Move Beyond the Hustle: The Myths of Networking

4 great tips to move you beyond the hype to establishing authentic business relationships

Why bother with printing if your business card is just going to get tossed? Learn to network strategically.

I am constantly amazed by the mistakes that people make when it comes to networking.  Every day, I receive an email, a Facebook message or a Tweet (www.twitter.com/marshawnevans) from someone asking me for something.  I love being in a position to give, to advise, and to help.  The reality, however, is that I can only do so much.  The real challenge is that requests come from people I do not know.

Giving a business card does not mean we now have a connection, certainly not a real relationship.  A relationship implies reciprocity—more of a give-and-take, mutually-beneficial kind of thing.  Networking is not about the number of business cards you have.  It is about what you do with them, and how you do it.

In my book, SKIRTS in the Boardroom: A Woman’s Survival Guide to Success in Business & Life (Wiley 2008), I have an entire chapter dedicated to networking called “Connections: Do Shorter SKIRTS Ever Hurt?”  As a Reinvention Strategist™, I firmly believe that you cannot change your outcomes unless you change your outlook.  Success is only as sustainable as the strength of your relationships.  The key to reinventing your success begins with reinventing and renewing your relationships—or at least your approach.

My point: You must be careful when asking for a hook-up.  It often makes people think that you are trying to hustle them. Why?  A hustler always wants something from someone.  This is difficult for hungry entrepreneurs to appreciate, but it is critical to understand nonetheless.  Asking for help does not mean that you are being deceitful, but you probably are not earning points either.

Networking strategically is one of the most effective tools for career enhancement. For men and women alike, it requires patience, persistence, and savvy insight to bypass the most common pitfalls.  Here are three common myths when it comes to networking.

Myth #1: It is “who you know” that determines where you go.
False!  That thought is only partially true.  Ultimately, where you go is about your ability to expand “who you know” by networking. Plus, it is about how well you know “who you know,” what the “who you know” says about you, and how much the “who-you-know” trusts you!

Myth #2: Networking is a numbers game.
Wrong!  Trying to meet as many people as possible is a faulty approach.  True networking is about quality, not quantity.  Anyone can collect a ton of business cards. Strategic networking is about establishing quality relationships.

Myth #3: Networking is about finding others who can help you reach your goals.
Yet another mistake!  Effective networking is a give-and-take process.  Notice the word give comes before take.  The more you give of yourself, your time, and your expertise, the more others will want to pour back into your life and career as well.

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  • http://N/a Markus Elliott

    This is a very informative article especially for a young Manager like myself. I always wonder why I would get turned down and avoided when I was trying to network. But with this article I fully understand the do’s and dont’s of networking. Hopefully it will help me in my goal of being the store manager of a Lowes Home Improvement Store.

  • http://WriteMyResumeNow.com Ozzie Saunds

    Great article Marshawn,
    Love your advice. I think sometimes people value other people but forget to provide these people of value any added benefit to their lives. So in other words they want something for nothing. They want valuable people to help them advance but sometimes forget that the best way to get people to help you is to provide them with something that they want first. You will advance quicker in life if you wake up every morning thinking how can I make someones life easier today instead of thinking how can I get something I want today.

    Ozzie Saunds
    WriteMyResumeNow.com

  • http://WriteMyResumeNow.com Ozzie Saunds

    Great article Marshawn,Love your advice. I think sometimes people value other people but forget to provide these people of value any added benefit to their lives. So in other words they want something for nothing. They want valuable people to help them advance but sometimes forget that the best way to get people to help you is to provide them with something that they want first. You will advance quicker in life if you wake up every morning thinking how can I make someones life easier today instead of thinking how can I get something I want today.

    Ozzie Saundshttp://www.WriteMyResumeNow.com

  • http://www.stepwiseassociates.com Marsha Haygood

    Great article that reminds people that networking is about establishing relationships and should be about helping others, not for what you can get. People remember those that make them feel good.

    • Claus

      adamBATTAGLIA Posted on whit, your pictures are ubbelievanle. sure, i’m really jealous but also REALLY JEALOUS. congrats on what seems to be a successful trip so far. can’t wait to see the show.

  • C. Wolfe

    Great article Marshawn! The information enclosed within the article is endowed with great intellectual tips for great networking. Networking is an art form-it must be viewed as a process for all parties involved. The end result should be the establishing of solid business relationships that can foster professional growth.

    • Stefani

      The career fair was not aihnytng spectacular this year. There were a couple good companies but unless you plan on taking your bachelors degree to Aldi or Abercrombie and Fitch, the fair didn’t have that much to offer.

  • http://aladinstreasurechest.com ethnie

    So true. I am a member of BNI here in Barbados. It is an international business and professional referral networking organisation where the memory hook is Givers Gain. We are on the look out for business for our members every day and they in turn do this for us. It works. We give first and gaining becomes automatic.

  • RKC

    Great article. I think it is important for people to understand that networking does not end with the networking event. Follow-up afterwards is just as important. Networking is building relationships when you do not necessarily ‘need’ anything.

  • madguru

    So basically stop being a douche and treat people like people. Amazing people need an article to “realize” something so basic.

    • Elmira

      That’s coecrrt. It may be the training you get or that special contact you make. Going to that networking event will change your future!Steven Schmeltzle recently posted..

  • Kayoko

    if you were not there to cnonect with them. Especially an event like Live The Dream II that are HUGE events with a lot of leaders to cnonect with.Grace recently posted..

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