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April 3, 2007 » 5:41 pm

The Evils of Networking

I’m lucky to know lots of great people. I enjoy that feeling of connectedness, and most of us could probably use more of it. That said, a sure way to make me cringe is to call me a “networker,” or worse still, ask me how to “network.”    (M38)

I hate “networking.” I don’t think anyone should do it.    (M39)

I sometimes enjoy meeting people for the sake of meeting people, as long as they’re interesting and I’m not in the middle of one of my many introverted moments. I love meeting people who are passionate and who make me think. I learn a lot from these folks. Lots of other good stuff sometimes happens from knowing these folks, some of it career-related.    (M3A)

Then there are folks who have no interest in two-way conversations. They just want to be heard, or they’re trying to sell something. I avoid these people like the plague.    (M3B)

These people are networkers. Networking, to me, implies meeting as many people as possible in case they might be useful to you later. I never network.    (M3C)

A more accurate description of this phenomenon is Drive-By Networking. I first heard the term at Matt Homann‘s IdeaMarket last October. It describes people who approach you for the sole purpose of getting your business card so they can annoy you later.    (M3D)

If you’re feeling disconnected, I have three pieces of advice.    (M3E)

First, avoid Drive-By Networking.    (M3F)

Second, approach people because you’re interested in learning, not because some self-help book says you need to know more people in order to succeed.    (M3G)

Third, seek Authentic Conversations. The key to Authentic Conversations is to focus on listening, not on being heard. If you focus on the former, the latter will usually follow. If it doesn’t, then simply move on.    (M3H)

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