Why I hate networking

by Tom Albrighton 13 October 2010 Freelancing, Popular

Am I the only one who hates networking? Looking at Twitter, it sometimes seems so. Everyone’s attending, or indeed hosting, events like there’s no tomorrow. But perhaps the ‘notworkers’ are just too shy to come out and confess. Well, I’m happy to start the dancing. Read my seven reasons not to network, then add your own – or tell me why I’m wrong. (Which I’m not.)

  • It’s scary. Well, it is for me anyway. Walking up to strangers and introducing myself would be right up there on my list of least favourite activities, just ahead of sticking pins in my eyes and coming a close second to camping. Or ballroom dancing.
  • It’s egotistical. For me, actively pushing my services has always gone against the grain. Yes, I know you have to do it, and I’ve got my head around doing it online. But in person, I always get the sickening sense of necessity clashing with personality. It’s just not me.
  • Wallflowers are attractive, fragrant and low-maintenance

    It’s expensive. OK, some events are free, but many aren’t. They remind me of the days when I paid a tenner to get into a club on a Thursday night, only to find myself in a dimly lit room with my mates and two other blokes even less glamorous than us.

  • It’s ineffective. ‘I’m looking for a copywriter actually. In fact, that’s why I came here today.’ Just one of the things I will never, ever hear at a networking event. Because when my prospects want my services, they go straight to the web, or to a colleague for a recommendation. Not to a hotel near the airport.
  • It’s a waste of time. Instead of spending an afternoon failing to sell myself, I could create a blog post that’s got a fighting chance of getting backlinks from authority or related sites in my niche. Or cold-call a few promising-looking prospects. Or take my daughter to the park. All arguably deliver more benefit.
  • It’s insincere. No, I am not remotely interested in your rivet-making company, or its newly introduced rivet. Yet for appearances’ sake I must feign interest – as must you, hah! But the eyes are the window to the soul, and our mutual disdain cannot be completely hidden.
  • It’s boring. Meeting a load of strangers at 7.30am? At a golf club? I might just take a rain check, thanks. Although, thinking about it, I don’t have that much work coming up… Now, where did I put those business cards?

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