Networking etiquette can make or break your personal brand, says Michael Dulworth in The Connect Effect: Building strong personal, professional, and virtual networks. To be more effective at networking, you’ve got to mind your manners. His advice includes:
Do connect with all of your network members on a regular basis: In networking, absence makes the brand grow fainter. And if you connect with people only when you need something, you will violate the rule of being reciprocal: give first, and give often.
Do be clear and concise in what you’re asking from a network member: You need to say, “How can I be of service to you? How can you be of service to me? What do we have in common?” People won’t take you seriously if you’re networking without a purpose.
Don’t send out blast e-mails to everyone in your network: Send individual e-mails, even if they all have the same message. No one is flattered to be included on a list of dozens of names.
Don’t turn a networking event into a sales call: If you are constantly selling something, that activity will become part of your brand and turn people off. Also, be considerate of others’ busy schedules.
Don’t hog the spotlight: While it’s important to tell your story, you also need to let others tell their stories. Showing a real interest in others is what helps build solid and long-lasting relationships.