We all know how important networking is. There’s the fabled “It’s Not What You Know, It’s Who You Know?” question. I talk (a lot) about “making rain”. And yet — there is a dark side to networking…
Let me explain.
Yesterday I received the following question (which is a variation of a question I receive regularly when I talk about networking):
“[…] Of course, networking and building new relationships is incredibly important. Grabbing coffee and chatting for a half-hour can be a great start to a new relationship. My issues is that I’m hesitant to ask people (especially those more senior) to meet when there isn’t a clear objective to the meeting aside from simply networking. I don’t want to waste the other person’s time, and what are we even supposed to talk about?”
Networking for the sake of networking is superfluous, usually doesn’t lead to anything and is a waste of time and energy.
“Networking is not a sport. There are no trophies for most connections. It’s about creating genuine relationships.”
The question I would ask myself is: Why do I want to be connected to this person?
Networking is not a sport of selecting trophies but building genuine relationships. When you approach it from this angle the question above becomes obsolete, as you have tons of stuff to talk about.