Hey, I know it’s fashionable to call out business networking. There’s a whole blogging industry that’s sprung up online telling you why networking is a really bad thing.
Now, these networking-knockers all cite the same reasons. Traditionally, it goes like this:
They dislike talking to strangers.
They’re not keen on getting cornered by some insurance salesman from Ongar with breath like the inside of a goat.
They have limited success. Read, none.
They can’t be doing with that eyes-glazed-over, can’t-get-away-quick-enough look that comes over people’s faces when they realise you’re not buying.
But I have different issues with networking. Specifically:
1 The breakfasts are appalling
No, really. They are. Fry-ups. Death on a plate.
2 It’s a stupid-early start
For a recent event, I spent £50 getting to Manchester for 6.30am. I got home at 11 and fell fast asleep. Day done, hopes crushed.
3 The advice is illogical
‘Don’t talk about yourself’, they say. Fair enough, but someone has to, or we’d all stay zipped.
4 How can I trust them?
OK, I’m supposed to recommend you, my fellow networkers. But how do I know you’re any good? How do you know I’m any good? Just because we share a bad breakfast at a bonkers time of day.
5 You’re looking for connections at Touche Ross this week?
Well, I do know someone. But he’s the office cat. How’s that gonna help you?
6 I’m internationally bad at small talk
I’m just not a people person. Sorry.
7 It’s all so fake
Isn’t it? And fakery’s just not me. Business needs to be organic.
Inbound is best
Truth is, the online, inbound-marketing model has revolutionised business. Because it’s removed selling from the equation.
Instead of creepily pushing your stuff down people’s throats, you get folk coming to you. And only when they’re good and ready to do business.
How cool is that?
With the time I spent in Manchester, I could have written a new geographical copywriting page, tweaked my Google Ads campaign, or written a blog post about how fantastically grim networking is.
And I would have avoided the calorie and social-anxiety overload.