Networking Is Useless
Many of us have been there — the exclusive party or networking event where we are surrounded by people significantly cooler and more influential than ourselves. We loaded our pockets with business cards, rehearsed our elevator pitches, and put on our imaginary night-vision-esque networking goggles that list everyone’s credentials next to their not-as-important faces.
At the end of an evening of hardcore schmoozing, we arrive home with sore smile muscles and a stack of the embossed business cards of our new “friends.” Inevitably, the more ambitious of us begin emailing right away. “It was so great to meet you tonight at cool-ass-networking-party-number-458. As promised, here is the information about my new business/product/project. Let me know if you’re interested in chatting about it.”
We plow through our new contacts and reach out to each one. Whew. Networking DONE. We wipe our brows, pour a nightcap, take off the inevitably uncomfortable party wear, don some much-more-cozy tattered PJs, and head for bed feeling that our work is done.
Guess what? My unverified statistics vault says that 80% of folks who think they are done after one email to a new contact have wasted their time emailing them in the first place. Why? I have news for you:
Networking is useless if you don’t keep in touch.
I ask you, what use is meeting a person once, connecting with them one more time, and then never connecting with them again? You guessed it. Not so useful. You have the contact information of someone who will forget you in a few weeks — again, not so helpful.
One chance is not a lot
I have been studying networking for over 20 years (and implementing my findings in my own life). One of the most important things I have found is that the most useful people in your network almost always end up being the ones you have connected with more than a few times.
Now, after reading the introduction to this article, you might be thinking that your fancy-dancy networking event might have been attended in vain. Au contraire, my friend. In fact, your pocketful of business cards is equivalent to the first word of the sentence that you should be hoping to…