Networking Etiquette: Making Lasting Impressions

Every dedicated professional should know networking etiquette rules – with them, it’s easier to make new relationships with fellow professionals and avoid potential faux pas. You should avoid controversial or dividing topics (like politics and religion), remember the names, control your body language, be respectful of others and treat each situation as a win-win one – contribute as much as the other party. In this article, we explore this topic further, so read on if you wish to learn the ins and outs of networking.

Business Networking Etiquette Rules

What is the proper etiquette for networking? Here are the most important rules.

Avoid Controversial Topics

Whether you conduct your online networking strategy or network on real-life events, under no circumstances should you tackle controversial and dividing topics, such as religion or politics. Why?

First of all, because it can be dividing and might quickly lead to you disagreeing with the other person, hence burying your networking efforts. Secondly, because it is considered inappropriate – after all, why would you start a controversial topic in the first place if it isn’t connected directly to your profession?

Don’t Be Negative

Complaining or talking negatively about other people is a straight way to make you look rude. It can hinder your networking significantly. Thus, avoid it – focus on the positive sides as it will help you build stronger relationships.

Listen to the Other Person

One of the most important rules of business networking etiquette is: listen to what others have to say. Networking is supposed to be a win-win situation, so as much as you would like to share your opinion and experience, you need to be an active listener. It won’t only help you build better relationships but might also help you gain more knowledge.

Maintain Your Network

Proper networking etiquette requires you not only to meet new people but also to maintain contact with them. So, if you are acquainted with somebody at a conference, try reaching out to them on LinkedIn or through e-mail from time to time. This way, you’ll build stronger relationships – it’s worth the effort.

Proper etiquette of networking

Control Your Body Language

You need to be natural but also friendly and trustworthy when networking. This means that you should control or at least be aware of your body language. What do you mean in particular?

  • Maintain eye contact when chatting with colleagues.
  • Sit/stand up straight.
  • Don’t be afraid to smile at other people.
  • Give people their space.

Remember the Names

Surely, it’s easy to get mixed up when networking, especially if you do this in real life, for instance, at a conference. But it’s no excuse – if you don’t want to be perceived as rude and maintain the rules of networking etiquette, make as much effort as possible to remember the names of the people you meet.

Don’t be afraid to ask for the name again if you somehow forgot it – it’s better than forgetting and pretending to remember it. Also, consider creating a folder on your phone or adding people on LinkedIn right away – this way, you’ll have the names written down, which will help a lot.

Be Respectful

No matter whether you’re a CEO and talking to mid-level managers or you’re a newbie just entering the industry, be respectful of others. Networking is all about maintaining long-lasting relationships, and a lot can change in terms of your (and other people’s) position and status in a few years, so however privileged you might feel, do not disrespect other opinions and claims.

The Takeaway

We hope that we’ve explained everything you need to know about proper networking etiquette. If you need any more tips or you want to prepare yourself for a large networking event, consider our career strategy services. We will help you plan out your strategy and make meaningful relationships with other professionals, ones that you will benefit from in the course of your career.

You might also read: The Importance of Alumni Networks in Professional Development

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