Business development Rebecca Smith · 28 July 2015
The biggest networking faux pas and how to avoid them
Networking is a useful route to all sorts of business opportunities and the value in building up a solid base of contacts can’t be underestimated. Events set up for the express purpose of networking now bring in over a quarter of new business leads for SMEs, but new research has found that small businessescould be losing outdue to simple networking faux pas. Business insurer Premierline and the BNI networking group conducted a survey with over 300 small businesses, which found the most common mistakes budding entrepreneurs make when attempting to establish useful contacts. A quarter of networkers forgot the name of the person they were attempting to introduce during the event, while over half forgot their business cards and of those that did remember, 48 per cent then didn’t remember to use them during the event. Some 25 per cent of those trying out networking misjudged greeting etiquettes dithering between whether a handshake or kiss on the cheek was most appropriate and often delivering an awkward mixture of both. Not everyone is the smoothest of operators in social situations and two in five people have encountered people networking with spilt food or drink on their clothing a possible route to breaking the ice, but definitely a risky one. Having a drink in hand may help to allay any nerves, particularly if you aren’t fond of big crowds, though most would say keeping an eye on the number of glasses of wine is important. The research found many people weren’t being so careful over half of networkers have seen someone, or have themselves, been noticeably drunk at an event. Similarly, while an early piece of advice for those trying to network for the first time would usuallybe to work the room and meet as many people as possible, over two thirds forgot to do soand ended up talking to the same person for the entire night. You may think it’s best to stick to fairly conventional topics duringconversation, and the study reflected the perils of possibly veering into more controversial territory. A quarter of networking small businesses have experienced a serious disagreement or argument at a social event for entrepreneurs.
ABOUT THE EXPERTRebecca Smith
Rebecca is a reporter for Business Advice. Prior to this, she worked with a range of tech, advertising, media and digital clients at Propeller PR and did freelance work for The Telegraph.