We all know that networking is one of the most important—and effective—tools you can have in your arsenal. With so many people clamoring for the same types of jobs, especially in the marketing world, knowing the right people in the right places can do wonders for your career, company and yearly marketing goals.

The single greatest factor that motivates people to attend an event is the quality of available networking opportunities. However, one of the most common mistakes made after the initial networking connection is what’s known as “relationship arrogance”. This behavior essentially shoots your networking efforts in the foot and guarantees a negative ROI. So what exactly is relationship arrogance, and how does it impact the success of your networking? Let’s take a look.

Jack Adam Weber, in a guest post for wakeup-world.com, wrote that arrogance is, “[Having] … an exaggerated sense of one’s own importance or abilities.” 

How does that definition apply to networking relationships? Well, let’s create a hypothetical. Assume you’re the chief marketing officer for a big-time software company and you’re attending a local marketing meetup to present on some insights you have on Google AdWords. If you handle this event arrogantly, here’s how you’ll kill your networking ROI.

(1) Destroy potential good business relationships.

If a content marketing manager, or even just a content writer, came up to you after and wanted to talk to you in depth about AdWords, yet you brushed them off because of their “lesser” title and your importance as a C-suite executive, you just killed a potential relationship. That content writer may have been the next great marketing star in your area and you just soured them on your company forever.

(2) Ostracize yourself from potential references and future opportunities.

The same works in reverse as well. If you make connections with people at an event, but then brush them off or continuously act condescendingly toward your connections, they’ll eventually tire of talking to you. If you happen to be out of a job or in need of a good reference, you’ll have a hard time convincing any of those people to vouch for you or want to bring you in as part of their team.

(3) Forfeit chances to become a more knowledgeable marketer.

Now, not every example of relationship arrogance is as abrasive as the ones outlined above, but they serve as an important guideline for how important it is to not think you’re better than another marketer just because you’ve been in the industry longer. You very well may be the best AdWords guru in the county, but that doesn’t mean you have nothing to learn about writing engaging content or how to better use podcasts in content marketing.

Perhaps the biggest issue that arises from relationship arrogance that really does a number on your networking ROI is that, by acting that way, you immediately forfeit opportunities to learn more and become a better marketer. In the end, that’s what we’re all trying to do, and that’s the point of networking in the first place.

So the next time you’re at an event, check any ego at the door and go in with a desire to learn and make some new friends. Who knows what could happen next? 

Find networking opportunities and professional development by attending events with the Utah AMA.