I know Ia ain’t a networker or whatsoever you could assume my position fair enough to talk about this. But after being to the student and even corporate affairs and looking at how and why and when people exchange their name cards. It got me thinking. I have been doing networking, well anyone who knows me would say too, but I would say I have been doing a lot of wrong networking also, and I am glad that I have learned it early. These are what I observed and after some input from people from different ages and background too. Here I would describe it the very simple illustrative, Networking = Working on your net to go Fishing. *Please consider this content is from an undergraduate and not from the working world.
5 Mistakes People do in Networking
1. You don’t even know what type of Fish you are fishing for.
Yes, you don’t even know what you are looking for. Or I would say most of the time, the event doesn’t cater specific needs to your expectation of networking, and yes you mix up with everyone, considering in a 300 Company representative who come to a buffet dinner style to listen to CSR talks and you are finding a sponsor for your green event. So you went to network everyone you could in the event, get a person, stay with a few minutes, exchange name cards and hoop to a second person and so on. But truth again is that you are supposed to look for CER companies. If you do know well in the first place then you wouldn’t waste time going to a fresh water lake and hoping to fish for a saltwater fish. A typical similar is people going popular just for fame, that explains it why they don’t last long with most people sometimes even the closest one.
2. Working on a too big net.
That’s pretty common. In any students activities and especially with the current social media. Somehow, for some people, there is this common saying ” Add me on facebook, keep in touch” well considering that applies to everyone he/she met in the event, and there go the thousands of friends and what’s next? You hope to catch a lot of fish, work on a very big net, waste so much time pulling them out and sorting processing them, in the end, they are not what you need.
The mistake I learned is distributing too many name cards. Well, that’s ok, but to the wrong people and hence many opportunities came in! Good! but a lot of bad opportunities came in too.
3. Your net is not tight enough to catch the fish.
So yea after catching up with the so many new friends and then you taught of still pulling them up to the shore but your net is not tight enough to pull it all up. You are a lack of capacity to follow up. Or in short, you were not even sure of following up that person or not, with just the sentence rephrasing itself “see you next time, keep in touch” There were some people today I see, which I thought last time I should grab hold of them, then I could have imagined how much better things could work out now. Simply because I think I have my net too big.
4. You caught the wrong fish.
Networking the right person who needs you. There are thousands of people outside there which can meet your networking but the real result of seeing the connection is one when can hit you and say let’s get connected. You might see a lot of people who can benefit you but truth is only when you can offer something to them, then there goes the spark.
5. The fish ate you instead.
Yea, sometimes the people that you caught on board stole your time and contacts instead. Some fish can be so cute and they tell you they can help this and that but in the end just left you there while hijacking your efforts. Or in some situation, expectations are not right, the person might be so good that his expectation on you has gone wrong, perhaps you are being sweet tooth to catch him on board, in the end, he is the player of the game. There you go, he ate you. So just be sure that you are capable of handling that fish.
So there go the few mistakes I learned in networking. I wasted time here and there. I learned from others about their experience too. I know I am just an undergraduate and have yet to really see the real world. But as you deal with projects locally or nationally, university or outside, these things do come into applying so goes the same in the working world. True enough in University we do not need to worry about this, we are all still enjoying and defining friendship and university is one of the few platforms to find True Friends. Not highschool, highschool we are just not really at the age of understanding how to value each other. So to all of my friends =) Sit back and enjoy the last few years =D
I actually have my new name card =P 200 just for RM28. quite cheap I would say!