Michele Connolly
Michele Connolly Michele Connolly is an introvert, overthinker, sharer of micro-epiphanies, minimalist, embracer of personal weirdness, and writer of comedic how-to books. She has a Bachelor of Psychology, has written a thesis on happiness and personality, and is the author of 'How to Be Thin in a World of Chocolate'. You can find her at micheleconnolly.com/

Michele Connolly has written 15 article(s) for us.

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3 Business Networking Faux Pas To Avoid

February 13, 2012 | Michele Connolly

How to avoid becoming someone everyone wants to avoid at networking events.

We all want to make a good impression when attending business-networking events. We want to come across as professional, approachable, and likeable.  But every time I attend a networking lunch or seminar, I see people making these same faux pas and sabotaging themselves.

Are you guilty of any of these?

Bogarting the speaker

It’s smart to make a connection with a speaker and take advantage of the opportunity to have a question answered.

But be mindful of people queuing up behind you who’d also like the same opportunity. If the speaker is starting to sway from faintness, it’s time to move on.

A better strategy

  • Introduce yourself briefly – your name and what you do.
  • Mention something about their talk that resonated with you.
  • Stick to one or two quick questions only. If you have a problem you want them to solve, book in for their service.
  • Follow up afterward by thanking them for their expertise in a short email or tweet.

Focusing on the food

Do you find yourself too distracted by lunch to engage with the people at your table? Or you are unable to shake hands because yours are loaded with canapes?

You may be missing some good opportunities to connect.

A better strategy

  • Have something to eat before the event.
  • Put your interest and energy into the people around you.
  • Keep one hand free for a nice, firm handshake.

Vacuuming or spraying business cards

I know many people who love gathering business cards, but never do anything with them.

Or worse – they use them to add unwitting subscribers to their newsletter list.

A better strategy

  • Look for ways you can help the other person. If you want to share a link or piece of information, ask for their card and write yourself a reminder on the back to send the information.
  • If you think your services are right for them, focus on asking questions so you understand their needs, rather than describing your business. Explaining how you can solve their problem is a much better way to offer your services. Then you can add a relevant or helpful note when/if you hand over your business card.

Being brief and prepared when you speak to a seminar speaker, pre-empting hunger at lunches, and opting for more strategic use of business cards are three great ways to get more out of networking events.

Will you try them?

  • DollyVardensCoffeeTeaNiceEats

    I attended a Professional Parents event today and will email the guest speaker now to thank him for his informative talk. After reading this, it has given me the push that I needed. Vanessa Hall – Owner / Creator of Dolly Vardens.