Career Advice Tips to be more productive

4 Networking Mistakes to Avoid

Having a strong professional network is a vital key to a successful career. Unfortunately, to actually build and cultivate the kind of relationships to leverage into promising career advancements is no easy feat. Whatever the reason may be for your personal struggle or discomfort in developing these types of relationships, knowing the networking mistakes you should avoid in the first place will help you create and maintain an effective network to draw on for future inspiration and guidance. 
1. Stop thinking networking is a waste of time
Yes, it will be necessary to dedicate time and energy to growing and strengthening your network. However, if you dread it, and act like you dread it, then it is true networking will be a waste of time. When you lack enthusiasm and interest in doing something, especially if that something requires you to make a strong and positive impression on people, those people will notice. A major factor in building connections with people who will one day want to help and support you is to connect on a personal level as well as a professional level. Bad attitudes and fake personalities are easy to spot and will turn people off. Reframe your thinking and embrace the idea of meeting and connecting with new people who you may have common interests and professional aspirations. 
2. Stop believing that you can’t improve your networking skills
There are certainly some lucky people who are naturals at networking and conversing at ease with perfect strangers. Assuming those people who are good at connecting with random people are merely born that way devalues their skill and sets you up for defeat. Just as with any other skill, your networking abilities can improve with time, effort, and practise. It just depends on how you approach it. If you believe networking skills can be developed, then you are more likely to have the motivation to try to improve it. If you believe you can’t do much to change your aptitude for networking, the less likely you will be to make the effort. 
3. Stop thinking that your network will grow naturally and organically
One of the most common and prevalent networking mistakes is the belief that networks will naturally and spontaneously develop between people who know and like each other. By holding onto this misconception, you trap yourself in a homogenous network that doesn’t serve or benefit you or your contacts. The key to a fruitful network is a diverse and varied community in which to draw a wider scope of opportunities and contacts. In order to achieve this, professional relationships should be deliberately forged with those outside our current circles. 
4. Stop assuming our most valuable connections are those we’re closest to
Most people tend to rely on those in our network who we know best or longest for career advice. While most mean well and perhaps a few may be able to offer valuable insight, the problem with depending on these viewpoints is that these people are already a part of your core network, they more than likely mirror your own perspectives and ideas instead of being able to offer fresh viewpoints and certain knowledge outside our reach. The greatest benefit of having a network with connections outside of our inner circle is to gain exposure to innovation and insight that’s just beyond our current sphere. Sticking to those you already know won’t help you achieve that. 
Because networking is so important in helping to propel and advance one’s career, it’s worth rethinking the way you approach the act of networking. Pinpoint which traps you find yourself fallen into and work to improve your efforts. By knowing which networking mistakes to avoid, you’ll soon be on your way to a stronger, more effective professional network.