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Networking. Not working?
Numerous books and “smart” courses teach the art of networking—typically winding up asking the reader or student to attend networking meetings, exchanging cards, and to send out “connect” emails. They all help—to an extent only, though.
Have we ever stood back and wondered why?
People attend “networking” meetings hoping to establish connections that will help them succeed.
Here are a few reasons why “networking meetings” may not help:
The WIIFM attitude
People walk into a networking meeting EXPECTING to serve their own purposes: What’s In It For Me (WIIFM)? This does not help them or the meeting. While some may change their attitudes, numerous more will continue to seek some purpose in the networking meeting, and slowly—after ﬁnding no singularly remarkable achievement—give up on the exercise.
The WIIFM (I love these acronyms that serve absolutely no purpose—they are not even remarkable enough to be remembered!) attitude directly throws up another pitfall. The individual’s value of the meeting is a good starting point—how many of us have truly invested in ourselves to be of value to others? Stop for a minute now, and review this.
Poor communication skills
One may have the right attitude and also something of value to oﬀer but may not have the skills to package what he or she has to oﬀer into a nicely turned value pitch. This is a problem unless the other person has “mind reading” skills.
If you got the wrong place, you may not have anything relevant to oﬀer to people.
Some people have the wrong objectives for a networking meeting. Their criteria for success include “the number of business cards collected, given or exchanged.” Even if they succeed in their goals, it may not mean much.
Every relationship takes away a part of your life and you should be willing to give that kind of time and attention to nurture the relationship. If you don’t have the bandwidth to foster a relationship, you are better oﬀ not starting one.
Just like those “get rich quick” schemes that rarely work, expecting to become a great networker by attending networking meetings won’t work.
So, how then should you approach the relationship building activity?
For starters, you can start focusing on the primary driving force – what matters most!
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