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3 signs you might be abusing your network


When the economy tanked a few years ago, I noticed a few things. Besides the fact that our business slowed down like so many others, I would occasionally get calls or emails from people I had not heard from in years. These calls were rather strange, as some of these were people who had never returned my calls. I was gracious and accepted their correspondence and quickly realized they were either looking for jobs or hoping to sell me a product/service.{{more}}

Needless to say, these people did not fall into the old networking adage of “people do business with those they know, like and trust”. I was not liking them at that moment, which brings me to ask you this question: Are you abusing your network? If you are not sure, let me share three ways you might be hurting your chances of having people get to know you, like you and trust you so they can refer you.

Inconsistent follow-up. Networking is all about follow-up. If you are trying to sell a product, you may need to invest a few weeks, months or even years before your networking really begins to work for you at optimum speed. If you are looking for a new job or just want to have a different expertise at your fingertips, you must be consistent. Lay out a plan and outline ways in which you can stay connected with key contacts.

Breaking promises. “Let’s do lunch” or “we should get together” are empty words from some people. Your reputation is the only currency you have to spend in your career. The minute you develop a pattern of not calling when you said you would, not showing up or failing to send the information you promised, you devalue your reputation. This makes it harder to spend your currency when you need something done.

Pretending to know the right people. Being introduced to an influential person does not mean you know the person. Do not tell the people in your network that you know that person and can get in touch with him or her. You may look good temporarily but it will always come back to hinder your relationship-building skills in the future.

Karen Hinds is “The Workplace Success Expert.” For a FREE SPECIAL REPORT on Avoiding Career Killers in the Workplace, send an email to
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