Networking or Not Working? The Disadvantages of Business Networking

Are you networking or not working?

In this article, we’re going to talk about why business networking is not always a good idea, and we’re also going to look at one of the most valuable forms of networking that we are all missing out on…

Now I know I’m taking a controversial position with this piece, so you’ll have to hear me out. I promise I’m not antisocial, I just think that there’s something here that entrepreneurs and business people rarely consider.

And of course, just as much as you are, I’m fully aware of all of the wonderful benefits of business networking.

It’s vitally important to build connections in your industry, in order to open up new possibilities for collaborations, and to discover new ways to achieve your goals.

Networking is a wonderfully valuable thing, and I’m not against it in any way.

But it’s important to keep your networking activities for when they are most appropriate. Sometimes, networking is the last thing we should be doing, and here’s why…


The Disadvantages of Business Networking

#1) Time, Focus and Energy

Just like any other activity in your business, networking requires your time, focus and energy. And of course at the appropriate times, it’s very much worth the investment.

This is not always the case, though. When you weigh up the time you spend at networking events or on social media and compare it to other productive activities in your business, it can often emerge that networking, as an activity, has a high opportunity cost.

In other words, if you sacrifice other productive activities in favour of networking, or allow too much networking to distract you, the actual results and output of your business can end up suffering.

There’s no hiding from the fact that results come from work being done!


#2) Quality Vs Quantity

The harsh reality of business networking is that sometimes, the connections you make are not actually beneficial to you.

We are living in the age of LinkedIn, which is undeniably an incredible platform for making business connections. The same goes for the other social media platforms too.

There is a flip side to this though. Unless we make a conscious effort to get the best out of our connections, we can very easily end up in a quantity-over-quality situation.

If we’re not careful, the connections we make through our networking can end up superficial in nature, which means they are not beneficial to us or the businesses we are responsible for.


#3) Conformism

This is perhaps the most interesting disadvantage of business networking.

Networking is a social activity, and so by its nature, it causes us to form social groups and conform to the norms of those groups. This is completely understandable, and for the majority of the time it is a constructive thing.

What’s interesting though, is that in some cases, this conformism actually stifles creativity.

Creativity and innovation do not conform to norms. By their own definitions, they break out of norms, including social ones.

So while networking is a beneficial activity overall, it’s very important to bear in mind that in some cases it can hold back innovation.

If you spend a lot of time in a certain social ‘bubble’, you can be at risk of falling into groupthink.

When everyone is thinking the same way, in the same paradigms, it can be a lot less likely for you to reach big paradigm shifts that could revolutionise your business.

This is because at the beginning of the creative process, ideas do not need external validation – in fact, they need to stay well away from it.

If you are accustomed to regularly networking in groups, you may end up seeking that external validation, even if only subconsciously.

This is very important to be aware of if you are looking to create something new in your business.

By the way, I’m not saying here that creativity needs to be an antisocial process. Some of the best creative ideas are of course generated by groups of colleagues – but that’s a totally different situation to networking.


#4) Illusion of Productivity

This somewhat relates to our point about time, focus and energy.

These three things, if misdirected, can give the illusion of achievement when there actually is none.

If you invest your time, focus and energy into networking, it can give you a false sense of productivity.

You feel like you have done good things, and of course in many cases that’s true, if the connections you have made will prove valuable in future.

It all depends on context though, because in some cases, this is not the case, and you could have been more productive doing other things in your business.

The real point here is that all things, including networking, should be done at the appropriate time.


#5) Neglect of Introverted Talents

This last one doesn’t apply to everyone, but is still highly relevant to mention.

There’s no denying that business networking, as an activity, favours extroverted personality types.

Extroverted people find it very easy to meet new people and build social connections. In fact, they thrive on doing it, and their businesses thrive on it too.

The same can’t always be said for introverts though. Although they may even be very socially able, going out and networking isn’t the first thing that comes to mind for them, and they may find it more tiring to sum up the energy to do so on a regular basis.

Introverts have a lot to bring to the table though, in other spheres of business. They excel at the kinds of deep and reflective thinking that can bring about strategic analysis and innovation.

There’s a lot to be said for the following argument: Instead of introverts forcing themselves to partake in the same amount of networking as extroverts do, they should perhaps focus on thriving through their own set of strengths, and take part in networking only as and when it’s needed.

Certainly something to think about for any introverts out there!


Business Networking Done Right

Just like marketing, customer service, product development and everything else, networking is an essential aspect of business and entrepreneurship.

If you omit networking entirely, you will miss out on a whole host of opportunities, and I certainly don’t recommend you do anything of the sort.

My main point in this piece is that anything in your business, including networking, is best done at the appropriate time.

Occasionally it seems that the importance of networking is overemphasised by some, at the expense of other vital business components. So in this piece I have taken a bit of a contrarian viewpoint, to restore the balance.

But there is one more thing to talk about…


The Networking Opportunity We Are All Missing

There is one particular type of networking that we are all missing, and it’s costing us greatly.

So far, we have discussed the external aspects of networking. But internal networking is equally powerful and useful, often even more so.

I’m talking about the networking that goes on inside our own heads.

“…Come again?”

This might seem off-topic and abstract, but if you are looking to grow your business, this is absolutely essential.

You see, all of the vital decisions you make in your business, whether good or bad, are governed by your thinking mechanics.

Much like when your brain moves your finger to scroll down this page, you are not consciously aware of how your thinking mechanics work. They just do.

Movement of your finger is an automatic result of subconscious brain activity. Your business decisions are just the same. They are governed by a network of thinking mechanics that you aren’t aware of.

But using Effective Intelligence, you can get conscious control of this hidden network of thinking processes, and optimise it for the outcomes you want for your business.

When you lift the veil on the inner network of your mind, you can see the pathways to your decisions, and you can even change or tweak each individual component in order to transform your decision success rate.

For example, I personally had a problem with taking action on things as an entrepreneur. Paralysis by analysis, you could call it.

Using Effective Intelligence, I was able to analyse and fix the exact thinking mechanic that was causing this ‘network error’ in my head, allowing me to take effective actions that led me to success.

That’s just one personal example out of many possible business problems that can be solved by looking at your thinking mechanics.

Your Thinking-Intentions Profile gives you the X-Ray vision you need to expose your decision pathways, so you can map your path to the unprecedented results you’re looking for.

See you next week!

How YOU think has a direct effect on the results you get. Want to find out more? Get your FREE Key Strategic Insights today.

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