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How NOT to Ruin a Networking Meeting

I see it all the time. People who have jobs and are networking to further their career do it, and people who are completely out of a job and networking for a new one do it.

They leave a networking meeting without any clear next steps.

As this San Francisco Chronicle article shows, there are a number of ways to ruin a networking meeting.

All of them add up to this: too many people are out just having coffee. That’s making contacts, not networking. Real networking means building relationships and making friendships. As a Career Coach, this is something I preach to my clients.

Every effective networking meeting will have at least one or more of these outcomes:

1. Answer questions about whether or not you would fit.

2. Gives you direction/next steps.

3. Introduces you to contacts/key individuals.

If you do not walk away with one or more of these outcomes than all you had was coffee!

How about you? Any recommendations on how NOT to ruin a marketing meeting?

Join the discussion 3 Comments

  • Tom Leith says:

    The best way not to ruin a networking meeting is not to have any.

    You’re going to ruin some — it is called “learning”. You may also discover that people willing to meet with you are pretty clueless and can’t help you. Well, you had coffee. Send a thank-you note & move on. But keep meeting people and risking ruin.

  • Ida says:

    Great point Tom! However after having a few meetings and learning,David is absolutely correct. You need to have a next steps plan.I know I have failed in articulating my story and goals when afterwards someone asks me, how can I help you? We all need to know what it is we are asking of people. If we don’t know, they surely won’t.

  • Activ8 Activ8 says:

    I don’t think that Tom was saying not to be clear about what you want. I know that in some networking meetings you might find a few individuals you just have a hard time creating a personal connection. I tell my clients to put their rain coats on and not take it personal. It’s our job to be clear about our message and refine it. It’s like learning techniques in playing an instrument the more you practice the better you will become at it.