99% of Networking is a Waste of Time
THE “PERKS” OF ONLINE NETWORKING
You’re probably thinking that networking is half of the business well done. Especially in modern times, networking seems to be everything and the internet era really has its way of making easier to connect people and databases alike.
It’s all great, but is it really working? We see people’s attention spans growing shorter with the hyper-production of content and relationships. The very content and the given relationships decline in both quality and continuity.
People become distracted, the number of their open tabs and contacts are tripling, their wallets are full of business contact cards, colored commercials and ads are driving them to scroll away and before they know it, they have lost a day or two.
People got used to sensationalism, vivid and loud designs beg for their attention with high-intensity stimuli as users lose their ability to focus and devote themselves to a REAL relationship with the real people in their lives.
Now, we are evolutionally wired to connect with each other.
We’ve survived in groups and the feeling of being safe and provided for in a group is what still drives us nowadays.
One of the many problems, however, is that people connect only virtually.
Once the images were static and people were on the move and now we have generations of people sitting put while they watch the moving images.
We have tons of social and business media and networks online which really do allow us the luxury of contacting whoever we want, whenever we want, but do we really do it?
The mere feeling of the possibility of contact makes the contact itself obsolete.
We much rather virtually stimulate our neural pathways from the comfort of homes than form real-life experiences and connections.
The virtual substrate of our connections is enough to trigger the release of dopamine which literally drugs us into enthusiasm derived from sitting and clicking.
So many profiles to choose from and so easy to befriend them all. Evolutionally speaking, novelty itself is a source of great shock and stress, because every change was once a threat to our survival, but when we determine that the novelty is not threatening, it becomes a source of great pleasure.
That happens because we are hard-wired into learning which increases our chances of surviving. We experience joy when we learn something new and when we meet someone important.
All of that trigger the dopaminergic reward circuitry in our central nervous systems.
Every time we click on a new ad or add someone as a friend, we’ve exposed ourselves to instant gratification which in the long-term jeopardizes future gratification by turning us into dopaminergic click zombies.
Virtual reality inhibits our potential for real-life experiences by artificially satisfying our needs for connecting with others.
Although no real contact or connection has been formed, we get the impression that we’ve done our share of networking for the day.
We become fed up with people and then when we are in the company of others, we look for solitude and personal space, while from the comfort zone of our solitude in front of laptops, we look for company.
Thus we simulate networks we ten to form. It’s a collective delusion of people hypnotized by staring at boxes.
The real-life, emotionally, psychologically and physically fulfilling and useful network can only be made by sharing experiences with someone by participating in their lives.
Virtual networking is sensory fragmented.
The technology and the very way of modern living break apart the experience into visual or auditive stimuli deprived of the rest of sensory perception.
Thus, our internet networking is mental, hallucinogenic and holographic instead of merging mind, body, and soul.
WHY IS NETWORKING A WASTE OF TIME
Many people would agree that having strong connections is the most important step to achieving good results and being successful in your business.
And that is true – it certainly is important to know a lot of people and have strong relationships with them in order to spread your business.
But is networking really the key to growth in your field?
Nowadays, networking is quite common, and it is present in different shapes and forms: networking events, connecting online through various business apps, and even things such as clubs or volunteering.
Some researches state that 85% of open work positions are filled by using networking.
However, estimating the effects of networking on your business is not an easy task and it is not as accurate. It surely is important, but it is not the only thing you should give your attention to.
Psychologist Adam Grand stated that “producing actual good work will get you noticed and get you where you want to go.” This is telling you that focusing only on networking will not bring you any success, but only hard work and dedication to providing quality products.
The reason why networking I can be a real waste of time is that it can usually turn to be “empty” networking. That basically means that you are meeting with a person just for the sake of a meeting, creating a new contact, but not receiving any benefit from it.
With “empty” networking and no real and strong connections, a lot of time that could have been invested in hard work is wasted.
By focusing on the quality of the service you provide, and making sure that it is good, you are doing way more for your business than just making endless connections.
Providing good service will make you famous in your fields, without forcing relationships with other businesses.
Networking can also be a costly activity – creating a networking event with the intention of promoting your business or constantly attending similar events can get pricey over time. It can cost you some money, but also your free time.
It is obvious that no one wants the conversation that leads only to networking. The real goal of networking should be connecting with other businesses in a way that is beneficial for both of you.
Rich Stromback, a successful venture capitalist and entrepreneur, states that
“Nobody wants to have a ‘networking conversation,’ especially those who are at the highest levels of business and politics. They are hungry for real conversations and real relationships. It just has to be authentic, genuine, and sincere.”
Stromback believes that you should stop networking. That means stat you should avoid forcing relationships and trying hard in order to make the right impression.
The connection should be a natural, normal process where no one feels overwhelmed with information from the other side.
By focusing on the result of networking, rather than the process of it, you are ruining your chances of getting a possible collaboration and being remembered.
By creating a business plan that is focused mainly on networking, you are not achieving much in making your business grow.
However, networking itself is not at all useless.
By combining your skills and hard work with some contacts that you have made by networking, you are guaranteed to be successful.
WHY NETWORKING CAN BE CHALLENGING
There are a couple of reasons why networking might not always be the easiest task for everyone.
A lot of businessmen find it pretty difficult to find their place in big networking events.
These are the reasons why networking can be uneasy at times:
- Forcing Connections – Networking can appear fake and unnatural at times. Many people can notice whether the meeting is fake, and it can make the situation uncomfortable. When connections are made without a certain goal, they are usually not as beneficial, and they are short-lasting.
