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Networking Etiquette 101: 6 Ways to build your network

Networking Etiquette

Just one faux pas during your networking can leave a bad taste in someone’s mouth that loses you dozens of potential contacts.  Keep note of these golden rules of networking etiquette to stay on the right path.

1. Respect your contacts

Never give someone the name of one of your contacts without asking that person first. Instead, you can say something like, “I know someone who might be able to help you. Let me ask her if it’s ok to give you her name and get back to you.” 

2. Dress for success

Don’t walk into a networking event looking like a slob, unless that’s the image you want to portray. If you’re not sure of the appropriate attire, dress a little bit nicer rather than more casually.

3. Do what you say you’ll do

If you said you’ll introduce someone to one of your contacts, make sure you follow-up with the name and number after checking with that person. If you promised to send someone information about another event, make a note to send it.

4. Don't phone someone out of the blue

Speaking to someone on the phone is less time-consuming than an email, but it still requires an appointment. Send an email or message via social media first to request a call, and be open to them saying no. If you do get to talk, make sure you’re aware of the time zone they are in.

5. Don’t forget about them

Even if you haven’t made specific commitments to your new contacts, you need to make an effort to stay visible and develop those relationships. Connect on social media, comment on their blogs, and send holiday cards (virtual or physical).

6. Thank everyone

As part of your follow-up, make sure you thank everyone who provided the slightest tip, name, advice, or other helpful piece of information. Tailor your thank-you based on the person and the help offered. You might send a private message on LinkedIn, a formal thank-you card, or even just a tweet.

Use your common sense in all your networking. Relationships take work and nurturing, whether they’re personal or business. Make the time to take care of the little things and you’ll earn a reputation for professionalism and courtesy that people respect.

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