Friday, September 15, 2006

Don't be a “networking sleaze”

Personal networking is probably the most common – and most powerful – marketing channel for most entrepreneurs. Yet it’s fraught with peril – and the mistakes you make can come back to haunt you.

To help you master the principles of personal marketing, Inc. Magazine published a handy list of things not to do when you're networking, from California consultant Susan RoAne. You can see the article, the Don’ts of Networking, here. But Canadian Entrepreneur has highlighted ten of the best no-nos for you.

* Don't forget to do your homework.
* Don't deal out your business cards to others before a conversation occurs.
* Don't use a name to gain access without the permission of that person.
* Don't talk about the monetary terms of your last deal. (Most of us know to divide that figure in half.)
* Don't bad-mouth people.
* Don't ignore signals -- body language, gestures, words, tone.
* Don't be quick to make judgments about others.
* Don't forget to say "I'm sorry" when you have erred, as well as "I don't know, "please" and "thank you."
* Don't deflect compliments; they are gifts. Acknowledge the giver by saying "Thank you."
* Don't overstay your welcome.

I especially like the one about not shunning compliments. I've tried to become more professional myself about receiving praise, but it still makes me feel all squishy inside and I try to rush past it as quick as I can.
Since compliments don't come along every day, we should all try to enjoy the moment and use the feedback to learn as much as we can about what went right, rather than just try to get it over with as fast as possible.

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