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Common Networking Mistakes to Avoid - Part 1 of 2
To move forward as a career person or in business, you need to establish effective relationships that help you grow. However, networking is not always as straightforward as it may seem. First, let us begin by defining what networking means.
Networking is defined as the deliberate step or process that is taken to communicate and interrelate with other people for the purpose of exchanging ideas or establishing a professional relationship.
Therefore, networking goes beyond just meeting people and exchanging contacts. It requires a deliberate effort from both parties to establish a professional relationship that will see each of them grow in their respective fields. To network effectively then, you should watch out for these common mistakes:
1. Unwillingness to Listen
One of the reasons for networking is to get an opportunity to listen to other people’s opinions and learn from them. Any purposeful conversation is founded on the exchange of information. Not many people will be willing to listen to someone who is going on about their work and skills. For you to establish business relationships that will work for you in the future, you need to listen to other people and learn what you can from them and about them. Only share information if the other person is willing to listen and when you do so, also show your interest in what they do.
2. Inappropriate Dressing
Remember the advice about first impressions? In this case, your dress plays a critical role. What you wear says a lot about you and you do not want to take chances, especially with people you barely know. Dress professionally as you would when going to an important meeting; you never know who you could bump into. If you are attending an occasion where you are unsure of the suitable dress code for the event, do your research in time. You can ask friends or call the organizer beforehand. It will pay off in the end.
3. Networking Only With the People 'Worthy' of a Relationship
While networking requires being strategic, you should not be too rigid as to only converse with people you think you can gain from. You never know how a person may contribute to your career/business. Be ready to know and help others, even those who are just beginning their career. This may seem contradictory, but networking is more than having strategic goals; it is also about getting to know people and not limiting yourself to only a specific type of people or a specific group.
4. Not Being Honest
The last thing you want is to misconstrue the truth. We live in a small world where finding out information about someone else is easier than it has ever been before. You never know whether the person already knows who you are or knows someone who knows the real you, so stick with the truth. It is easier to remember anyway and the truth is bound to come out at some point. Also, you can sell yourself and do so in a truthful manner which will make other people respect you.
Written by Readers’ Favorite Reviewer Edith Wairimu