Networking events for IT professionals. Award winning blog series. Weekly podcast. Meet. Read. Listen. By @echodave, @bobwaltenspiel

Is It Time To Stop Networking?

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“If I show up at your door, chances are you did something to bring me there.” – Martin Blank

I do a lot of reading to keep up with the industry. Lately, I’ve been coming across articles like this one from Forbes called, Why You Should Stop Going to Networking Events.

Wait, what?

We started IT in the D back in 2001 because networking and more specifically networking groups sucked in Metro Detroit. Fast forward 15 years, and it is pretty much the same story around town (except for us of course…).

But then I read the article, and this paragraph SCREAMED out to me…

And then one time, I was emptying my bag and I found 20 business cards at the bottom of it. I did not have a clue who 10 of them were. Not a clue. And I have a good memory. A great memory actually. I felt bad. What a waste of time. My time, their time, everyone’s time. So, I asked my friends if they had the same problem. Did they have a stack of cards and could not remember who these people were? Turns out, it is pretty common. So sad.

Yup, guilty as charged. Although Dave jokes that my job at events is to make sure the bar stool in the back corner works, yet I still come home with 15-20 cards from every event. From there, I get/send 5-6 emails, get/receive 2-3 phone calls, and maybe meet someone for coffee/lunch once. Maybe.

And it hit me, we run a networking group of over 6,000 people in Metro Detroit and it is physically and mentally impossible to have friendships and relationships with everyone.

suck_lessIf you Google, How not to suck at networking, our article shows up in the top spot.

And while we thought we hit all the top ideas at the time, the one thing we missed is that you need to stop networking and start building relationships.

What the hell are you talking about? Isn’t that networking? Well, not necessarily. Just like LinkedIn is not a video game, neither is the business card collection game.

novidgameDid the card you get last night lead to having coffee, lunch, drinks? The cardinal rule here is your time is your number one commodity. You aren’t getting any more of it, and you can’t save any of it. While I’m not saying meeting for coffee is a waste of time, it’s probably the best way to vet out the person you are meeting to see if it should move to “relationship” status.

We’ve been saying for years that business and dating are one in the same. No one wants to date that needy, sad person at the end of the bar just like no one wants to date the desperate person asking for things within meeting for 15 minutes.

Could you imagine this scenario?

needingajob-568x523“Hi, I’m Bill, what’s your name?”

“Amy”

“Well, Amy, would you like to meet my parents tomorrow night?”

That conversation is no different than, “Who are you using for insurance, would you consider buying from (company)?”

How-can-I-help-you.jpg-300x300Just like building friendships outside the office, it can’t be a one-way street, it can’t be a “gimme gimme gimme” game, but hell, think about who you ask when you have to move? Are you asking the person you just met at an event, or someone you have broken bread with for years and have a solid friendship/relationship built?

Again, help if you can, ask for help if it’s needed, but this shouldn’t be the requirement. This shouldn’t be the baseline for a successful networking meeting. That comes in time.

This is where the business card in the shoebox becomes more. This is why you should stop networking. It’s time to step up your game and me more than that card.

Until next time…now go read something else: http://www.itinthed.com/read/

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