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How Not to Be a Networker: The Don'ts and How to Avoid Being a Sleaze
By Susan RoAne   Printer Friendly Version

The Don'ts

The Don'ts are a compilation of ideas, tips and suggestions on how to avoid being a "sleaze," as well as how to identify one. You may have more to add. My suggestions may be remedial, but this chapter would not be germane if there hadn't been transgressions.

If we avoid Don'ts, we will improve our communication, relationships, and networking know-hows.

Don't equate the process of networking to a science, it is an art.

Don't misconstrue networking to be a sales plan.

Don't be blinded by goals, only guided by them.

Don't be so quick to make surface judgements about others.

Don't use a name to gain access without permission of that person (Becky Gordon).

Don't foist your business cards upon people nor deal them out to others before a conversation occurs.

Don't offer unsolicited opinions for the benefit of those who never asked.

Don't talk about the monetary terms of your last deal; most of us know to divide that figure in half and subtract your weight...in ounces.

Don't ask for more than people can give.

Don't take credit for ideas, concepts, and words of others (it's called plagiarism, violation of copyright or stealing).

Don't blame others for your missed deadlines and unfulfilled promises.

Don't be invasive and ask too many questions.

Don't forget to contribute to conversations.

Don't forget to think before speaking. Pregnant pauses are sweet silences.

Don't ignore signals (body language, gestures, words, tones).

Don't use disparaging humor.

Don't overstay your welcome.

Don't cop a touchy-feely (keep your lips, hands, and arms to yourself). "Friendly" pinches, squeezes, hugs and kisses may not be considered so by the recipient.

Don't use suggestive language.

Don't be an opportunistic glad-hander. Be "in the moment" with people.

Don't misrepresent a sales event as a social party (Miss Manners).

Don't pursue, pester or push people; that will lose the link, and the contact. Let it go.

Don't bad mouth people. One never knows how that can come back to haunt you. A local city supervisor gave his annual holiday party. Upon being introduced to his assistant, she mentioned her former employment. I smiled and shared the name of my buddy who used to work with her. Her disparaging remark about my friend revealed her lack of political savvy and sense.

Don't send unsolicited resumes to people who don't know you, and don't expect to receive them. Effective communicators apprise people ahead of time.

Don't forget to do your homework to prepare yourself.

Don't deflect compliments; they are gifts. Acknowledge the giver by saying "Thank you."

Don't get discouraged; the process works if you understand it.

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 lead people on; tell the truth.

Don't compromise ethics for a quick buck (Chris Bigelow).

Don't be afraid to be afraid (Doug Sharpe).

Don't be afraid to try something new; you can always return to the old way (Chris Bigelow).

Don't drop a colleague, client or customer because his/her timing is different from yours. This month's turndown could be next year's mega-contract.

Don't discriminate against people; be discriminating among them.

Don't complicate the concept of expanding and overlapping circles with petty power plays.

Don't forget that cross-gender networking is impacted by the differences in conversational styles of men and women.

Don't be one of the "hail-well-met and hardy" boys!

Excerpted from The Secrets of Savvy Networking, (Chapter 15) (Warner Books).

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