Networking Skills

Networking 101: The 14 Do’s and Don’ts of Networking

networking 101

If you’re wondering how to network. You’re not alone. Networking 101 isn’t taught in school.

And unfortunately you don’t get a networking etiquette do’s and don’ts playbook in life. But don’t worry. You’re in the right place. 

Here are 14 networking etiquette do’s and don’ts. And everything you need to know about how to network.  

What is Networking Etiquette?

Networking etiquette is a set of rules and best practices to follow when connecting with new people or your existing contacts. 

It helps you understand how to interact with people in a professional setting. 

But it’s not a one size fits all. Every culture has its own norms for networking.

What are the Basics of Networking

The basics of networking are to build mutually beneficial relationships. You should give to your network as much as you take.  

And it doesn’t take much to give. There are simple ways to add value to your network, like sharing resources or making introductions.

What should you not say when networking?

Avoid saying things that can trigger people when you’re networking. 

This means staying away from topics like politics, race, or religion. 

Pay attention to current events. Know what’s going on in the world around you. And don’t make comments that can come across as insensitive.

Networking in the Covid Era

The pandemic changed how we network. So much networking is happening online. And you’ll need social skills for this new virtual era.  

This means understanding how to build rapport virtually. Show up well on conference calls. And build a community digitally.

Download for Free!
Grab our networking templates and guide. Plus get instant access to our career center! 
Thanks! Keep an eye on your inbox for updates.

Networking Etiquette Examples

Let’s review things you should and shouldn’t be doing while networking. 

If you’re doing things you shouldn’t be. No one’s judging. You’re here to learn!

Networking Do’s

1. Know your Value 

Before you do anything else. Understand the value you offer your network. Knowing what you bring to the table leads to confident networking. 

If you’re unsure about this, check out this blog post on how to network with “nothing” to offer

2. Think Win-Win

Networking is about creating a win-win community. When you approach it from this angle, you put out good vibes.

And attract the same in return. Always keep an eye out for ways to support the people in your network.

3. Remember Names

Try to remember names while networking. This might seem obvious. But trust me, it’s easy to forget names at a busy networking event. 

An easy way to do this is to create a folder on your phone’s note app for each event. Write down the names of people you meet. Include a unique detail that’ll help you recall their names. 

This extra step will help you start relationships on a good note. And show people that you care.  

4. Have good body language

Your body language can say more than your words when networking. 

It can help you appear approachable, confident, and knowledgeable. 

Here’s what you can do to have positive body language while networking:

  • Maintain eye contact during conversations
  • Sit or stand up straight if possible 
  • Practice smiling at others 
  • Be mindful of your resting face 
  • Give people enough space 
  • Avoid crossing your arms  

5. Have a brand story

Think of your brand story as the journey to get where you are today. 

Everything that led you up to this point, is part of your personal brand story. 

Have it ready before networking events. So you’re not caught off guard when someone asks you about yourself.  

We walk you through creating a personal brand story in our Master Networking Course

6. Do your research before networking

Run a quick search about the speakers or attendees before a networking event. 

This will help you find things you have in common. Which can be great talking points later. 

7. Maintain your network

You’ve worked hard to build your network. Don’t let that hard work go to waste. There are organic ways to keep in touch with your contacts.

You can send birthday wishes. Share helpful resources. Or send life updates. 

Networking Etiquette Infographic
Social Networking Etiquette

Networking Don’ts

1. Network without a plan

Having a plan is key to being successful with networking. A networking plan can help with that.

It gives you step-by-step actions to crush your career goals through networking.  

They typically include — networking goals, a review of your current contacts, and a list of those you wanna add to your network.

If you’re not sure where to start, check out this article on how to create a networking plan

2. Bring up triggering topics

Today, it’s not always clear what will trigger people. To be safe, stay away from touchy subjects when networking in new spaces. 

Topics like sex, politics, religion, or trauma are best avoided at networking events.

What’s appropriate in one community, could turn off another. 

Having diversity in your network can help you understand what’s acceptable across cultures.

Check out this article on how to build a diverse network.  

3. Think it’s all about you

One of the biggest mistakes you can make with networking is thinking it’s all about you. 

Don’t only network when you need something. Don’t speak more than you listen. 

Networking etiquette means creating value on both ends. It’s not about how well you can self-promote.   

4. Have a negative attitude about networking

Your thinking has the power to create your reality according to science

So if you hate networking, you likely won’t get much out of it. 

Here’s what you can do to change your mindset about networking.

  1. Create positive networking affirmations
  2. Make networking part of your lifestyle
  3. Pace yourself while building your network

5. Ignore social cues

If you wanna have good networking etiquette. Don’t ignore social cues.  

This means, learning to pick up on non-verbal cues. And having a pulse on how others may feel. It’s a skill you’ll want to develop to network like a pro. 

6. Overlook your appearance 

You want people to focus on you and not your appearance. So always look appropriate for the occasion. And don’t ignore the dress code.   

It doesn’t mean you have to look like an IG model. But at least put a little effort into looking presentable. Whatever that means to you.

7. Fail to adapt to the times

Don’t be so stuck in your ways that you ignore all the new ways to network.

Today, social-audio apps allow you to have live conversations with people globally. This is one of many new ways to network. 

Take advantage of these opportunities as they come. And be open to new ways to meet people. 

Networking 101 Next Steps

Now that you understand networking 101. It’s time to get out there and take action. 

Our Networking Tracker can help you get started with building a high value social circle.

You can download it for free along with other helpful career guides in our Free Career Center.

Hopefully this leads to confident networking!

Over to You

Which networking etiquette have you been breaking? Let us know in the comments on social @netwerkmovement. Share this with a future leader!

Pin It For Later?

Networking Etiquette Dos and Donts
Network Etiquette Examples

Related Posts