Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Networking Is Overrated

So I've always been a very involved person, I think it started in high school, you name it, I did it. College and grad school was much of the same. I've always enjoyed being busy and being surrounded by people who could nurture me as an individual both personally and professionally.

Now, I'm a member of many organizations including my alumni association, numerous business/civic associations, and my Sorority. Lately, everyone is all caught up in "networking". We've all heard the saying, "It's not what you know, it's who you know," but often times I feel like networking is so overrated.

In my experience, at meetings and networking events I go to you meet someone, speak briefly, exchange business cards and never hear from that person again. I usually try to send a brief follow-up email but it never seems to progress. I feel like the only time the networking encounter evolves into more is if the other person is trying to holler. That is all well and good but if I'm trying to get to know you on a professional level, to help me advance my career, I'm not really trying to go out on a date with you. Nor am I interested in a quid pro quo relationship.

I'm sure there has to be a more effective way to meet people but as of now, I'm over the whole "networking" thing. I hoped by networking I'd be able to find a mentor but as of now I've had no such luck, any suggestions or tips would be greatly appreciated.


  1. Well articulated point. Nonetheless, I have to disagree.

    I had a conversation with a very wealthy man once. He is first generational rich. I mention that because that means your grind has to be even harder to succeed b/c you can't rely on family networks. He taught me something that I will never forget. "Networking is about how I can help you and you help me. How can we make one another better?" And that needs to be the basis of your "networking" platform. Often times, people are "talking" instead. And they confuse "talking" with "networking" because no one really explained to them, or showed them rather, what it truly means. It's less about business cards. More about substantive conversations of similar interest/goals.

    A good read on this topic is "Never Eat Alone" by Keith Ferrazzi. To anyone interested.

    Like the blog. Keep it up! Continued success!

  2. I too disagree and reiterate Mitch's points. Instead of just collecting business cards and "talking", make sure you are prepared with your "30 sec elevator speech" of who you are, what you do, what makes you unique and what your goal is. The key is to "network" with people who have similar goals and/or are in a postion to help you reach your goals.

    The other reason to have your "script" ready is to also avoid just talking to people about unrelated stuff to business at hand...that is how you get people trying to "holla". If you come across as not being at the event for the purpose it is supposed to be for..then you just might get those Holla's.

  3. Thanks for the comments Mitch & TravelDiva. Points well taken.