Effective networking can lead to new clients and employees, business partnerships and other opportunities. However, networking and nurturing business relationships take time and effort. That’s why you shouldn’t ruin the relationship by making these mistakes:
1. Probing for more connections. If you ask your contacts general questions like, “Who else do you know that might be worth my time?” or “Do you know anyone at …?” they will believe that you are only interested in them for their connections. That can kill a relationship fast.
2. Requesting a favor “for a friend.” Your contacts know you and may be willing to help you further your career, close a deal, generate leads and so on. However, it’s a huge imposition to ask them to do something for a person they don’t even know, and they may feel you are taking advantage of them.
3. Becoming angry when they can’t help you. When a contact either refuses—or simply can’t—assist you, thank the person and move on. Don’t keep pressing, request assistance immediately or, worse, become frustrated or angry. Your connections may not have the time, authority or ability to help—or they may not want to put their own reputations at stake. Respect that.
— Adapted from “3 Networking Questions You Should Avoid at All Costs and What to Ask Instead,” Lily Herman, The Muse, www.themuse.com.