This is what I always found false about networking. I wholeheartedly agree. However, there is an opposite to this and that is that even genuine people who have conversations can be option to siphoning off knowledge, skill and help from you without leaving you with anything but exhaustion and a hole where you could have been giving or getting more value. I can’t seem to get the balance of giving and getting right.
That sounds awful, but as an ex-charity trustee, we had to be very mindful of the risk that one task swallows all our resources and staff energy that we could not then help others who desperately needed it. I would love to help everyone, but in reality, resources are limited so you need to be able to help everyone you can in a given constraint. It was the most heartbreaking lesson I learned, but also, one of the most important.
Networking events are as much of a risk. If you help too much, you risk yourself not keeping what sales folk call the “funnel” full enough to then live long enough to continue to help people. If you can’t afford to go to these networking events, which don’t cost zero (even if they’re free, there is travel). It’s a naturally non-linear system (I mean that in the mathematical sense).
Make no mistake I absolutely agree with the behaviour side of the article and applaud the challenge of the status quo. I’ve made soooo many great contacts just going along to tech networking events just for the pizza. Way better than regular networking events and I also don’t have to pay out to eat, which makes up for the parking or train ticket :) However, as with all things, it’s all about balance.