Don’t dress down. Looks matter, whether you like it or not. Before you can “wow” people with your impressive set of skills, you’ll need to awe them with your appearance and body language.
Don’t dismiss people who don’t look important. “You should behave here like everyone you interact with has the potential… to get you a cover story in The New York Times.” Sometimes it’s the secretary that will get the job done, not the president.
Don’t expect a job. Getting a job might be more about who you know than what you know – but don’t be so obvious about it.
Don’t be uninformed. No card, no contact. Be up to date with what is going on in your field and in the field whose business you are trying to get. It’s okay to learn something new, but if you don’t know something crucial then you have just lost their faith in your abilities.
Don’t collect business cards like candy. “Don’t trick-or-treat for business cards.” Make an honest connection with someone before you start soliciting for business. They are more likely to give it after a positive interaction verses a cold call.
Don’t only think about yourself. “Networking can be described as the process of interacting or engaging in communication with other for mutual assistance or support.”
Don’t be vague. “I want to go back to school… maybe do something in the business world.” Almost everything has something to do with business. Have clear goals in mind.
Don’t reach too high. Having Mark Cuban, Warren Buffet, or John Maxwell on speed dial would be great – for you. But would you really be able to offer them much help? Maybe… but probably not.
Don’t monopolize anyone’s time. This isn’t a phone call or an email exchange, so give people space to mingle. If they are giving hand signals to a partner across the room to help them escape, you’ve lost the opportunity.
Don’t follow up with a sales pitch. Before you ask for a favor, you need to develop the relationship further, Sue Clement writes on Businessknowhow.com. She recommends referencing something you spoke about at the networking event and then offering the person something they can use – whether that is an introduction or a helpful article.