Saturday, February 13, 2016

Don't "Network" At a Conference.... Bad Business Advice

A piece of advice given to someone going to a conference on an association group chat just struck me as bad advice.  The person said:
"My advice is to be simply real and connect with others as human beings. Don't "network"."
I am not being a jerk or the word police, but the way we use words matters.  "Networking" means creating and cultivating long-term and mutually beneficial relationships. There is nothing in the actual definition that is about being salesy, schoozy, or manipulative in connecting.  However, people have taken to using the word in negative ways to get attention for their points, and it has created a problem in how we teach people to get ahead.

Without thinking through the point of "Don't network" one could make all kinds of career mistakes.  What the well meaning advice giver meant was that people should not look to pounce like a hungry sales wolf on everyone they encounter.  Being pushy or too verbose about your product and service is sure to limit results of connecting at events.  However, when your goal is long-term and mutually beneficial relationships, then asking questions, listening, and helping others will prevail.

Don't let a misuse of words take you off point the next time you go to an event.  Don't be a pushy sales driven and self-focused fool.  But network like crazy.

Have A Great Day

thom singer

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