The goal of networking is to build relationships and facilitate connections between others. It is not to sell products or services.
Too often in my formal and informal networks, a coffee meetup suddenly turns into a sales pitch, a loose circle folks of is pushed into a sales funnel, or an online group is bombarded with promos. This is why networking has such a bad reputation.
I love supporting other freelancers and small business owners, but I want to do it on my own time, in my own way. Often, that is through connecting people or offering resources and advice when asked. It is rarely through purchasing goods and services.
The right way to network:
- Focus on learning: ask a question, and listen.
- Find collaborators: find common interests and tackle a shared problem.
- Give: connect people, give recognition and advice, share resources, and include others.
Help make networking suck less.
Photo: Mrs. W.K. Vanderbilt (LOC), The Library of Congress