Work Your Network

If you’re networking with strangers, you’re wasting your time. A consultant friend of mine recently complained, “I’m doing 2-3 networking events a week – and I’m worn out.” When I asked why she felt networking was important, she replied, “One of my marketing goals is to do at least 1 networking event a week.” (I pointed out that she just admitted to doing 2-3 a week – and perhaps doing 1 a week is smart and doing triple that goal is causing some of the fatigue.) But there’s much more to the great American business myth of networking.

Myth 1: The more you network, the more effective your networking activities become.

Truth 1: It’s much more important to become well-known in 1-2 circles than to spread your networking activities over many different groups. Depth beats breadth every time.

I then asked her how networking was working for her. She said, “I don’t think I have gotten a shred of business out of it in the last six months.” Her rationale for doing networking: “Everybody knows that you build a business by networking!” Does this make any sense? Or worse, does it sound familiar?

See if this networking scenario has happened to you:

You meet someone for 30 seconds. They mumble something about real estate as you are tuning them out. They ask you what you do, and you say you are in insurance. After 10 seconds of staring blankly at each other, you both head to the celery sticks for lack of anything better to do. Continue reading