Relationship Building vs. Networking:

10 tips on what not to do and 10 tips on what to do!

Whether you are new to networking or want to fine-tune your skills, here is a list of do’s, (and don’ts too!) that will help you create the kind of meaningful connections that you’re looking for!

Adapted from Tracey Stone Mooney


1. Don’t play business card poker!

Networking isn’t just about how many business cards you hold or lay down. A business card is merely a tiny tool you use to help people get ahold of you, and get ahold of them!


2. Don’t be Jaws… no time suckers!

Respect your time, and the time of your connections by engaging in meaningful, real conversations!

3. Dress for Success! No 3 Ts or 3 Bs… tanks, toes, and tattoos, no butts, busts, or belly shirts

While a tank top is appropriate under a blazer, open-toe shoes may be lovely at a gala, and tattoos have become commonplace in almost every profession, know the room, and dress accordingly.

4. Don’t go overboard on the smorgasbord, contain yourself with food and beverage

It’s easy to mindlessly eat or drink (especially if you are nervous) but practice moderation and temperance at networking events.

5. Don’t muddy the waters; focus on what you do for the business you are associated with first and not other side projects. Articulate clearly how others can help you and how you can help them.

Focus on your values and your mission; if you have a side hustle this may not be the time to bring it up.

6. Global Warming, don’t talk poorly of others, you never know who knows who

Your poor experience with a business or individual may be yours, and you’re alone. Airing grievances or gossiping is not only uncouth but could cost you professionally.

7. Don’t be late, be prompt!

We make time for the things that matter; show others that they matter by being prompt.

8. Better seen than heard, listen more than speak.

The person that is in front of you right now is the most interesting and valuable person in the room, learn by listening!

9. Follow up. Period.

The time you invested in meeting and getting to know someone is wasted and undermined when you don’t follow up!

10. Don’t give up!

Many times, new networkers give up because they didn’t strike gold the first few times out. Networking is a long game that pays dividends over years, sometimes decades.


1. Set Goals: make goals; meet three new meaningful friends

You aren’t here to check a box, you are her to create relationships! Find the new people in the room, and hold yourself to this goal.

2. Set a time limit: know your exit strategy

Many networking events may have an open house type set up, allowing you to manage your time wisely. Know when to go!

3. Plan ahead: think of icebreakers or topics for discussion a. F.O.R.M (by Ron Price, Price-Associates) Family, Occupation, Recreation, Mission

(or Rhea’s version: Food/Travel, Organization, Relaxation, Mantra)

Sorry, the weather won’t work here. The best way to break the ice is to acknowledge it! Networking is awkward and fun! Let both of these be true.

4. Stories: Share personal stories, avoid politics, religion, and gross health stories

You are here to make connections, not alienate or put people in awkward or uncomfortable situations.

5. Intro: ask for an introduction

Don’t be afraid to ask for an introduction, and pay the favor back in spades! Networking is, after all, about networks!

6. Questions: ask open-ended Q’s

Yes or no questions don’t add value to your time with your new friends, they just take time.

7. Relationship: build trust, be authentic, be genuine, and ask how you can help!

Always end your conversation with a genuine offer! Everyone could benefit from someone you know, something you know, or something you can do!

8. Give: volunteer for the group or organization, “leads” come from “leaders”

Some of the most influential and connected people in the world are givers; volunteering not only makes us better, it makes our communities and businesses better too!

9. Influence: Become a powerful resource, offer up expertise in a humble way

You know about something, or how to do something that someone else does not, and vice versa! This is your superpower, go use it for good!

10. Follow up: within 48 hours or less, 3 C’s, Coffee, Cocktails or Conference Call

Show a sense of sincerity and urgency by following up with a real offer to connect within 48 hours.

Networking can be one of the most personally and professionally rewarding activities that you can engage in! Where will you find yourself this week, and what new friends will you make? 

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