Deborah Austin Networking is a crucial competitive tool for any executive and pays huge dividends if a job search becomes necessary, says Paul McDonald, executive director of consulting services firm Robert Half Management Resources, Menlo Park, Calif. But executives still commit networking faux pas, says McDonald, including:
Assigning staff members to attend industry events, thus missing networking opportunities. Executives should attend professional association meetings whenever possible.
Skipping networking receptions preceding business functions. Instead, arrive early, scan sign-in sheets, seek out people to meet.
Limiting one's circle of contacts. Besides peers, your network should include professionals at varying experience levels and outside your industry.
Overlooking new venues. Try to meet at least three new contacts at social gatherings like sporting events or parties. Always carry business cards.
Being overly aggressive.
Failing to record pertinent information. When receiving a business card, jot notes about the bearer's conversation to jog your memory later.
Neglecting appreciation. A simple thank-you note or e-mail always is appropriate.