Networking Not Working Podcast by Safaraz Ali –
It would be easy to think that networking had just been invented.
Organised networks as a business is very much a growth industry.
This episode looks at networking, its origins and what it is today.
Far from being something relatively new, networks have existed since the beginning of time.
A network is a group of people that come together for all kinds of different reasons but with a shared goal. This may be connected with business but does not have to be.
What is much more recent is formal business networking. There is now a laundry list of networking organisations that businesses are encouraged to join, often promising much and delivering much less. Finding the right networking group is important.
It is often a case of trial, error and bitter experience but the adage that ‘if it sounds too good to be true it usually is,’ is generally as true in networking as in other aspects of life.
One of the issues considered is the distinction between the formal network and the informal.
Until relatively recently, the informal network was most common.
A good example is a golf club where people, often with a business background come together, primarily to play golf. But they talk, get to know and trust each other. You find out a lot about someone when you play a round of golf, so it is hardly surprising that a lot of business gets done between tee and green and on the 19th hole.
The formal business networking group is very different. These are too often ‘dating agencies’ bringing people together to ‘sell’ to each other. They can have a place but ‘buyer beware.’
In some of the worst cases there is peer pressure to provide referrals that are packaged as business opportunities but are often anything but.
This is not to be too snooty. Not everyone has access to networks or plays golf and anyway some people are not comfortable in these environments so formal groups can have a place. Safaraz says something about initiates such as ‘coffee and natter’ that help make networking more accessible.
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