Online Networking

by | Apr 9, 2023 | Entrepreneurship

I don’t think I’ve seen it work yet.

No matter how organized or well monitored, somehow, someway, it ends up deteriorating into a one-way pitch fest.

Etiquette goes right out the window as people flood the chats with their contact information, social media profiles, and website links. As though everyone else should be rapt with interest.

Those who cannot powerfully articulate their message in one to two minutes are overlooked, ignored, and written off as irrelevant.

It’s a good reason to come prepared, yes, but we’ve all delivered messages that have fallen flat. Your message won’t land every time.

The only ones who win in online networking are the loudest and most obnoxious. And I’m not entirely sure they’re winning either.

I thought this would depend on the group, but today I observed some of the most evolved leaders I know treat the session like a mid-90s GeoCities chatroom, just as I’ve seen other entrepreneurs and executives do.

These are, I’m sure, the same people who do “networking hit and runs” at every in-person event, awkwardly and haphazardly throwing business cards at attendees as if to get away from those nasty germs as quickly as possible.

I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again. The bar is still very low when it comes to networking and pitching. And I would even posit it’s at an all time low.

Connecting, not broadcasting, ought to be the intention of every networking event.

Connecting, not broadcasting, ought to be the intention of every networking event. Click To Tweet

Those who use it as an opportunity to assert their self-importance are missing the point. The point is to listen and share generously. Offer support. Connect people who need to meet. Point them in the direction of helpful resources. Not show people how great you are.

Ironically, being a space for listening and offering support will end up elevating your status. Serving will lead to tangible networking results, not talking endlessly about how you’re the best.

Online networking doesn’t work. And while I hate the terminology, “virtual networking,” in this instance, hits the nail on the head. You may as well be interacting with a video game. No one is there to earn your trust before hitting you over the head with a sales pitch.

I’m going to say one more thing I hate and then I’m done. When it comes to networking, we could all learn a thing or two from politicians. They are expert networkers who have it as their job to memorize the names and professions of the people they meet, so if they ever run into them again, they can make them feel important. That’s not something you can do without having real empathy for people.

When it comes to networking, we could all learn a thing or two from politicians. Click To Tweet