Old Networking R.I.P: Try This Instead

blog Oct 11, 2015

Party! Do you spend time at off-sites, events, receptions, business clubs and industry outings? Is this time well spent? Maybe yes, maybe no. It depends on if you're good at creating meaningful connections. This is true even if your networking focuses on your staff, your peers, your boss or your board. Ready to go deeper? Let's take a few steps down this path...

STEP ONE - Old Neworking R.I.P. - First off, let's bury the traditional networking mindset. It's old and wreaks of Mad Men martini lunches and golf outings. What is a "network" anyway? It sounds impersonal, mechanistic and complicated. What we need is something organic, intuitive and simple.

STEP TWO - Make Friends - No! Not the online kind, real ones. The, this-is-just-between-you-and-me kind. Or, to quote Joan, "Can we tawk?" Sound a little too intimate? Too time consuming? Won't work in our fast paced business lives? Maybe intimate is what the doctor ordered. Maybe making a deep, caring connection is the best possible thing we can do with the next minute of our day. Next step please...

STEP THREE - A Way of Life - We're talking all-in here...beyond a habit, and way beyond a best practice. Lots of people have a good network of business cards, um, I mean, colleagues, with whom they exchange favors. Working a quid-pro-quo system gets results to a point. It's also uninspiring and tedious. We can do a lot better. Making real connections with real people shifts our daily experience from doing to being, from accomplishing to creating, and from achievement to service. This changes lives for the better, including our own.

You probably have a few thoughts and maybe questions about whether a focus on deeper business relationships is feasible or a good idea in our 24x7 overloaded lives. I did. So I wandered around the internet looking for answers. Here are a few insights, ideas and a song from others who've pondered this question:

If you question the payoff, watch this.

If you're concerned that going deep will take too much time, try this.

If you think caring for people at work is for sissies, business is "just business", and greed is good, this is for you!

Your thoughts? Can we tawk?

Barbara Shannon is the President of TSG The Shannon Group, a management consulting and executive guidance company helping business leaders grow great companies. Barbara also Chairs a CEO1 the success hub for today's CEOs. Connect with Barbara in your comments or on twitter:1barbarashannon