How Not to Be a Networker: The Don’ts To Avoid

By Susan RoAne, The Mingling Maven®


The Don’ts

The Don’ts are a compilation of ideas, tips and suggestions on how to avoid being labeled as unsavvy…or worse. You may have more to add. My suggestions may seem remedial, but this article would not be germane if there hadn’t been so many transgressions.

If we avoid Don’ts, we’ll improve our communication, relationships and networking know-hows.

Don’t equate the process of networking to a science, it is an art.

Don’t misconstrue networking to be a sales plan.
Don’t  confuse the process of networking with that of socializing/working a room. They are different skills but having both is synergistic.

Don’t be blinded by goals, only guided by them.

Don’t judge tomorrow’s book by today’s cover.

Don’t use a name to gain access without permission of that person.

Don’t foist your business cards upon people nor deal them out to others before a conversation occurs.In North America, cards follow a conversation, not precede it.







Don’t offer unsolicited opinions for the benefit of those who never asked.

Don’t talk about the monetary terms of your last deal; most of us know to divide that figure in half and subtract your weight…in ounces.

Don’t ask for more than people can give.

Don’t take credit for ideas, concepts, and words of others (it’s called plagiarism, intellectual property infringement, violation of copyright or stealing).

Don’t blame others for your missed deadlines and unfulfilled promises.

Don’t be invasive and ask too many questions.




Don’t forget to contribute ideas, stories and small talk to conversations.

Don’t forget to think before speaking. Pregnant pauses are sweet silences.

Don’t ignore signals (body language, gestures, words, tones).

Don’t use disparaging humor…ever

Don’t overstay your welcome.

Don’t use suggestive language.

Don’t be an opportunistic glad-hander. Be “in the moment” with people.

Don’t misrepresent a sales event as a social party.

Don’t pursue, pester or push people; that will lose the link, and the contact. Let it go.

Don’t bad mouth people. One never knows how that can come back to haunt you.

Don’t forget to do your homework and due diligence to prepare yourself for meetings, presentations, events and interviews.

Don’t deflect compliments; they are gifts. Acknowledge the giver by saying “Thank you.”

Don’t get discouraged; the process of networking works if you understand the unwritten rules.

Don’t forget to say “I’m sorry” when you have erred, as well as “I don’t know, “please” and “Thank you.” Truly gifts leaders fess up to errors.

Don’t lead people on or twisting in the wind. ; tell the truth.

Don’t compromise ethics for a quick buck.

Don’t be afraid to try something new; you can always return to the old way.

Don’t drop a colleague, client or customer because his/her timing is different from yours. This month’s turndown could be next year’s mega-contract.

Don’t discriminate against people; be discriminating among them.

Don’t complicate the concept of expanding and overlapping circles with petty power plays.

Don’t forget that cross-gender networking is impacted by the differences in conversational styles of men and women.

Don’t’ be one of the “hail-well-met and hardy” boys or girls!

Don’t forget that the good manners of savvy networking apply to social media.


©2014SusanRoAne Based on The Secrets of Savvy Networking (Macmillan Audio) Reprint only with the permission of author


About Susan RoAne

Susan RoAne leads a double life as a sought-after professional keynote speaker and a bestselling author. Known as The Mingling Maven®, she gives diverse audiences the required tools, techniques and strategies they need to connect and communicate in today’s global business world. The San Francisco Chronicle says she has a “dynamite sense of humor.” To hire Susan to speak for your company, association or college, 1.415.461.3915