Three Places to Actually Avoid Networking

handshake2We’re huge fans of networking. Huge! Waiting for your cup of tea at Starbucks or for the bus to arrive, it’s all good.

Or is it?

Inspired by this piece by U.S. News & World Report, there are a few places where networking would be completely out of line.

1. Tragedies. Seriously, if you started to work the room, that would come off as “callous, calculating and uncaring.” Moments such as these are all about helping survivors and leveraging the situation as an opportunistic moment to further your own career is simply not cool. We know you are tactful already so we’re just pointing this out as a friendly reminder to think about how you can focus on helping the families and making their lives easier.

Let’s say a neighbor’s house unfortunately burned down. You and your neighbors can rally to take turns hosting them at your house, making meals for them and such. If you inevitably end up networking with neighbors down the road in daily conversation with boosted interactions, that’s one thing. But networking in the heat of personal tragedy is quite another.

2. Celebrations with an honored guest. Switching gears completely, let’s say your boss won a prestigious honor and there’s a grand gala to celebrate the occasion! Shifting the focus of the event away from your boss and the purpose itself is not a good idea.

If you’re working the room stacking up business cards and spewing your elevator pitch, it’ll distract from the festivities. Decide to focus on the celebration itself. Yes, you can still network. After all, you’ll be having conversations with various people at the fete, just keep it low maintenance.

3. At any event past closing time. We used to work for a very sage director who once said, “Nothing good happens past midnight.” She always knew when to make her exit at company functions that never seemed to end.

The piece points out:

“We’ve all had the experience of staying longer than we had intended. We may have seen the wild dance on the table that embarrassed everyone who was there. We may have heard the loud fight between a couple. Or we may have witnessed the mess made by an inebriated attendee.”

So, keep your eye on the clock as well as the room. When people start to exit, that’s when you should leave, too. At this point it’s going to be more challenging to network even if you wanted to because people are becoming more inebriated, louder and perhaps more argumentative, too. “Remove yourself from the event and from being associated with that memory.”