don’t be annoying. If an opportunity arises to connect with a prospect, and you can help them—go for it. But don’t indiscriminately hand out cards and flyers while pitching your product to everyone at the event.

C’mon Man Use Some Common Sense

Networking isn’t the place to gossip, hard sell, or party hardy. At least not if your intentions are to make connections. Before your next networking event take a moment to consider what you want out of it, why you’re there, and what behaviors will diminish your purpose.

Did you find this interesting? Here are ten more networking no-no’s. Top 10 Networking Event Mistakes

How Can I Help You?

I’d always considered myself an effective networker. I’m friendly, easy to talk to, and I’ve never met a stranger. However, none of that makes me a good networker – it makes me outgoing. If I wanted to be the most effective networker I could be, I needed a plan. That’s how my networking workbook, Help Networking started.

I like to help people and organizations, but I have three criteria I consider before taking an assignment – I believe in what the organization stands for, I know I can help, and it looks like fun. If you have any questions, Contact Me. 

Does your business have a management training plan? Many organizations, large and small, use my book, The New Manager’s Workbook a crash course in effective management, as the basis for their leadership development program. Check it out.

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