Listen. Do you hear them? Do you hear all the people who are saying: “I hate networking”, “Online Networking is Better”, “Networking is a waste of time”, “This is a new era, in-person has no place here”,….”Networking is dead, it does not work”, etc…. They are saying it, but networking is not dead.
Do you hear them? Oh yes, my friends, they are out there. People think that face-to-face human engagement died with the onset of the Coronavirus.
Well guess what…they are full of shit and I am tired of their whining. The people who figure out how to get the best from online and virtual connections AND who realize how to value the in-person networking events will be the ones who get the best opportunities.
You know what, if networking is dead…then LONG LIVE NETWORKING, cuz it isn’t dead at all.
Networking Is Not Dead
It can’t be dead, because as long as human beings walk on the earth, we will need one another to succeed. That vibe we get when we cultivate real relationships and we share experiences is a primal thing. Always has been, always will be. Nobody lives in a vacuum, we are an interdependent species. To think that anyone achieves their goals without the support of others is just wrong. And while likes, links, shares, and follows are nice…. they do not replace real human engagement. Collecting contacts in LinkedIn is cool, but most of those are meaningless digital links. They are common. What we need are the relationships that become “Uncommon Connections”.
All things being equal, people will choose to do business with people they know, like, trust. They feel comfortable engaging in commerce with those whom they have some sort of real connection. Being a known and trusted human will mean more opportunities will appear in your life. Making an effort to make real connections with other people will bring you not only more business, but will bring you joy. But it cannot and will not happen without effort. You must work to build your network.
All those who run around proclaiming the demise of networking are just misguided. Or they have an agenda. They want to re-label networking into something else to draw the attention and the power away from human connection. But a rose by any other name would still smell as sweet. It is still “networking”. Making connections and building mutually beneficial relationships IS the name of the game.
Sure, when you go out into the world, you will encounter people whose networking style is horrible. But bad networking and cheesy people does not change the reality that good relationships bring opportunity. There are self centered and obnoxious people on this planet, but do not let them spoil your experiences when it comes to your efforts to make, grow and keep your business relationships.
My belief about networking is that it is not about simply going out and seeing a person and gaining their business card. It is not discovering them in Linked In and inviting them to join your “network” (only to immediately send them a pitch to buy from you).
Networking is about uncovering the individual beliefs, passions, goals, dreams, and plans of other people. It is about developing a friendship and mutual admiration. And is is most definitely in helping others to achieve their aspirations. Those who give to others get in return. It happens. Those who are takers get a nothin’ sandwich.
I see the world of networking as an adventure to humanity and being a person who helps others win (and hopefully some of them will help me win, too). Networking is about finding the positives and getting others excited to tell you about what is on their mind. Engage people with questions about their business, their personal life, their dreams and goals. You will love to listen to others when they begin to sing with passion. Then find ways to help them. If you do this, then abundance will return to you in ways you have never imagined. That is networking! And that can never die.
In my work I teach people about how to be an “Uncommon Connection” for others, and how to cultivate win-win relationships. When you find a small band of people who have your best interests at heart, you are bombarded with opportunity. The pandemic was hard for many, and some lost touch. But others strengthened relationships. Which ever side you are on, now is the time to restart your networking efforts. As our society returns to face-to-face meetings, look for ways to connect and help people in your world thrive. You will never regret being that person who helps other rise up.
Networking is not dead. It is just getting started.
About Thom Singer
After a successful career in sales and marketing, Thom Singer became a growth leadership speaker in 2009. A decade later he has brought his high energy presentations and action-oriented content to over 900 audiences. Thom knows that as the speaker or master of ceremonies he has a responsibility to set the tone for a strong conference attendee experience. Known as “The Conference Catalyst” he creates an atmosphere of fun and interaction that lasts beyond his presentation.
Thom earned his Certified Speaking Professional (CSP) in 2014 and is committed to the business of meetings. He is the author of 12 books and is the host of the popular “Cool Things Entrepreneurs Do” podcast. On his show he has interviewed over 400 entrepreneurs, solopreneurs, business leaders and others with a focus on discovering how the most successful people get farther across the gap between potential and results.
At 50 years old Thom decided to reinvent his life and make age 50 to 75 the best years of his life. This meant saying yes to things that scared him, and trying new things. Since that time Thom has jumped off buildings, took up running (and lost 30 lbs) and began performing stand up comedy.