Networking is seen as a tool for career advancement, useful to build long-term relationships and reputation. However, if you don’t do it correctly, networking can be a complete waste of time and energy. Even though I run the Executive’s Global Network (EGN) Singapore, the number one elite and confidential peer group community in Singapore with 300 C-Suite Leaders, Senior Executives and Entrepreneurs, I haven’t personally attended a networking event in years.

Not to say that networking doesn’t work but most of the time, these networking events are merely ‘social sales pitches’. When you go to networking events, you want to meet people who can provide value to you. However, most of these events just end up to be another presentation of external case studies which are not relevant. So it becomes a one-way communication and you hardly get any face-time with industry leaders as they are swarmed by eager networkers. In the end, you leave the event without any significant takeaways.

Why is networking a waste of time?

I came across this article that says 99% of networking is a waste of time. It was from a series of interviews done by Harvard Business Review with “Mr Davos” himself—venture capitalist and entrepreneur, Rich Stromback. If you don’t already know, Stromback has spent more than ten years attending the Mecca of networking events held by the World Economic Forum every year in Davos-Klosters, Switzerland. So much that the New York Times described him as the unofficial expert on the Davos party scene.

According to Stromback, most people got networking all wrong. Stromback stresses the importance of being your own self—ditch the first impression notion, converse in topics that you are genuinely interested in and just be your own authentic self. There is no need for you to go after the big names and force yourself to be engaged 24-7. In fact, [Stromback] prefers to be disengaged 90% of the time and to spend that time on his family instead.

Stromback has made it very clear that networking in Davos is 99% distractions and the key is to know what to avoid—focus on what is truly essential, he said.

Bottom line

Even though ‘Networking’ as we know it is broken, the truth is that you can solve a problem in minutes by speaking to someone who faced it and solved it before you. In some cases, all you may need is a sounding board, a safe space and a community outside of your work that gathers around to support you. Well, at EGN, we have created this safe, professional, and confidential community where you can express your ideas or feelings and get the solutions you need. 

Still not sure about joining us? Talk to me now!