Chapter 55. UnNetworking: Why Networking Events Are Evil

Why Networking Events Are Evil

LAST MONTH I attended a local networking event, which made me realize the difference between old- and new-school networking. It happened all within five minutes, all at the same table I was standing beside.

Old School: A real estate agent, with card already in hand, walked up to me and introduced himself, shoving his card at me. I replied with my name and asked why he was giving me his card. His reply was "That's what we're here for, to exchange information, to network!" I told himI didn't have any cards and proceeded to then listen to him talk about his web site and how if we gave him our cards that he had a section where he would post a link to us and in return we could post one for him on ours! Taadaa! Sigh. . .

New School: Three minutes later, I recognize Danny. Since I've been talking to him on Twitter for months we're like old college buddies and I give him a huge hug. No awkward "So what do you do?" questions with elevator-speech answers. No card exchange. Just a genuine great feeling of meeting some-body in person who you feel you already know. Because you already do.

Going in cold to a networking event is like showing up for a dance at a high school you just transferred to. Except at this dance, you have a stack of business cards in your hand and pass them out to everyone. It's awkward, intimidating, and a huge reason that many people who are even the slightest bit introverted don't go to ...

Get UnMarketing: Stop Marketing. Start Engaging now with O’Reilly online learning.

O’Reilly members experience live online training, plus books, videos, and digital content from 200+ publishers.