Business Networking Training You can not imagine the number of times, while out networking or at an networking event, someone has said, not only to me, that they have "no idea what to do" while networking, or some variation of that statement. I've literally asked them what they mean by saying that. Typically they go on to tell me about they are just there because "The boss said to come" or "It's part of my role at my job" or that "I need to start networking". And I'll ask "What have you done to prepare to network?" (This is my favorite part) I usually get a kind of blank look followed by "Nothing" or "I don't know" or "I've never thought about it". My response is, with a side grin, "You probably should." That's one story.
Another is, and a quick way to make a poor first impression on those new people that you meet, treating networking events as "target rich environments" for sales opportunities. Many conversations have taken place and started in the right direction only to take a quick, wrong turn into a sales pitch or "Here's my card! Let's do business together." Or, and kind of worst case scenario, the initial conversation NEVER happens and you get "Here's my card! Let's do business together." Both scenarios are off target but especially the second one. True networking has to, has to, has to... start with the relationship. Has to. That's another story.
The two previous stories are the most common in my experience. The first happens when someone does not understand the "why" of networking coupled with lack of preparation and "winging it." I've come upon instances where I've made a similar mistake and have paid for it. The second story happens when someone does not understand the "why" of networking coupled with focusing on what is in it for them and not the other people they interact with. As Gary Vaynerchuk would say, give 51% to their 49%. Always give more.