Changing the Face of Professional Networking

Why We Network

Professionals are familiarized with the importance of networking early on, as it can be a “do-or-die” affair for furthering any type of career. You can be great at what you do, but if other people dislike you or you can’t get new clients, eventually you’ll find your career treading water at best– or at worst, sinking like a stone.

The Networking Event Drill

The traditional goal of networking is to find someone more successful than you, gain their attention, and find a way to get them to work with you. Assessments at networking events are often rapid: What’s your name, who do you work for, what’s your title? And those questions are only asked after the non-verbal cues are met: Are they a member here, are they wearing professional attire, do they show good grooming, are others conversing with them? There are whole books and courses on identifying people with power and influence, getting an ear with them, and making a persuasive pitch.

Why These Networking Events Are Going The Way of the Past

There are several core issues with traditional networking as described:

  • They’re competitive. People all want money and time with people who can make them money. There is a general air of, “There’s only so much to go around, and if that person’s business is chosen over mine, then I get nothing”.
  • Featured speakers are already successful. They want to show others their success and continue to self-promote.
  • They’re shallow. There is no attempt to get to know a person outside of what money they might be able to make for you. Conversations are constant ‘small talk’.
  • They de-value the contribution of most members. Instead of getting to know people, who they are and what their business is about, the focus is on only a few people. At many networking events, people who don’t think you can serve their interests will often just walk away.
  • Opportunities are limited. Everyone wants to sell something to everyone else or to find someone who will make them the most money. There are fewer business opportunities for partnerships, collaborations, referrals or even creating genuine friendships.
  • Power is concentrated in the hands of a few people. Everyone wants to kiss up to to a select few, or at least find someone roughly equal to them who has a coveted skill or connection. If you are not one of those select few, it can feel like you’re out in the cold.

Handshake

Rebuilding the Networking Paradigm

Changing the face of business to a more socially conscious one requires also changing the face of networking. With SoCon Networking, my and Among the Stars‘ goal is to turn networking into a community building opportunity.

The New, Inclusive Face of Professional Networking

  • Professionals share common interests outside of business. Socially conscious professionals have a passion for making money, but also for doing so by building up the community and the people around them. Conversations turn beyond small talk.
  • There is enough business for everyone. Competition is turned to collaboration, cooperation, and community when people realize that yes, there is enough for everyone. No two businesses or professionals are exactly alike, and even in the same field, a client might prefer one niche, specialty, or company’s cause over another– and that’s OK.
  • Everyone is valued and included. Speaking, introductions and engagement are not reserved for only the select few.
  • Featured speakers want to share the journey and passion. Featured speakers are successful, but also very dedicated to being socially conscious. Rather than a focus on ‘getting to the top’, speakers are transparent about the journey and how they define their own goals and success as a socially conscious professional.
  • Opportunities are open. Genuine dialogue opens entirely new possibilities: Can I volunteer with this nonprofit? How can we work together to better define standards for sustainability? Can I collaborate with this person on their next sponsored charity event? Of course, buying, selling, and employment are always on the table, too.

Francesca and PBOT

Try It For Yourself

Visit the Among the Stars Eventbrite page, our Meetup Group Page, or visit Among the Stars’ public events listing on Facebook, find the next event, sign up, and see for yourself why we’re gaining a reputation for positivity and inclusiveness in business!

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