Networking – is it important?

Coincidentally in the last few weeks, five different people asked me about the “importance of networking”.

And I told them – if you think about your activities as “networking”, you probably got it wrong. Going to gatherings and shaking hands with influential people is not networking. They won’t help you because they are surrounded by people who want to network with them ALL THE TIME.

I go to very few gatherings. When I meet people, it’s about discussing a common goal together, never small talk. All my “network” was not from me trying to meet influential people. I was just driven by my work, and the right people showed up because they were interested in the work that I do.

And if we contacted each other, we will genuinely try to help each other out, even though we’ve not known each other for long.

That’s because to build a real network, there needs to be trust and mutual respect. Trust is built because they know I am not meeting them for the silly reason of “trying to network”. I am meeting them on equal grounds, discussing how we can add value to each others’ goals.

We shouldn’t try to shake the hands of influential people for the sake of networking. If you want a real network, focus on being driven by your work, and the right network will appear.