I read this article on The Times website around the time of the Davos summit at the end of January. According to Rich Stromback, a man sometimes referred to as “Mr Davos” because of the large number of princes and Silicon Valley titans who attend his birthday parties, 99 per cent of all social networking events were an exercise in futility.
People, he said, needed to stop networking. “Nobody wants to have a networking conversation, especially those at the highest level of business and politics,” he said. “They are hungry for real conversations and real relationships.”
Most shockingly of all, he thought that entrepreneurs should abandon the great urban centres of the world — New York, London, Washington DC — and live apart from the fray. Mr Stromback, for instance, lives in Detroit.
His words garnered a mixed response among seasoned networkers . “I disagree,” said Rick Frishman, the head of a publishing company, an author on networking and the organiser of an annual conference on how to do it better. “Networking has changed my life,” he said. “On a personal level, some of my greatest friends I know through networking, and specifically by going to events. You just have to do it in the right way.”
I have to say I agree with Rick. I have made many friends through business and been grateful for the opportunity to close and deliver many deals with friends. These have amounted to a value of hundred’s of thousands of pounds. I think perhaps that there is a certain reluctance to conduct business with friends – I tend to think it boils down to confidence in your own services and products. Why wouldn’t you conduct business with friends ? In fact it often takes the corporate ‘dance’ out of the equation. It is much easier to speak with a friend and ask the question ” Do you really need that feature or element of the service ? because if you don’t we could add in something you really value”
When you have a blip and lets face it within high pressure service environments that will happen. Much easier to say to a friend “Look Jim we are doing our absolute best to get this on track” knowing that you have a trusting relationship from the outset.
I think Rick hit the nail on the head when he said you have to go about it the right way. For me that means being the right way. Reg Connolly who led my training in NLP used a phrase called the ‘gentle power of attraction’ in a nutshell try to be someone worth spending time with. Perhaps that’s what Rich is alluding to.
Everyone has a story and everyone has something to contribute perhaps then we should remember Oscar Wildes Quote “Be yourself, everyone else is taken”