Hi all.

After I sent my newsletter out this week, I received lots of email about the article I wrote for the newsletter. Everyone thanked me for touching on the things people often don’t say when speaking about networking etiquette. So I thought I’d share it here. Enjoy!

4 Surefire Ways to Damage Your Networking Relationships (and What You Can Do to Save Them)

Now you know I’m all about positivity. I don’t allow any negativity in my sphere. But every now and again, people will do things that make me have to address it. I have said on many occasions that networking is a team sport. While I want everyone to be themselves and “keep it real”, there is a time and a place for everything. And for somethings, there is NO time and place. Below are the top four networking pet peeves of mine. I share them not to complain, but to educate. Please stop and think about each of these and determine if you fit the mold. If you do, STOP IT immediately.

  1. Whining and using the guilt card. I’m not going to get into the details but suffice it to say this was used on me recently. The quickest way to lose a connection with someone is to play the guilt card under the pretense of clearing your heart. Instead of going down that slippery road, if there was an incident that bothered or worried you, reach out to that person via phone or face to face (not email) and express your concerns. It may be just a simple error, or they may genuinely not know that they’ve hurt or slighted you. Life is too short to hold grudges. We’re all adults and should act accordingly. So next time you feel slighted, reach out to the person via phone or face to face to get clarity. You’ll be surprised how much time, aggravation and relationships you end up saving.

  2. Asking for favors when you’ve never engaged with the person. This one really gets me. You connect with someone and a few months or years go by and you don’t hear from them. They don’t reach out to you, you don’t reach out to them. Then one day out the blue, this person reaches out to you and asks for your help. What the…. Listen, just because you’re connected on a social networking site or perhaps were introduced at an event and exchanged cards, unless you’ve cultivated that relationship in some way, you are never ever entitled to ask for favors. You can solve this by taking the time to connect with people. You don’t have to send weekly email or call every day. But every quarter, make it a point to reach out. Send a news article that made you think of them. Send them an update to let them know how you’re doing and ask for an update in return. Recommend a book or event to them. Just keep the lines of communication going. That way when you do need a favor, they will know who you are and might be willing to help you out.

  3. Giving out contact information without clearing it first. Yes, people do that. Just because you have a networking relationship with someone doesn’t mean you have the type of relationship where you can arbitrarily give out contact information. They may want people to reach out in a certain way (ie: phone, email, etc). Or they may prefer to screen the type of people they will connect with. Unless you have a personal relationship that goes beyond networking, and you know what their preferences are, don’t blindly give out contact information without asking first. Always ask first. Also you can ask them in advance how they prefer introductions. You’ll go a long way in preserving your relationships.

  4. Ignoring the very people you’re supposed to be connecting with. LOL, Yes,people do that too! Listen, you already know how I feel about connecting on social networks for the sake of high numbers. If you’re serious about networking with people and building relationships, please make the effort. If you’re invited to coffee, accept the invitation or come up with an alternate date and time. Don’t just blow them off. You NEVER know what blessings and opportunities you might be missing by blowing them off. They may be the key to or know someone who is the key to the very thing that you need. Don’t just rely on them reaching out to you. I don’t care how busy you are, reach out every so often.

Networking and relationship building is a mutual responsibility. Make sure you’re not doing anything to damage your relationships.

Til next time,

Adrienne Graham