The Biggest Networking Mistake We Make

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In today's video episode of "Skip to Action TV," I'm sharing the biggest networking mistake you can make - and it's probably something you haven't thought of before. Watch on or read the transcript below!

 

The biggest networking mistake you make is not continuing the story.

You know what is the biggest networking mistake that we all make? It's not continuing the story. It's just crazy to me how often this happens and maybe you don't even know what I'm talking about.

Let's use the example of students that reach out to me from my college university. All the time I get emails, "Oh tell me about working for Disney. Tell me about this or that. Can I have 30 minutes of your time?" And sometimes I do make time for that, it is tough to take that away, but you know, I want to help students going forward. And I'll talk to them for 30 minutes or an hour and tell them my story, tell them how to engage with me, give them resources, that kind of thing and help them along the way and I often never hear from them again. And this is such a huge, huge missed opportunity.

You know, I think that the nature of going through that, having done it myself, remembering what it was like to be in college, "Oh well I really don't want to bother this person again. I already took 30 minutes or an hour of this person's time and that was great. I'm sure she knows I appreciate it, because I met with her." Well you know the key is you thank somebody and then you stay in the story.

The worst thing that I can't ever get over is that all these kids that I've helped, I don't really ever hear from them again. I don't know if the advice that I gave them really made a difference to them. And I think the reason why we give our time to help others, is because we want it to have an impact.

The best compliment you can pay to someone who has helped you is stay on their radar and care about what they do.

If someone's helped you, check in with them three months, six months, maybe a year later. Set a calendar reminder if it's tough for you to keep up with that. But especially for people who you really admire their career or really get a lot out of, you can build the relationship with them by doing this very simple thing of a couple of lines in an email, "Hey, thanks so much for your time six months ago. It was really great to connect with you. I really want to let you know I implemented this piece of advice and it's really changing my career or got me this job."

And I'll tell you why, in a really practical way, I have a student who did exactly this and every six months he reaches out to me and he not only lets me know how he's doing, he asks me how I'm doing.

And I'll tell you, there are very few students that I would go out of my way to help, to help get them the right person to talk to at one of the places I used to work or to give them a big opportunity. And this student in particular, I would do a lot for. Because it's probably three or four times now that he's come to an event that I've hosted, he checks in with me, he makes sure to say thank you again for your support and help and asks me questions. But he's always really careful to care about the story and to stay a part of mine as much as he wants me to be a part of his. And that, whether you take it as a college student to an alum, or a collaborator to a collaborator, or a business owner to a client, that is how you build strong relationships.

Don't overlook the opportunity to build relationships with new connections and mentors.

It's something that is so rare especially in the world of networking that we don't stay in people's stories. Let people know they made a difference to you and they may become your greatest advocate. They may hire you someday. I might hire this kid who is so persistent. He even sent me a Christmas present. I mean, what more could you ask for than somebody caring and pulling that story forward?

Keep that in mind next time you ask somebody for a favor, for their time. You're not bothering them by letting them know that you care and letting them know that they made a difference in your life.