The 6 Things Smart Networkers Avoid for Networking Success

Christina Metcalf
Christina Metcalf
Published on 11/06/2023

Networking is an essential facet of professional growth and achievement. It holds the potential to open doors to vast opportunities, forge valuable connections, and foster fruitful collaborations. Nevertheless, for those looking to thrive in the networking arena, it's not just about the proactive steps they take, but also about the pitfalls they skillfully navigate around. After all, there is a “bad” way to network where your hard work is less likely to pay off.

And networking is work!

You must follow up, track your efforts, and plan how you might be your most effective with the time and resources you have. If you’ve ever known a pro networker, you likely saw charm and good conversation. But what you’re missing behind the scenes could fill books.

Here are some of the things smart networkers avoid:

Superficial Connections

Avoid building a network based solely on quantity rather than quality. Smart networkers understand that it's not about the number of connections you have but the depth of those connections. Building relationships takes time and effort. Focus on nurturing relationships with individuals who share your values, goals, and interests.

You can find these connections by being selective about which networking events you attend. For instance, a chamber networking event or referral group means you’ll likely be mixing with business-oriented professionals from various industries, while an association networking event means you’ll be limited to that industry. There are benefits to both depending on what you are looking for such as increased sales versus mentoring opportunities.


Confident networkers know that constantly promoting themselves or their services can be a turn-off. Avoid overwhelming your connections with a barrage of sales pitches. Instead, prioritize offering value, sharing knowledge, and providing assistance when possible. This approach will lead to more genuine and fruitful relationships. Plus, when you provide someone with valuable information and free resources/advice, they will likely feel obligated to pay you back because of the Law or Reciprocity.

Neglecting Follow-Up

Successful networkers understand the importance of timely and consistent follow-up. Avoid making connections and then disappearing into the void. Regularly check in with your contacts, engage with them on their accomplishments, and offer your support when needed. This keeps your network alive and thriving. Additionally, it will make them feel valued as more than just a referrer. No one wants to feel like you keep them around simply for their reach in the community.

Unfocused Networking Events

Confident networkers don't waste their time at random networking events. Avoid attending gatherings that don't align with your goals or target audience. Prioritize events where you can meet like-minded professionals, potential mentors, or clients, increasing the chances of meaningful connections.

Forgetting to Show Gratitude

One common mistake is neglecting to express gratitude. Smart networkers understand the power of a simple "thank you." Avoid taking your connections for granted; show appreciation for their time and assistance. A little gratitude can go a long way in solidifying relationships. It’s natural that people want to help. But when you’re appreciative, they will go out of their way to assist you because they know you won’t take it (or them) for granted.

Ignoring Tracking and Follow-Up

Savvy networkers know that if they are going to dedicate time to something like networking and joining a referral group, they should be weighing their efforts against a return. That’s where the importance of tracking referrals comes in. Confident networkers recognize that a well-organized approach to referrals can significantly boost their networking success and help them recreate this success in the future. This is why referral networking software is essential to these efforts.

Referral networking software provides a systematic and efficient way to track, manage, and follow up on referrals within your network. It helps you:

  • Keep a record of who referred whom.
  • Monitor the progress of referrals and track outcomes.
  • Send timely follow-ups and expressions of gratitude.
  • Build a reputation as a reliable source for referrals, thereby enhancing your credibility within your network.

By using referral networking software, you can maximize the value of your network and ensure that no referral opportunity is lost or forgotten. This, in turn, strengthens your reputation and positions you as a trusted source of connections and resources in your industry.

In conclusion, the success of your networking efforts relies not only on what you do but also on what you avoid. By steering clear of superficial connections, over-promotion, neglecting follow-ups, unfocused networking events, and other common pitfalls, you can build a more powerful and effective network. Additionally, the strategic use of referral networking software allows you to leverage your network for greater success.

Smart and confident networkers recognize that every connection they make is a potential gateway to new opportunities. What connections will you work on today?

About the author

Christina Metcalf

Christina Metcalf is a writer who loves stories and specializes in assisting small businesses and chambers of commerce to tell theirs.


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