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Networking or Notworking ? That is the question

By 19 October 2023No Comments
A group of men and women stood by a wall that has a gap in it looking out to sea. There is a sign on the wall that says Paradise.

Whether you run a business, are the employee of a corporate organisation or a student at University, networking is something you are regularly encouraged to do. After all according to Tim Sanders, former Chief Solutions Officer at Yahoo and New York Times best selling author, ‘Your Network is Your Net Worth’. If Tim is right, putting yourself in front of people who might bring you business, enhance your professional development or give you a job is probably the main reason you find yourself at networking events. Unless you are a lover of limp sandwiches and lukewarm beverages of course! Let’s be honest though, if you went along to every networking event you were invited to, it could take over your life leaving no time to do any work, study or indulge in some self-care.

Not Working

How many times have you wondered why you are putting yourself through the networking wringer?  Asking yourself if it is really necessary and whether the people around you will help reap the rewards you seek. Last week on Linkedin I came across a post from Lisa Shepherd, Co-founder and Director of The Biskery. Lisa had conducted a poll in the community she runs for working mums on Facebook, The Raising Agents . The poll looked at the times that the majority of traditional networking events take place. Turns out many are before 9.00am in the morning or between 5.00pm and 7.00pm in the evening. As Lisa pointed out these are the worst times possible for working Mums – breakfast and school run, tea and bath time. In my opinion, this is why networking events held early morning and early evening attract very similar types of people. Listen to Episode 3 of Don’t Work With Tossers – The Podcast with guest Michael Edwards to hear what he has to say about networking events that are held at night in bars. That is top Tosser territory as far as Mike is concerned!

Networthing

I love nothing more than meeting people, creating collaborations and making introductions that help enhance business and life opportunities. What I cannot stand is what I refer to as old fashioned networking. For me it is about Networthing, coming together with people that add value. I measure value in many ways, not least the happiness it brings and the positive energy it gives me. It is not always about the potentital income generation, looking at value from all angles improves your work life blend. Earlier this week Claire Ackers, Authenticity and Business Coach and Chairperson of Lean In Leeds, asked a question on LinkedIn (yes I do spend quite a lot of time on there because actually I find it a great place for Networthing). Lean In Leeds is a women’s networking group with nearly 1200 members. Claire shared that post-lockdown they are struggling with attendance for meetings and events. I commented that I look for opportunities to come together with business owners that offer activities or opportunities to work rather than just networking – as Claire put it networking with a ‘thing’. But that thing has to fit with the criteria that I shared in my recent blog post Build Your Crowd Wisely .

5 Top Tips To Keep Your Networking Tosser Free

  • Decide why you want to attend networking events. Have you set yourself criteria to help create a work life blend that is right for you? If so does the event you are attending tick the boxes.
  • Don’t be afraid to say that it’s not for you. If you are unsure whether it is a crowd you want to be part of go along to one of the sessions and see. If it is not the right fit then do not keep going just in case things change or because you feel you have made a commitment.
  • Value your time and the return you get on the time you are investing in networking. It does not have to just be a monetray return on investment but it needs to be bringing you some rewards.
  • Ensure the networking events suit you and you are not making too many personal sacrifices to attend them.
  • Do not undervalue the connections you make on platforms like LinkedIn. I have made some great business connections on social media and they have turned into great friends.

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