Networking events: you schmooze, you lose

Are networking events still relevant for business? I know what most of you are thinking:

Business networking events can conjure up images of awkward conversations, too many cocktails, and “schmoozing”. Thankfully, this image is mostly an outdated one. While social networking has threatened to upend the traditional face-to-face model, it’s still thriving.

Why? Because making connections is what we do, as humans. It may be easy to hide behind a keyboard in the digital age, but really, isn’t it much better to interact with a real person, in a real situation? Yes. Still, Houston, we have a problem – cringeworthy personal agendas.

Professional snooze fest

The most basic problem with traditional networking events is that they are mixing bowls for professionals – everyone is playing a different game. It’s all about the hustle. The hustle to get a drink, give out business cards, and basically talk the talk. Pass me my pillow! Yawn.

Before I sat down to write this blog, I happened to bump into a friend who works in the financial industry, and asked her what she thought of networking events. Just out of interest. Her. Face. Said. It. All. I took her response as: prefer-to-poke-stick-in-eye.

What do we have in common?

When she stopped pulling faces, my mover-and-shaker-mate did clarify that she feels networking events are valuable if the networkers have a common interest. For example. some execs are now combining their hobbies with business to connect, such as cycling.

It is no secret, I used to hate networking events with a passion too – all power suits and sales pitches. That’s why I started the Network of Possibility last year. It brings community-minded Canberra professionals together – we have a purpose, other than doing business.

This is what people say about the Network.

  • “Excellent speakers, all passionate about their world and making a difference, showcasing different views and mindsets.”
  • “Genuinely engaged women.”
  • “Positive energy, welcoming atmosphere.”
  • “Fantastic initiative.”
  • “Focus on building relationships, not selling.”
  • “Great food!”

The Network of Possibility is launching a Creating Conversation breakfast series with a group of remarkable and inspiring women. It will complement our evening Cocktail Reception events. If you want to join us, we want to get to know what your purpose and passions are (not your level, status or rank) and how can we help you achieve your vision.

We have created an environment where people do not engage in conversations where they feel like they have to exert power over others or feed their addiction to being right. We know you’re smart, we know you’re powerful, and we value you.

What do you think about networking events? Tell me about the good, bad, and ugly.

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