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Networkers' Biggest Mistake

By Marty Nemko

Many people think that networking means chit-chatting and wholesaling your business cards. Think again. If you expect networking to pay off careerwise, create opportunities for substantive interaction: join your professional association's program committee or volunteer to serve on your favorite non-profit board, for example. Maybe most potent of all, when you meet people who impress you--a speaker, a co-worker, or someone at a conference--ask them to do something with you. It doesn't always have to be work-related. A New York Times article told of a woman who invited all her potential allies to a house painting party.

What can you do today?
Who is the one person that could best augment your career? How could you arrange an opportunity for substantive interaction with that person?

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