Networking can be a powerful tool for building relationships and advancing your career or business. However, it's important to be mindful of how you're using your network, and to avoid overusing it to the point where you risk damaging your relationships. Here are some warning signs to look out for, and some strategies for keeping your network healthy and strong.
Signs You're Overusing Your Network
Tone of voice
If you hear a tone that indicates impatience, weariness, shortness, or hesitancy, it may be a sign that you're overusing your contact. Pay attention to the signals you're receiving.
Words and comments
If your contact says they're too busy to help or will get back to you and never do, this could be a sign that you're asking too much. If they say, "this is not a good time," take them at their word.
If you're not receiving the same level of help or support that you used to from your contact, it could be a sign that you're overusing your network. Silence and inaction are telltale signs that something may be amiss.
Time to self-assess
Take a moment to reflect on your own behavior. Do you keep people in the loop? Do you formally thank them for leads, listening, and advice? Do you acknowledge their contributions publicly? If you've been leaning too hard on your network without returning the favors, it's time to adjust your approach.