Although I had been introduced to Thom Singer this summer, he and I didn't really have a chance to sit down and chat until recently. And, boy, did we talk. Seems we've both got some pet peeves when it comes to people who are pretty obnoxious when it comes to networking.
Since Singer is a networking guru, and a lot of people listen to him and benefit from his advice, I thought it would be nice to list at least five of the most annoying things people do when they network and how Singer believes they could improve:
1. Don't dive bomb. Don't swoop down on us at events, shove a business card in our hand, shoot the bull for five minutes and then expect us to be best buddies. "You don't propose on the first date, do you?" Singer points out. "We've got to get to know each other first -- share some experiences."
2. Stop being a greedy grabber. In the world of networking, little things mean a lot. Send us a follow-up note, a word of thanks, just something to show meeting us mattered to you. Then, let's hook up seven to 10 times before you even think about getting something in return. The rule of thumb: you have to give three times more than you want.
3. Social spamming sucks. Just because we met you once or twice briefly doesn't mean we want to connect with you through LinkedIn or some other social networking site. No offense, but we don't really know you, so how can we trust you? Putting our professional necks on the line for an acquaintance makes us uncomfortable.
4. Don't be snotty. If we choose not to connect with you -- either by ignoring or turning down your LinkedIn request, or not returning calls or returning e-mails, just let it go. Nothing personal, it's just that we've already got what we need in our network.
5. Stop whining. Just because you tried networking a few times and it didn't work does not mean you should just give up and complain how networking is worthless. You owe it to your company to get out there and look for opportunities and people who are willing to help. Examine your past forays into networking and find ways to improve. Don't wait for the other person to make the first move -- stop being such a Debbie Downer and go for it.