Networking if you hate it

Frankie Kemp

14 October 2019

Networking events can sometimes be characterised by the smell of suppressed desperation.

Business cards are flung at you like frizbees, soon followed by stilted and joyless conversation, whilst you try to balance a sushi roll and a beer.

The drudge of meeting people you’d never usually spend time with can be exhausting.

I’ve done networking training for people who loathe networking: everyone from Financial Analysts to Chief Information Officers.

What’s helped them all break through the pain barrier though is this…

as soon as I reframe it from:

Networking (“Puke, ach, I hate it.  It’s a drudge.” ?)
Meeting people (“Ah, I can do that.  I do that all the time.” ?)

then, suddenly, it’s a different experience.

In my view, for what it’s worth, you never know where ‘meeting people’ may lead.  So here’s my motto.  I only keep those in my reach who I like and trust.  You never know how relationships may materialise.  So here’s a list of reasons that you’d be ‘meeting people’ at a given event.

This takes the desperation away.  There’s usually more than one benefit to these events.  As soon as you open up the way you think about them, you’ll be more open to opportunities.


Reasons for Networking:

  1. You want to change the direction of your career
  2. You’re looking for a new job
  3. Have some fun
  4. Meet a speaker
  5. There’s a forum, or potential of a forum to test out skills, ideas and products
  6. You want to be promoted
  7. Make the first contact with a particular person
  8. Cement a relationship with a particular person
  9. Set up an appointment with a particular person
  10. Introduce a contact to this forum
  11. It’s an opportunity for you to develop personal skills
  12. You want to reach the very top
  13. You need to find new suppliers
  14. You’re looking for consultants to guide
  15. You’re seeking new ways to expand your customer base
  16. You want to set up a new business or charitable project
  17. An environment to consolidate or develop relationships with your teams and clients
  18. You’re searching for investors
  19. You’re on the look-out for new ideas
  20. You want to expand your virtual team
  21. You’re seeking ways to share resources
  22. You’re looking for employees
  23. A shortcut to personal goals
  24. You’re looking for partners with whom to build strategic alliances
  25. You need to insure your career against a ‘rainy day’
  26. You’re sourcing industry knowledge
  27. You need to intelligence gather to make an informed decision
  28. This is a way of influencing key people


Your Action Step

  1. Tick at least two of these goals for this month.
  2. Stick them on a post-it note / on your phone / in a notepad.  This will help to keep you focused on what you want when you’re networking, meeting people, I mean.

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