Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Is It Bad To Be A Networker?

My friend Eugene wrote the following post on his blog:

"For the second time this month, someone who knows me well introduced me to others as a networker or a connector.

Yikes, this is NOT how I want to be known. And, I have not framed what I do any more competently than to leave this as the only description easily available to close friends.

I’m gonna work on this. It needs to be about helping others accomplish important political and community building objectives, about my past business experience intersecting with social entrepreneurship to help make great things happen."

I was taken back by his passion of NOT wanting this label, as I think the terms his friends have used to describe him are given as the highest compliment.  I believe he has attached other meanings to the words "networker" and "connector" that he views as less than an honor.

“Networking” is a tough word, as there are too many false perceptions about what that means. If I ask ten people to define the concepts around it, there would be ten answers. There some who have given the word a negative connotation…. but there is not another word to replace it in conversation

I have found (and I preach) that the definition of networking is:

 The creation of long-term and mutually beneficial relationships where all the parties involved find more success and satisfaction than they would without the association”

If you look at in those terms, one should be proud.  When you can connect people to others with whom they take actions to better the world, that can never be a bad thing. 

I believe many fall prey to the negative mis-conceptions of the words.  While I do not enjoy the negative side of "networking", I am a believer that when it is done correctly, for the right reasons, there is not many a more noble set of actions a person can take.

By any name one who is a catalyst for the success should be a good thing!

Have A Great Day.

thom singer


Harwick Family said...

A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.

Anonymous said...

Thom, I think you're making a great deal of sense! It always depresses me when I see someone who has the wrong idea of what networking is.

And since I always wonder myself where someone new comments on my blog: I found it courtesy of Tim tweeting it.

Dan said...

These days, especially if you're a consultant as I am, networking is absolutely essential. It's furthermore a real art that people nearly always undervalue.

I like what you've said here. It's simply the world we live in, and I'd be proud to be called a "Networker".

Great Post. Thanks,

Brigitte Benquet said...

Thanks for raising another good point.

I had a conversation along the same lines recently with someone who is highly task and result oriented. I find that the more task and results oriented people are, the less likely they are to appreciate the "inefficient" networking. They do not want to be labeled this way, even when their people skills and emotional quotient is high. Is it your experience too?

It is true that there are some people out there who seem to think that networking is all there is to work and that networking is the only valuable step. That may be what's creating a bad rep for networking.

What do you think?

thomsinger said...

Thanks to everyone for the comments on this post. I think this is a topic worthy of more discussion. I am adding it into my next presentation.