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ACM CareerNews

Six Networking Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

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Despite understanding that networking can be a valuable skill for managers and leaders, many mid-career professionals have not fully developed their networking skills. As a result, making industry contacts, speaking at conferences and looking for new client relationships can all cause trepidation. Networking — if done correctly — supports and sustains you in the good times, and can be the key to your survival in the bad times. Executive coach Gill Corkindale summarizes six classic networking mistakes and provides advice on how to avoid them.

We live in a networked age and most of us are connected to more people than we realize. Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter can become online powerful gateways to contacts, simply through friends and colleagues. You may also have an online presence in the form of a blog or homepage — see who has been corresponding with you lately. If you don't currently have a job, be clear when you introduce yourself that you are in transition and looking for a new role, and that you have certain skills that may be of interest. Before you contact people, consider your agenda and what you can realistically expect from the person. Networking is about selling yourself, but it can be hard to do that without sounding like a salesman. One way to show (rather than tell) people how great you are is to have a few situations, tasks, achievements and results in the form of stories that take no more than five minutes to relate.

From Harvard Business Publishing
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