Saturday, April 21, 2007

Your Networking Is Not "Fluffy"

Top executives have networks. Let's face it, you do not get to the top alone. Those who excel in their careers usually have developed relationships with others who help them along the way, and having this kind of support is having a network.

I recently was up for an opportunity to speak to a local business group. One of the members had heard me give a talk at a Chamber of Commerce event, and encouraged the board of another group to use me as one of their monthly speakers. The decision maker asked me about my topic. I mentioned that I wrote two books about networking, "Some Assembly Required" and "The ABC's of Networking"....and his face contorted into a grizzly grimace.

I chose not to react. I just smiled. He finally replied, "We need to have more substantial topics for this group". He felt that networking was a "fluffy" topic, and that nobody in his organization would find it important enough to attend the meeting.

I laughed, the whole reason to attend his meetings is the good networking. I have talked to dozens of companies, law firms, and business organizations over the past two years and always get positive feedback (and invited back to discuss the topic further). This gentleman had some pre-set notions about networking, and nothing I said was going to change his mind.

His final comment was that his audience is "made up of high level executives, and they do not waste their time on networking". Huh? They don't network, yet they come to his networking luncheon? Additionally, it is usually the top executives who welcome reminders about re-connecting with important contacts, and go back to their companies and encourage their teams to cultivate business relationships.

How about you, do you have pre-set opinions about networking? Think it is "fluffy"? I think many people share these thoughts.

I have another opportunity to speak to a group that focuses on "Leadership". They did not grimace at my topic, but instead we brainstormed how to make networking link to leadership. We agreed that leaders have networks, and that having strong business friendships makes you a more effective executive. Sounds right to me.

Have A Great Day.


1 comment:

Cory Garrison said...


I'm still laughing out loud at the guy who doesn't think the subject of networking is substantial enough of a topic to discuss among executives. How funny! As if any of those guys got where they are soley based on being smart!!

Funny Stuff! What a way to kick off a gorgeous Iowa spring day! Thanks!