Has traditional business networking run its course?

Most networking that we do originates from the same idea formulated back in 1985. The premise being to enable business people to get together, to learn what each other does, and to refer each other. But the big question still rages on... does networking really work?

There are those that swear by it and who would state without networking they would have no business whatsoever. On the other side of the fence, there are a great many who would tell you that it is a waste of time. The answer possibly as with all these things is that it depends.

Most networking brings a collection of people together looking to see what they can get. Although we all know that 'givers gain', the main reason people go networking is to get business. Avid networkers will openly admit though they get much more besides. Other benefits include... increasing Contacts, raising energy levels, gaining knowledge, signposting to others who could help in some way, and, even removing the isolation of working alone.

There are two main types of networking events, those that bring a group of the same people together regularly, and then others that are open to all and where a fairly random and eclectic group of people can congregate. Both have their advantages and disadvantages. What is it though that makes networking brilliant for some and yet wanting for others?

Clearly the longer we network, the easier it becomes, the more we belong, and the more at home in the group we feel... but then does it just become almost a gathering of friends, a kind of habit, with no real purpose? The question 'could I use this time more effectively?' begins to raise its head.

One way to stop this is to pressure people into delivering referrals week in week out. Then at least the group is helping itself, and this works really for those who are easier to refer... for many that is not the case and networking begins to leave a sour taste.

Is there a way of networking (engaging people) that could deliver more?

Where networking predominately focuses on business, it can leave certain parts of our needs wanting. We are all in need of connection, relationships, empathy, support, nurturance and kindness, all of which are much more to do with the human element rather than business and yet are equally if not more important. 1-2-1's and regular contact can go some way towards it, however the primary focus is always driven by the business motive... after all why are we there?

A statement I heard recently... "I don't really want to go networking to speak with a group of people who just want to sell at me, I would rather have meaningful conversations with a group of people who want to create new things, innovate and solve problems, that's the group of people I would like to meet with".

This interests me, very much... this is about being part of a collaborative team with common purpose, pooling our minds coming up with ideas and innovation, re-igniting our ability to think out of the box and creating new alternatives... working out how we can achieve things in a different way...

We are in a challenging time... we have voted to not continue on the same path with Brexit (in the UK) and Trump (in the US) ... we have voted for uncertainty over the certainty of corruption, greed, and those who would self serve. We aren't sure yet what we have voted for, but nationalism, fascism, and right wing isolation strategies seems to be going in the wrong direction. Maybe, just maybe, things have to get extremely bad before the masses see what needs to happen... maybe, just maybe, we can wise up before things get truly out of hand... but to do this... we need to innovate our way out of it... and to do that... we need to start exercising the muscle many of us have allowed to be lulled to sleep... Our brains...

A new type of networking? ... not, come along and meet random folk, who you probably don't want to meet. Not a networking where we listen to a script and do the same thing week in week out, saying the same thing about what we do.

But a new type of networking with purpose... the purpose of which is to start to rejuvenate creativity, problem solving, thinking outside the box, innovation and... bringing people together with common purpose...

The energy and enthusiasm of a group of people thinking and sparking off each other, generating ideas, imagining the future... creating a world of possibility... isn't that worth getting involved in?

Why not let's invent a new world? Who is stopping us? What we have isn't working. To do this we'll have to innovate, we have to to talk, have conversations, build new avenues. We'll be needing to dust off the 'can-do' attitude, put blame away and start saying, there must be a way to do this with the resources we have, we just need to put our minds together and find it... We know the answers are out there somewhere waiting to be revealed, anything is possible. There must be ways that work better, cost less, use less resources, are more community focused, kinder to people, sustainable, and, in harmony with our planet. What if we implemented some of those ideas?

A new kind of networking to create the space for us to innovate and build the future we would like to see, not the one we are told we can have... now I'm liking the sound of that... who wants to be help? ... get in touch... +Chris Ogle

The time is now... 'L'earn, 'I'nnovate, 'N'urture with 'K'indness... maybe 4 ways for growth?


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