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EP 1390 I tell a story about a mistake I made and its impact. Many of you do the same thing.

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I want to tell you a story today about a networking mistake I made.

I will simply say that I have been part of a business networking group for a couple of years and I was being elevated to regional role. So I was sent off to training and, as it turns out, most of the people in the room where the training was occurring had already taken this course and many of them were owners of franchises within this business. So, I may have been the one newbie in the room actually receiving training. It was a very frustrating experience for me.

I would ask a question because I wanted to know the answer and was treated as though I was an ignorant buffoon. I got frustrated and let my frustration show at different times. I'm not blaming them, but at times, my frustration became apparent in the little facial gestures and in little comments I would make that I thought no one could hear but they could. Later on, as someone was talking, they made a comment about me that said, “Why is he here,” and I realized the impact of what I had done in how people perceived me.

That I was treated as being ignorant and didn't belong in the room . . . that's their problem. My problem was how I said that message to them and we all know how this happens in the workplace on a day-to-day basis where someone makes a snide comment, which is, frankly, what I did, and it gets noticed, picked up on and the person's career is hurt as a result of it.

in this group, at 1 point I made a comment that I didn’t think someone could hear and let my frustration show. I didn't try and persevere. I kind of shut down. Thus, I relayed the story to you about realizing the little things that get noticed, filed away that creates the impression with people that isn't beneficial.

When you're in a networking situation, you want to be all in. You want to be trying to connect with people, trying to do outreach, picking up the relationships and not holding back. Even if you swatted away as I was by the instructor a couple of times and who was just very frustrating for me, it's irrelevant. My behavior is what hurt me because the room was with her and not with me. I had done nothing to win the room over.

This may sound complicated; it really isn’t. Just be aware that people notice everything you do, don't do, say or not say and think of the message that you're trying to convey in networking situations and whether that comment really needs to be said or whether that acting out really needs to be done or whether you can just put it aside and be an adult . . . Which I clearly wasn't.

You get what I needed out of the situation which, for me, was more connection with some of the people the room so I can work with them afterwards. I made a mistake and I am trying to head you are from a career or job search mistake that that happens way too often.

You go into a networking meeting. You're off on the sidelines. You feel frustrated. You don't communicate with anyone. You send the message of being aloof, instead of being connected.

You were there to network. Get into the conversation. You know how to do that. Seriously, you know how to do that. Even if you are a beginner, you kinda sidle your way over and start standing on the sidelines. Have your face seen and notice how the conversation is and then contribute something positive to it that moves it forward at the right time. You know what that is. I don't have to tell you that.

So, this is a mistake I made. I hope you don't make it.


Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter
Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter

Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter is a career and leadership coach who worked as a recruiter for more than 40 years. He is the host of “No BS Job Search Advice Radio,” the #1 podcast in iTunes for job search with more than 1300 episodes and his newest show, “No BS Coaching Advice.” He is a member of The Forbes Coaches Council. “No BS JobSearch Advice Radio” was recently named a Top 10 podcast for job search. was also recently named a Top 10 YouTube channel for job search.

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