Why Network? There's Nobody There for Me

"Fear"I am an avid networker; I believe that it’s vital to the success of my business. I meet a lot of people and I promote networking opportunities, often. While speaking with folks about an upcoming event I hear (all too often) "there’s nobody there for me so there is no value in attending." I have heard many explanations (yes, I ask), chief among them:

  • I don’t get results
  • My time is limited and I have to spend it wisely
  • Attending events like this make me uncomfortable

I’m sure these folks have given some thought to what they are doing. They seem to be insightful and they’re entitled to their opinion. But despite their consideration, I find their point of view to be short-sighted, counter-productive and in some cases blatantly deleterious to their efforts.

There are many ways to market business and to attract clients. The power of networking lies in the ability of business people to develop relationships, share ideas, and broaden their knowledge and to sow and harvest new opportunities. Consider the sort of responses I have got.
I don’t get results:
When I hear this, the first thing that comes to mind is that it’s really a matter of what you are looking for. As I see it, people network from one of three orientations- 1) social, 2) selling and 3) relationships. Those who take the first approach are rarely disappointed. If you can hold a decent conversation you can probably satisfy the desire to be social. Sellers have a bigger challenge- particularly when they expect an immediate sale or a hot lead to fall into their lap! The fact is most of us don’t like to be SOLD TO. You might get lucky; meet the right person at the right time and bingo. But if selling is really all you’re after, I have to agree, don’t waste your time networking or at least choose wisely where you go to do it.
If you approach networking from the relationship orientation, things are likely to be a lot more productive. Getting to know people is about cultivating possibility; perhaps it will emerge in the form of a third party. But one thing for sure- you will get results.
My time is limited; I have to spend it wisely:
I can’t argue with the need to spend our time wisely. Everyone is busy, some of us pathologically so. Here’s the deal- networking is not the cure for all that ails you and every networking event is not created equal. If your time is limited do spend it wisely but I suggest you don’t write off networking all together. Networking is a powerful tool that can help us to build sustainable relationships; these relationships in turn can lead to possibility. If you have only a limited amount of time, why not spend some of it creating even more possibilities?
Attending events like this make me uncomfortable:
What can I say? For many of us, networking events are as enjoyable as getting a root canal. There are a variety of remedies that deal with the physiologic aspects of social anxiety though most of us don’t require that sort of help. If you consider the benefits of networking, how it can be the difference between a successful business and a business failure, it may be all the motivation you need.
The best way to deal with it is a personal matter but a few ideas to sooth the jitters- attend events with a more comfortable colleague (one who easily engages people and who knows the venue); set realistic expectations (e.g., I am here to meet one new person). The most valuable advice I can relate is this: the best of all conversationalists is the person who listens well. Now that is not too taxing, is it?
Go out there and make it happen. There really is someone out there for you. Go find them- your business will thank you and I suspect you will be a lot happier as well.
Related articles
""The Art of Networking

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *