Even Experienced Networkers Can Make Mistakes
By Lolly Daskal Lolly Daskal is the president and CEO of Lead From Within, a global consultancy that specializes in leadership and entrepreneurial development. Daskal's programs galvanize clients into achieving their best, helping them accelerate and deliver on their professional goals and business objectives. Her new book "The Leadership Gap” What Gets Between You And Your Greatness. Has become an instant best seller. @LollyDaskal President and CEO, Lead From Within @LollyDaskal

Networking, both professional and personal, has become much more emphasized over the years. It's not just about collecting contacts, it's about developing mutually beneficial relationships. Networking can be utilized to answer questions, help you develop new ideas, find inspiration, assist in a job search, and to answer questions, among other things.

But, good networking takes time, effort, and practice. Even if you've been networking for many years, it's never too late to examine and refine your networking skills. Is your overall strategy as effective as it could be? Are you doing everything possible to improve your chances of making quality connections? Are you falling victim to some common mistakes? While there may not be just one perfect "way" to network, there certainly are some things you can avoid doing to help your goal of building good relationships. Lolly Daskal, a business coach and author, recommends avoiding these five common networking mistakes:

1. Don't "call it in." While we do almost everything online now, nothing beats face to face. Networking in person allows you to get a better read on people.

2. Don't treat networking as a one-way street. Share the conversation and focus on building mutual relationships.

3. Don't solely focus on what you can get. Networking is built on give-and-take, so work on building a relationship before making your pitch. Be helpful within your network and people will likely help you in return.

4. Don't focus on quantity over quality. Making genuine connections, engaging in relevant conversations, and creating memorable impressions will get your further in the long run.

5. Don't forget to follow up, otherwise the time spent making connections is wasted. Come up with a plan to guide the relationship into mutually beneficial waters.

If you are interested in networking, then it’s likely you are active on LinkedIn, the world’s largest professional network by far. If you aren’t, you are missing out on a massive opportunity and making the biggest networking mistake of all. There are currently 600 million registered members on LinkedIn, and a staggering 120 million of them have received an interview through the site.  And of those, 35 million were hired by the person they connected with on the site. Even if you aren’t in the market for a job, consider the fact that LinkedIn is responsible for 80% of all social media B2B leads. Even more impressive, 59% of B2B marketers say LinkedIn has generated leads for their business. Despite all of this, Pew Research found that only 24% of baby boomers were using LinkedIn as of last year.

Sometimes when we've been doing something for a very long time, it's easy to get stuck in our ways. Next time you have a networking opportunity, remember these tips. And if you haven’t already, “make the most of your professional life, and join LinkedIn for free today!"


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