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The Savvy Networker
« on: September 18, 2008, 02:14:49 AM »
The Savvy Networker
10 Biggest Networking No-No\'s
by: Liz Ryan

Networking is a great activity and often a fruitful one, but it\'s not for the faint of heart.

The networking jungles are full of prowling and slithering creatures who can make you wish you\'d stayed at home and far from your computer. Just so you don\'t emulate these unclear-on-the-concept networkers, here\'s my list of the Top 10 most egregious networking missteps:

1. Trip-Worthy

Writing to or calling a stranger to say, "Let\'s meet for coffee -- say, halfway in between our offices?" is highly impolite, since the person you\'re approaching doesn\'t know you from Adam. If you\'ve got the desire to meet this person, you can figure out how to get within a half-mile or his or her office.

2. Join My Fan Club

Meeting a new person and adding him or her to your newsletter without permission is another capital networking crime. Don\'t do it -- write to each new acquaintance and ask for permission (and wait for an answer) before padding your subscriber list with his or her email address.

3. You\'re Nothing to Me, But Your Employer Isn\'t

Striking up a networking conversation with a person based on his or her name tag -- for example, because the person works at IBM -- and then, within five minutes, asking the person for an introduction to a hiring manager or purchasing decision-maker at IBM is the height of rudeness. Walk away from a networker like this.

4. Dear Trusted Colleague (Whatever Your Name Is),

Sending a LinkedIn invitation to every person you\'ve ever met, using the standard LinkedIn boilerplate invitation language, will get you dropped from polite networking society. LinkedIn connections are intended for trusted colleagues, and if you must invitation-spam your new acquaintances, you can at least take 10 seconds to compose your own, personal note to each one.

5. Remember Me?

Popping up after 10 or 15 years to ask an old contact, "Say, could you help me find a job?" brands you as a me-first networker. The proper outreach to a person you\'ve lost touch with is, "Dear Stan, it\'s been too long! I\'d love to hear about what you are doing." Smart networkers don\'t wait until they\'re job-hunting to keep up with friends, old and new.

6. I Was Thinking About You, You, You, and You

Sending a mass mailing disguised as a personal message earns you a one-way ticket to Networking Hell (imaginary) for good reason. When you write "I saw this article and thought about you" it should be true. Unless you can think of about 400 people simultaneously, it\'s unethical to send any kind of mass mailing disguised as a one-on-one message to each recipient.

7. I Practiced It; I Have to Deliver It

Spitting your "elevator speech," unsolicited, into a new acquaintance\'s face is a major networking faux pas that happens far too often. Conversation is a give-and-take activity, and isn\'t built to enable either participant to launch a 30-second-or-longer monologue about his business. Wait for your conversation partner to ask questions -- don\'t shower her with details about your fabulous firm and its amazing products.

8. So There\'s This Bridge in Brooklyn

Turning what was supposed to be a get-to-know-you coffee or lunch into a sales pitch is another hateful networking move. If you invite a person to coffee to hear about your products, say so.

9. Since You and Charlie Are So Close

Meeting a new person and then sicking your friends on him or her without asking permission is rude! Ask for permission before you send a job-hunting friend or other advice-seeker on to a new acquaintance. It\'s never a good idea to pass on a networking contact\'s email address or phone number without expressed permission.

10. Bill Gates Suggested I Call

Using a networker\'s name in vain may be the worst networking sin of all. If you want an introduction, ask for it, and don\'t be miffed if your networking contact doesn\'t come through. Introductions are like gold, and imply that the person making the introduction is endorsing the person who\'s being introduced. If you call up a friend of mine and say, "Liz suggested I call you," when I did no such thing, you\'re off my list forever.

Watch your step, and if you run into the types of networkers who\'d pull stunts like these, walk the other way as fast as you can. Life is too short to waste your time with rude networkers -- after all, we\'re known by the company we keep.

Liz Ryan is a 25-year HR veteran, former Fortune 500 VP and an internationally recognized expert on careers and the new millennium workplace. She is the author of "Happy About Online Networking," a popular speaker on workplace and work/life topics, and the leader of the global Ask Liz Ryan online community. Contact Liz at liz@asklizryan.com.

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The Savvy Networker
« on: September 18, 2008, 02:14:49 AM »

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