We’ve all seen them…those good-intentioned yet overzealous rookies who haven’t quite gotten the hang of the digital networking event. They make little and big mistakes that blow their chances to leverage the connections they could have made, opting instead to waste the opportunity by blatantly chasing the lead.
This transformative digital world in which we live offers a unique, yet delicately balanced opportunity – even an advantage if handled properly. (In the C-Suite Network, we host a variety of digital events — connection points — designed to foster meaningful conversations.)
But going the wrong way can be disastrous in terms of that first impression being a lasting one.
As a Community Builder and head of Thought Leadership for the C-Suite Network, I participate in meaningful peer-to-peer networking with high-caliber professionals in a variety of digital settings every single day — some are formal interviews with top c-suite leaders while others are specialty roundtables or casual water-to-whiskey mixers that promote social connection. In any case, there are a few oops, uh-ohs, and nopes that you’ll want to avoid if you want to take full advantage of your next digital hangout.
Top Ten Mistakes People Make When Networking Virtually
10. They endlessly spam-bomb the chat with their contact information and no context. Guess what? The only memorable impression you are leaving is one of you being an ass.
9. They never make meaningful contributions to the discussions, either in chat or over audio, instead opting to deliver yet again a boring, canned elevator speech. What’s that noise? It’s the sound of an entire Zoom room snoring through yet another totally unnecessary pitchfest.
8. They spend all of their time talking about themselves in standard business clichés, and zero time listening to what customers actually need and how their solutions can provide real value to them. We don’t care if your “ducks are in a row,” or if “comparing apples to apples represents the lowest hanging fruit” – we want to know if what you provide can help my business – no more, no less!
7. They are rude, plain, and simple. They take a call on their phone while others are sharing. They don’t put themselves on video in smaller breakouts or 1-1s even when others are on. They don’t listen. These people are wastes of perfectly good rectangles.
6. Their LinkedIn profile and presence are not aligned with what they presented. The company name is not the same. Their headline is vague. There isn’t a photo. Don’t ruin your chances by making your LinkedIn visitors want to quickly check out before even hearing your message.
5. They have a horrible website that hasn’t been updated since The Office went off the air. (The U.K. version, no less.) Seriously. Don’t wonder why you can’t get business if your website is older than your social media intern.
4. They have broken links on their social and advisor profiles. Nothing says “meh” more than links that go nowhere. It only takes one to send an interested party packing.
3. They will forget to give a call to action! It doesn’t do any good to make a good first impression if you don’t immediately follow it up with a good first call to action.
2. They don’t have any original content that showcases their expertise. They aren’t writing any articles. They don’t have a podcast. There aren’t any quality video clips. How do your future customers know of your brilliance and authority beyond you telling them in a networking meeting? Can you SHOW them easily? And can they SHARE it with other decision-makers?
1. They don’t offer a Give with their Ask. They don’t come from a spirit of service. They only take. True success only comes from a commitment to reciprocity.
The quality of a network is only as strong as the caliber of the people in the room and the spirit of collaboration that permeates its culture. (Based on my studies of Napoleon Hill’s Think and Grow Rich, I think of success as an equation: Economics + Energetics = Exponential Growth.)
When we get into the right headspace —and heartspace — for meaningful connection, we have more relevant conversations and see each other as people, not prospects. And through that lens of possibility, anything can happen.
Theresa Rose is a badass businesswoman and an energizing, inspiring force of nature who is passionate about helping others shine their brilliance. Theresa is the head of Thought Leadership for the C-Suite Network and author of Mindful Performance: How to Powerfully Impact Profitability, Productivity, and Purpose. She was a Featured Author on C-Suite TV’s Best Seller TV and is a Radio Host of Mindful Performance on C-Suite Radio. Theresa won Most Enthusiastic in 2nd grade and Most Valuable Cheerleader in Junior High, so you know she comes by her contagious energy honestly.