Using networking etiquette is the only way to build a successful network. If you are offensive to your network, you are better off not even starting to build one.
Developing a network is all about cultivating mutually beneficial relationships. Professional networks are one of the most helpful tools that you could cultivate.
I have become a huge fan of networking and this comes from someone that was opposed to it a little less than a year ago. In the last year, I have benefited greatly from my network. They have helped me find other employment opportunities, meet people that have helped me, and I have met a lot of great people along the way.
As a result, networking has become very important to me. I try to stay in constant communication with my network as well as looking for opportunities to find other people to network with.
Network etiquette will help you harness the power of your network without having to worry about offending others. These tips will help you build the right type of network without offending people.
Keep it real - There is nothing worse that being fake for the sake of gaining friends. Most people will see right through the act anyway. Be yourself and be true to yourself.
Do something first - When you are establishing a new relationship for your network, do something for that person to begin with. This will help you accomplish two things:
Maintain a list - In order to take advantage of your network, you must have a way to keep in contact with them quickly. Some people use email for this. I know others that will use a spreadsheet to keep the contacts in their network. I prefer to use Facebook for my network. It allows me to maintain contact with them, see what is happening in their life, list all their birthdays in one spot and so on. I highly recommend it.
We also can provide you with tips on Facebook etiquette.
Business cards are a must - As you are meeting people, you need to have a way for them to contact you. Proper networking etiquette says that you should give them a card of yours. This shows good business card etiquette. Make sure that the card is professional, eye catching, and easy to read. It always helps to have correct contact information too.
Shaking hands says a lot about who you are - When you are introducing yourself to people, look them in the eye and give them a good, firm handshake. A good handshake lets you know what kind of person they are.
Follow-up afterwards - Once you have made a new connection, send that person a note, email, or text message saying that it was nice to meet them. This will help solidify the relationship.
These tips should help you with your networking etiquette. Use this new tool to your advantage.