How many times have you been asked to a network meeting and afterwards felt like it was a waste of your time? Can you pinpoint the fatal flaws or what went wrong with the networking meeting? Let’s explore what those networking fatal flaws are and what you can do about avoiding them in the future.

Take a moment and think about the last meeting you had that left you dis-satisfied. See if your fatal flaw is included below, if not, share your observations below in the comment section.

Networking Fatal Flaw #1: It is all about you

That’s right, when the networking meeting is all about you, the other person shuts down. The purpose of networking is to establish a common interest in each other’s activities and interests for a mutual benefit.

Usually when someone talks only about themselves, it is because they are ill prepared for the meeting or they are narcissistic.

Networking Fatal Flaw #2: Lack of preparation

When you ask someone to meet with you, they are taking time out of their schedule to make time for you. To make the meeting more productive for both parties, do the following:

  1. Set a focus for the meeting. Why are you meeting? To say you are networking is not enough. Be clear about what you would like to get out of the meeting. Can they help you connect to people you would like to know? Do you hope to learn about new job opportunities? Are you exploring a new career and they can give you some insight into the skills or experience required? Define the purpose so the other person knows how to help you.
  2. Learn about the person before you meet them. What do they do? Visit their website to learn about their business or read their profile background on LinkedIn. Figure out what you can do to help them before you meet them. Do some of your contacts need their services? Offer to make a warm introduction by email or with a phone call. Ask them what you can do to help them, preferably at the beginning at the meeting.

When you fail to establish a mutually beneficial foundation, it is easy to make the mistake of the next networking fatal flaw.

Networking Fatal Flaw #3: Expecting free advice from a new contact

If you think that a networking meeting gives you the right to get information, referrals or advice from the other person, you are wrong. It is especially important to know if the free advice is what the other person does for a living. Don’t put them on the spot and ask them to do something for free that affects their livelihood.

The offer of advice is a gift and is earned through mutual respect – don’t be afraid to earn it.

Networking Fatal Flaw #4: The more contacts the better

For some dumb reason, networkers measure their success through the number of contacts they have in their database or on LinkedIn. Focus on developing mutual beneficial connections because those are the ones that know you and refer your name when the opportunity arises.

The rest of your connections that only know your name will never make a referral.

Networking Fatal Flaw #5: No follow-up

A network you never communicate to dies. If your network lays dormant, don’t expect them to jump up and help you when need it. Just because you got that job or moved or are paying attention to new customers, doesn’t mean you can ignore who helped you get there – because if you do, they will turn their back on you when you come back without regret.

Nurture your network.

Do you have a Favorite Fatal Networking Flaw?

Was there something that you could have done to make the networking meeting better? Did you recently meet someone who turned you off with their approach? I would love to hear about it…write your comment below.