6 networking types to avoid—and avoid being

Gathering to exchange war stories and business cards can be fun and even lucrative, but some people fail to bring along their manners—and their eye for less obvious opportunities.

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Business networking should go beyond cultivating potential customers.

Keeping up to date on industry or sector developments, exchanging ideas or brainstorming challenges with others in your field, and finding opportunities for collaboration are just some of the benefits of networking. Other times, it’s just the pleasure of a stimulating conversation.

However, networking is often seen as self-serving, transactional and awkward. Perhaps that’s because some people approach it in the wrong way, giving the process a bad name. Here are some identifiable culprits:

1. The Taker. Networking is about cultivating sustainable, mutually beneficial business connections. Yet some think it’s all about them—a “What’s in it for me?” approach rather than “How can I help you?” To whom can you introduce them, and how can you help them? There is little thought about how they might return the favor.

2. The Over-the-Shoulder Glancer. You think you’re having an interesting, enjoyable conversation, but before you know it, you notice that their focus has veered over your shoulder to hunt for someone more important, more useful, more interesting. Then you ask a question, and it’s clear this person hasn’t been listening to you.

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