The Undivided Life Blog

 

The Secret to Networking

communication keynote speaker leadership Jan 19, 2023
Jeff Schiefelbein at a networking event

What is the secret to networking?

This question comes up a lot, especially when someone is entering a new stage of their life or looking for a job change.

There are countless books, websites, and gurus that offer an endless barrage of tips and tricks for networking. These methods generally feel manipulative and selfish to me.

Then what’s my secret to networking?

Don’t do it.

Don’t network.

Instead of networking, build real relationships with the people you meet, one at a time.

Traditional views of networking cause us to immediately begin calculating the utility that we can derive from the person in front of us. We are putting them into one of our buckets and trying to figure out if we can sell them something, get a job through them, use them to meet someone more important, and so on.

You want to live an undivided life that recognizes the unique value and dignity of the human person?

Stop networking and become an engaged listener instead, giving your focus to the person you are speaking with regardless of what they can and cannot offer to you in return. Invest in people for the sake of people and watch the cool ways that your “network” grows to become a meaningful community.

Challenge yourself. If you have a networking event coming up, decide now that you won’t meet a lot of people at the event. Instead, plan now to get to know someone and allow them to feel truly known by you at that event. I bet you’ll feel better and the long-term impacts of knowing that one person will be greater than any networking you could have accomplished.

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