Having attended thousands of networking events in the last 20 years – here are some of the stand-out “avoid at all costs” tips for you”

 * Unless you are the host, you do not have to speak to everyone in the room when there are more than 20 people attending. Do not “work” the room. Rather, have a number of quality conversations with the people who cross your path. Leave a positive image with these people and they will spread the word for you.

 * Don’t leave early unless it is absolutely necessary. Some of the best networking opportunities happen when you arrive early and leave late.

 * Don’t monopolise the conversation – networking is about sharing ideas.

 * Don’t forget the golden rule – in the networking environment we earn the right to gain business by doing something for someone else first. Don’t expect people to place an order with you purely because you have introduced yourself to them. You must earn the right to ask a favour.

 * Don’t treat the 15-second self-introduction as a two-minute commercial. People will switch off and you will leave a negative impression.

 * Don’t jump in when there are pauses in the conversation. Pauses are fine-let the other person jump in first. It may be that they are thinking about their answer.

 * Don’t interrupt – only prisoners like to be interrupted in the middle of a sentence.

* Don’t overindulge – you are always on show – and people can form a poor opinion of you if you drink too much alcohol or appear to be under the influence of drugs – definitely not a good look – for a potential service provider.

 The most important ‘DO”  is to be yourself – value your worth, value your potential contribution to this event and Have fun!

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