Networking as a Game

Networking is a valuable skill for anyone. Think of it as Relationship Asset Management. Managing your relationship assets is a critical to your business (if not more so) than managing your financial assets.
A blog post called How Do You Network at the Executive Suite blog mentioned that in my Rainmaking Made Easy product I talk about networking as a game and compared this approach with the wisdom of Bob Burg. I was so excited to be mentioned alongside Bob, that I almost missed the fact that it was to say that my approach is loose compared to Bob’s systematic and structured approach. One point the article did make that I very much agree with is that “Trying to mimic a Bob Burg, Suzi Pomerantz or anyone else for that matter will come off as fake or insincere.”
The reason I advocate for making networking a game is that many people find it painful. I often hear from executives who are introverts that they don’t particularly enjoy the “shmoozing” that is required of their position.
Networking, at it’s most basic definition, is not about shmoozing, but about creating a genuine human connection. We do that anyway in life, so why think of networking as something separate requiring a suit, a pocket full of business cards, and a breakfast meeting filled with salespeople?
Networking, if we take the work out of it, would be net-ing. Think of your net worth. If you can have fun with creating genuine human connections (i.e., the game of networking), you can vastly increase your net worth.

Comments (2)

There was a TED University talk on 7/12 about networking. The key point the woman made is that networking is not about business – its about creating intimacy and from that intimacy we create business. So, she advocated, as I often do, the need to use the networking opportunity to create connection with another human being and put the other agenda aside.
I believe that the short time frame we’re given for networking is what makes it the arduous task and nerve racking experience. If we change our expectations and the way we approach the time element, connecting and networking becomes much easier and more enjoyable.

I concur, Renee! In my book I talk about the Nine Mindsets of Networking, and it’s all about connecting at that human level without an agenda but with a genuine curiosity about what’s possible. Sometimes, nothing is possible with that other person, and that’s okay, too! As I say in most of my classes…if you’re talking to someone with whom you have no connection, move on! There are 6 billion people on the planet…go find someone interesting to talk to! 🙂

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