November 8, 2014
The problem is most people define networking as going to a physical networking event. It’s usually a Breakfast Networking event or an After Hours Networking event or, worse still in terms of the time it takes, a Networking lunch.
I think this is far too narrow a definition of networking.
I think networking is about the exchange of information or services between individuals, groups, or institutions. More specifically it is about the cultivation of productive relationships that lead to things like employment or business. It needn’t take place at a networking event.
Why Conventional Networking Often Fails
Here are some of my reasons why networking events often fail.
Firstly, most networking events are full of people trying to sell when they would be better trying to build relationships.
Secondly, a lot of networking events are promoted as being great by the organisers but don’t live up to expectations. Often this is because the numbers may be there but they aren’t the people we ought to be networking with. If you want to sell corporate jets you probably wouldn’t make many sales at a group specialsing in small businesses.
Sadly the organisers try to cover their backs on who is present by saying it is not just who is there but who people can introduce you to .. this is about a limp as saying it isn’t who reads your advert but who they will send a copy of it to.
At this stage you might think I’m anti networking .. I’m NOT.
Networking for me works best when I meet the right people, usually at an event that doesn’t have the word networking in the title. In many cases it isn’t necessarily a physical event. LinkedIn groups are an excellent example of networking that few people recognise as such. For me LI groups have put £000s on my bottom line via something I recognise as networking.
Of course Face to Face works much better in most cases but it isn’t strictly necessary and I think Networking is often viewed far too narrowly without a real understanding of what it is really about.
So think carefully before you next go networking. Why are you attending the event? Will the right people be there? Do you have as relationship building strategy rather than a sales strategy in this situation? How are you going to measure success?
This book might also help you with your marketing.