Many times, a person will give out all of their business cards and think of it a well-done job, when in reality there was no actual feedback from the most or even any of the people that were attending.
This is why connecting with people is important, rather than just letting them know that your business exists.
- It Takes Up a Lot of Time – Whether you are going to networking events or doing it online, networking can be a distraction and it can waste your time pretty easily. Any distraction will cause you to work less effectively.
- Putting networking before actually doing your job and thinking that it will bring you success easily will only make the whole process of growing your business slower. Online networking can take up a lot of your time at work, but also your personal time.
Richard St. John claims that “Every minute you spend on social media is a minute lost on your career”, so you must be reasonable when using your networking skills online.
- Gender and Racial Biases – There has been researching done where men and women with the same number of connections were given the same task and it showed that men are more likely to receive help from their contacts than women.
This is a very important thing to consider when networking. Racial biases are also a big problem that people nowadays are facing, even when networking.
Your personal appearance, the way you dress and many other factors have an impact on the success of your networking actions.
- Introverts Don’t Network as Effectively – Networking is not an easy task for everyone. Some people prefer working quietly, rather than attending various events with the goal of promoting a business. For introverts, this task can be especially difficult and draining.
Whether they are introverts or not, many people have problems when it comes to networking.
Too much social activity can be exhausting at times.
WHY NETWORKING EVENTS ARE A WASTE OF TIME
Networking is an important part of every business, but it is usually considered to be a crucial part of it.
There are a lot of things apart from networking that are important for growing a business.
Usually, networking events are held only with the intention of spreading a business – there is no other point in them. This is why they can get boring and even frustrating.
Many of those events are usually ineffective and not very beneficial.
Even though they might look like a great opportunity, they are usually not as helpful to a business as they seem.
Listed down below are the reasons why networking events are not as effective as they seem.
- Attending the Wrong Type of Events – The crucial part of growing your business using networking is to target the right group of people that are interested in it. By showing your ideas and offers to someone who is not interested in it and have nothing to do with it will only make you lose time and you will not achieve any positive results. This is why targeting the right group of people is an important step when you want to show off your business.
- Selling as the Main Goal – Selling your products might actually be the most important part of your business, but it should not be your main and only goal. Building strong relationships with clients will ensure their loyalty to your business. By creating steady relationships with other businesses, you are making sure that they will buy what you’re offering, and you are helping your business grow in that way.
- The Wrong Mindset – Networking events don’t have to be just a boring, work-related task. They can serve as a great source of motivation to grow your business, expand your knowledge about many things and meet a lot of people that might be helpful in future times.
- Not understanding the Purpose – It is important to know what your goal is when attending this kind of event. The purpose of these events should be sharing your values and ideas, rather than just letting everyone know about your business.
Networking events can get overwhelming at times.
Too much information and noise can be a tough thing to handle. It may not show as the most effective type of getting to know other available businesses.
However, it is important to get as many benefits from them as possible.
HOW TO NETWORK SUCCESSFULLY
If 99% of networking is a waste of time, then that one percent is a beneficial tool that you can use in your field.
As previously mentioned, networking should not be the only source of success that you have, but it can be really helpful once you have a stable business and are familiar to a wide range of people.
Networking is all about making the right connection with the other business owner, yet many people put that aside and set getting to know many people as their main goal. It is way better for your business to have one strong connection, than a thousand useless ones.
Networking has been around for a while, but its goal has changed for the worse. Now, all people are focused only on selling what they have to offer, rather than creating more beneficial relationships with other successful people.
There have been a lot of changes in the networking world, many of which are not so great.
However, there are still ways to improve your skills and get the best out of networking.
These are some tips to more successful networking:
- Stop Labeling – Even though networking might always seem like a difficult task, you can make it different for yourself. Understanding the whole point of networking is essential for getting good results from it. As mentioned before, it is not all about selling – it is about making valuable connections that will be useful to you in the future.
- Put the Ego Aside – Focusing only on your own achievements and goals, rather than engaging in a meaningful conversation with another business owner and getting benefits from it is not a good strategy to have when attending networking events.
This is the most common factor that causes empty networking to happen.
Having open communication without being too bullish about your business ideas will bring you many good things in later collaborations.
- Set Goals – You need to have your goals set before you start creating connections. This will help you a lot when trying to manage your time and meetings, and it will make networking less time-consuming. When your intentions are clear and your goals are set, you will waste no time on small talk and empty talking. Getting straight to the point when networking is going to ensure productive and quality connections with other people.
- Find Common Ideas – It is important to be on the same page with the person that you are working with. Finding common interests with the person will help you avoid empty conversations and get straight to the point. This will also help build unique and stable relationships with the people you’re collaborating with.
- Invest Your Time – Networking can be a waste of time if it is done improperly or without clear goals. Anyhow, investing your time in valuable and profitable relationships is a crucial thing if you want to achieve your goals.
Once you’ve connected with a reliable business owner, make sure that you are giving enough time to build your relationship and develop it over time.
Keeping in touch will ensure that they don’t eventually forget about you.
- Find the Right People to Network With – You never know who you could meet and who can be helpful to you when the time comes. That is why you should search for people that are both in and outside your branch of work. Collaborating with past colleagues can also be of aid when trying to learn particular skills and ideas. It is all about finding the right connection and similar ideas.
Networking is not an easy thing to do.
By adapting to these networking tips, you can make it simpler to make new relationships in the business world.
These suggestions will help you make quality and long-lasting relationships with your business partners.
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