Thursday, March 28, 2013

Why Networking Does Work

Inc. Magazine has an online article on their website by Erick V. Hotlzclaw titled "Why Networking Doesn't Work".  The article is right and wrong at the same time.  It misses the point, as it focuses the definition of the word "networking" as if it only means "working a room". 

He makes the same mistake others do by trying to categorize small pieces of what it is to network as the whole.  The problem with the article is in the semantics and definition of "Networking". 

The definition I teach is:
"Networking is the creation and cultivation of long-term and mutually beneficial relationships between two or more people; where all involved succeed more because of the relationships than they would without the relationships".  
Now that works every time.  A long-term and mutually-beneficial relationship is always a good thing!!!

Holtzclaw sites "networkers" who run around collecting cards as the problem with networking.  I don't see that very often.  Yes, there are those who make idiots of themselves and have poor skills when it comes to engagement in the community, but that is not the average person at business events.

I also take exception with the word "networkers" in the way he uses it...  as I am not sure what "networker" really is by his definition.  Nobody holds that job title of "networker" (whom I have ever met).  Instead there are professionals in all industries who cherish learning about people, and cultivate meaningful connections that can (and will) lead to more opportunity for all involved.  But they are not "networkers"... they are a Realtors, lawyers, doctors, sales professionals and all other vocations.  The use of the word in this manner seems to undermine their real career efforts of these people.

If it is anything, a "networker" is someone who does a great job of creating relationships and serving others, not someone who fails at the task.

Networking should not be seen as a verb - "Oh, I need to Go Network".  Instead it is a lifestyle and a commitment to the people you encounter in your community.

As I read Holtzclaw's advice on how to do a better job,..... it was spot on right!!!  However his tips for how to properly network and get them most out of your time and efforts was listed as if it was somehow separate from "networking". 

Parts are not the whole of networking.  Yes, we can (and should) help others learn how to create the types of relationships that will lead to a better future and more opportunity.  But he is not really telling people that message with the title of "Why Networking Doesn't Work".  The reality of his article is educating people "Why Networking Does Work"....when done the right way.

A rose by any other name.....

Have A Great Day.

thom singer

1 comment:

Mary Pat said...

People often say things like "networking does not work" to appeal to those who hate the idea of networking. That does not change the reality that relationships do bring opportunity. Hating the social aspect of business does not take away the value.