It is important to understand that networking is bigger than casual conversations at a business event. It
is more than an escape from the day-to-day mundane routine of business. Even though you may
experience both, networking is so much more than that.
In this three-part series, we look at 10 common mistakes made when networking. The purpose is
three-fold: 1) to bring awareness to what networking is all about; 2) to eradicate those mistakes; and 3)
to change mindset and see networking as a legit format for growing your business.
This article in the first series addresses 3 of the 10 common mistakes made at networking events. These
mistakes can be costly. Avoid them by being astute and knowledgeable in the networking arena. These
common mistakes are:
Lack of preparation
Attending the wrong event
Having a weak elevator-speech
1. Lack of Preparation:
In my rookie days of networking, I followed my self-imposed belief that wearing appropriate business
attire and having enough business cards would ensure walking away with potential business clients. I
was on the wrong track! It wasn't long before I discovered that networking needed a deliberate action
that required strategic planning.
Being adequately prepared gives you a roadmap that spells purpose and direction to increase your
ability to ultimately achieve amazing results. Even before stepping into the event room, be sure to have
a well-thought-out plan to guide your actions while at the event.
2. Attending the Wrong Event:
In case you are wondering how is it possible to attend the wrong networking event, let me assure you
that if your prospective clients don't hang out where you are, then you are at the wrong event. Follow
the trail; attend events where your target market gathers. Your ultimate goal is to market to the people
who need your services or products.
Be selective and clearly define your target market. Blindly throwing out darts hoping to hit the target is a
high-risk approach that yields little result. This hit or miss method is fruitless and unproductive. Instead
be deliberate in your intentions. Without a plan, you are wasting time and resources attending events
hoping you will make it big and rope in a few clients.
So, be intentional and purposeful seeking out events that your target market attends.
3. Having a Weak elevator speech:
The name "elevator speech" is used when you meet someone on the elevator, and have 15-30 seconds
to introduce yourself and tell him/her what you do and the benefits you can provide. This means your
message must be succinct flavored with at least 1-2 benefits identified for your target market. Consider
your elevator speech or unique selling proposition as your introduction. Here is an example of my
"My name is Marilyn Thorpe. I work with entrepreneurs to build strategies to reach higher levels of
performance and profits."
Your elevator speech is based on key facts about your product/service, its performance and value to
your target market. You can have different variations of your elevator speech depending on what
product or service you are marketing at any given time.
The elevator speech is valuable. It communicates the essential and beneficial aspects of your business to
others. The purpose is to create interest so that the individual sees how he or his company can benefit
from your services. You must perfect the art of giving powerful elevator speeches so that there are no
hesitations, glitches, or stumbling. The words should flow evenly. Keep in mind that a powerful elevator
speech can open other doors for you. Once you have created interest, be prepared to answer further
questions that could possibly lead to a follow-up meeting.
As you craft your elevator speech, have a goal in mind as to the outcome you are trying to achieve or
attain. All the while, remember these key words: specificity, freshness, succinctness, creativity, and
This concludes part 1 of the 3 part series on the "10 Common Mistakes Made When Networking".