The 8 Most Common Ways People Fail at Networking

Building relationships and having a strong network is key to your success.

October 16, 2018

“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go with others.” (African proverb)

Not everyone knows how to effectively network. It’s about being in the right mindset and understanding the worthiness of your connections, and finding out how beneficial networking really is. This is something that you need to develop and nurture, in order to foster valuable and healthy relationships.

Some excel at it, while some don’t. And not everyone recognizes that the steps you take (or choose not to take) do have an impact on how you connect with others.

This all helps you to be successful at networking…or not.

How to Fail at Networking

Say you’re having lunch with a new contact. And throughout the meal, it’s been a one-sided conversation…focused only on you. How much fun is it for others to constantly hear you speak about the horrible day you’re having, or how you can’t stand your boss, or how desperately you need to find a new job? It makes people feel like they don’t want to spend time with you, since you’re dragging down the relationship.

When you do this, not only are you creating a bad reputation for yourself, but also for those who are associated with you. This influences the impact you have on your connections, and really shows you’re an amateur networker.

So how do you know if you’re being unsuccessful at it? Here are the 8 most common ways people fail at networking.

  1. Talking only about yourself: As I just mentioned, people really love that, don’t they? Just keep thinking that “it’s all about me” – and you’ll find this won’t get you very far.
  2. Being an “askhole”: Make sure you always ask others for favors and advice…and never offer anything in return. I’m sure everyone loves to get that cringing feeling when your name pops up on their phone or email inbox. If that’s how you want to be thought of, then keep this up!
  3. Not following through on setting up that coffee date: Because it really drives people crazy if you make a commitment, right?
  4. Being unprofessional: When meeting someone don’t look them in the eye, give them a firm handshake…or even pretend to care what they’re talking about.
  5. Forgetting to say thank you: Showing gratitude goes a long way. And NOT saying it shows a lot about you, too!
  6. Not making that introduction you promised: Or fail to keep your contacts in the loop on how it worked out if they recommended you to others…especially if it’s someone within their sphere of influence.
  7. Getting drunk at an event: Nothing like being that loud obnoxious guy at the bar everyone is trying to avoid and keep away from.
  8. Giving up when things don’t happen right away: Those who are professional networkers know it takes effort to build strong foundations for long-lasting relationships. But go ahead and throw in the towel if you’re not satisfied immediately!

If you’re doing any of the above, then you will fail at networking – and people will remember you for all the wrong reasons. That’s not a good thing.

You may not even realize you’re performing some of these actions. I recommend that you take a step back and evaluate your networking skills – and assess the mindset you’re in when you are looking to build on your relationships. Doing so will create more meaningful connections with others!

NetWorkWise Top Tip: Building relationships and having a strong network is key to your success. By learning how to fail at networking, you now know what you SHOULD DO in order to be effective at it!

This is a guest post by Adam Connors, Founder and CEO of NetWorkWise. He is the producer of the podcast Conversations with Connors that highlights an eclectic group of successful people and how networking has been a cornerstone to their success.

NetWorkWise trains and educates individuals and organizations in the science and art of networking to accelerate sales, personal development and career opportunities.