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The top mistake people make when networking

What thoughts come to mind when I say “networking”? I’ll go out on a limb here and suggest it’s probably feeling uncomfortable & a bit like a used car salesman. And most of us have that experience.

Networking can make us feel really uncomfortable, mainly because we think it involves talking about ourselves. But the reality is that networking creates invaluable opportunities, so we need to use it to our advantage. So, how do you reconcile those two things?

I ran a group workshop recently and the big “Ah-ha!” moment for the participants was when I told them about my connect method and made this suggestion:

When connecting with people in your preferred industry or organisation, imagine yourself as a researcher, not a salesperson.

Engage with them simply to find out about them, their industry / background / organisation’s challenges. If they ask about you, then tell them about your strengths and interests. But only if asked. This will not only take the pressure of you, but will help you to build rapport (because everyone loves to feel interesting) with someone you can follow-up with again.

So next time you need to connect with someone you don’t know, choose to be a researcher – not a salesperson.

Next week I’ll share more about by my connect method.

Speak soon,
Nikki

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