The Myths of Networking (Part 2)Jun 09, 2023
Myths About Business Networking (Part 1)
by Vern Schellenger, CEO Contacts Count
In part 1 of this blog we debunk common networking myths held by individuals. In part 2, we debunk the networking myths commonly held by mangers and business owners.
Whatever your job, and regardless of your organizational level, out networking skills help us connect, converse, and collaborate –both face- to- face –and digitally. Our connections help us things get done! It’s how innovation happens, employees stay engaged, and our businesses stays competitive.
Yet, some common misbeliefs stunt our ability to effectively connect and network, both internal and external to our organizations. Which of these myths have you seen in action?
Myth #4: “Our people already know how to network.”
When over 500 people from all walks of life took the Contacts Count Networking Competency Assessment, their employers were shocked by the low scores. Only a third of the people said, “I know exactly who I need to have in my network.” Less than 40% of people responded positively on three basic networking skills:
- “I know the next step to take to make any relationship more useful,”
- “I know questions to ask that will move the relationship forward.”
- “I tell stories that teach about my team’s or my organization’s capabilities.”
Most people really don’t know how to network. Yet these skills can be learned.
Myth #5: “Everyone’s connected. Look at all the time spent on social media!”
Yes, social media is everywhere. Whether you use public social media platforms like LinkedIn, or private groups through platforms like MS Teams, social media is everywhere. But, that’s like saying, “I have a cell phone, so I have lots of friends.” Having the ability to connect is not the same as knowing how to build trust-based relationships that spark innovation, get things done, or bring in new clients.
Myth #6: “We’ve told all of our people to collaborate.”
A decree from above does little to create a culture of collaboration. Recall Myth #4 ― “People already know how to network.” We can’t expect people to know how to turn their network into collaboration. Instead, savvy organizations put in place systems, policies, procedures, and training programs that develop, encourage, and support networking across silos and within teams in support of networking and a collaborative culture.
Myth #7: “You can’t expect our attorneys (product managers, software engineers, budget analysts, scientists, consultants, researchers, etc.) to develop business. That’s why we have a marketing department.”
That’s an outdated idea. We now know that, in our competitive world, business development is everybody’s business, no matter what their function or level within the company. As one CEO told the Contacts Count researchers, “I want everybody who works here to be our ambassadors in casual conversations, at conferences and meetings, and even in their social circles! You can’t buy that kind of visibility in a million ads.”
Which of these networking myths have been holding your organization back? Which ones can you overcome? To learn more about networking skills, take the Contacts Count free
About the Author
Vern Schellenger, President and CEO of Contact Count.
Contacts Count is the premier coaching and training organization dedicated to helping you use the power of human connection to transform your career, business, and life.
Vern is dedicated to empowering professionals and entrepreneurs with the strategies, skills and tools to master networking (even if they are introverted and don’t like networking events). His vast experience includes such roles as HR VP and CLO at Dunkin Donuts, VP & Director of Professional Services at Lee Hecht Harrison, and SR VP of Human Resources at American Bankers Association.