Avoid the Awkward Moments of Networking

Overcoming Awkward Moments When Networking

Just like anything else, networking has many opportunities for awkward moments. Knowing how to handle those moments can help put you and the person you are with at ease. These are some of the awkward moments I have experienced and some I have only heard in discussion or read the stories.

8 Awkward Networking Situations You Must Avoid or at Least Be Able to Handle

Not Remembering Someone’s Name

I’ve had these experiences; everyone has these memory lapses. Don’t be embarrassed if you can’t remember someone’s name. Get over it and reintroduce yourself. Chances are this person may not remember your name either and shares your discomfort. Even better if you remember where you met previously and can reestablish the circumstances you can move toward a stronger relationship.

Don’t Force Your Business Card on the People You Meet

You don’t need to give a business card to everyone you meet. Only give your card if they ask; otherwise forget it. On the other hand DO NOT FORGET TO GET THEIR CARD! Ideally you should do this early in the discussion. The person who gets the business card first takes control of the meeting and gives this individual the opportunity to direct the discussion.

Always Have an Ample Supply of Business Cards

Guilty again! In times past I was confused as to what I was trying to do and therefore wasn’t sure what to put on my business card. What a mistake!

If people ask for a card you must be ready with your business card. Saying you forgot your cards is a weak position and very unimpressive. In many ways you are telling those you meet that you don’t take yourself seriously and therefore they shouldn’t take you seriously either.

Don’t Get Caught with Your Mouth and Hands Full of Food and Drink

If you are truly there for networking purposes don’t try to eat all the shrimp (my weakness). Keep your hands empty so you can shake hands, collect business cards and show you take your networking seriously. If you feel you might offend the event host, take a small plate, eat quickly and clear your hands. After that you should never have more than a non-alcoholic drink in one hand.

Don’t Be Distracted When You Are Talking to Someone

You have seen it and maybe you have done it as well. Someone is in a conversation and simply can’t stay focused. They are looking around to see who else is there or who is walking through the door. Your credibility is at issue; the person you are currently talking with is the most important person at the moment!

Be Friendly but Don’t Over Do It

Some people believe they must meet everyone at the event, but they don’t know how to do it gracefully. Actually few people can do it gracefully; so don’t make a fool of yourself and show insincerity!

Don’t Get Too Involved in Detailed Business Conversations

Networking events are just that; an opportunity to network and start a relationship. Some people do not feel a networking event is successful unless they walk away with new business or at least a very hot prospect.

Networking events are the opportunity to find some common ground, other than business, where a relationship can get a foothold. People like to do business with people they know. They want to be comfortable with the relationship and feel their new contact has credibility.

Don’t Use a Networking Event as an Opportunity to Get Free Advice

Many of the people at networking events may have valuable information you could use for your business. Don’t use the event as an opportunity to try to get free information. These individuals have invested time and money to get their knowledge, just as you have invested to get your knowledge; don’t compromise the relationship just so you can get something for free!


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Making “Small Talk” Using LinkedIn Interests

Making “Small Talk” with LinkedIn Interests

If you are like many people making small talk, especially with someone you do not know, can be painfully difficult. LinkedIn has provided a tool, when used correctly, to move us past this hurdle.

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Have You Ever Had Difficulty Making Conversation?

Unless you are the absolute bore who cannot stop talking about him or herself; you will answer yes! This is especially difficult with people you have just met or hardly know. What’s a “safe topic?” How do you strike up a conversation? LinkedIn is coming to your rescue!

Using LinkedIn Interests to Rescue You When the Conversation Is Lagging

The LinkedIn interests section is at the bottom of your profile and for most people it is an afterthought. Don’t make that mistake! This poorly used section can make or break you when it comes to conversation or “small talk”. In this free-form section you can put those things, outside of work, which interest you.

Tell people you like:

  • To play golf;
  • Watch golf on TV;
  • Watch baseball;
  • Run in marathons;
  • Visit historic sites;
  • Read biographies;
  • Crochet;
  • Sew;
  • Take long walks;
  • Listen to the sounds of the ocean;
  • Go on cruises;
  • Go camping;
  • Work with youth groups;
  • Play in a band;
  • Sing, and as you can;
  • See the list goes on and on.

Why Do You Do This?

The purpose of this exercise is to get you through the awkward moments without you having to do all or most of the talking. If you meet someone who is on LinkedIn and you need conversational material ask what they wrote in the section. If they wrote little or nothing, tell them about this article and what you did as a result with your Interests Section. You can then ask knowing what you did, what would they put in their Interests section. Your objective is to make yourself look like the smartest conversationalist there is by getting them to talk about themselves.

The smartest and best conversationalist is not the person who does all the talking; it’s the person with the ability to get the other person talking!


My name is Tom Staskiewicz and my goal is to help everyone do a little better, get a little further and reach the success they are destined to achieve! Whatever I can do to help you or anyone to move forward in reaching your goals; I’m all for it. Connect with me on LinkedIn, Like me on Facebook or follow me on Twitter.

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