A study by the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto is about to publish a study in the Administrative Science Quarterly showing that most people think that networking is schmoozing, and it makes them feel physically dirty.
If this is the feeling networking gives you, you’re doing it all wrong!
I think that the feeling of discomfort comes from forced networking – when you are making conversation for the sake of conversation. If you don’t find the conversation is flowing naturally when you are trying to get to know someone, there is no point in forcing the connection. Dismiss yourself politely from the conversation and move on!
You’ll find that much better connections are made when conversation flows smoothly, and there is no onus on either party to find topics of interest to discuss.
But, haven’t I failed if I don’t make a connection?
Not at all!
If the person you are trying to connect works for an organization that employs more people, there are plenty more opportunities to network with someone you feel more of a natural connection with.
If you’re trying to get to know an solo businessman or entrepreneur and you’re having a hard time connecting, you could find another entrepreneur in the same field, or simply chalk this one up to “I’m going to have to let this one slide” status.
Not everyone lands in a positive relationship 100% of the time! It may be that in another place, at another time, you’re able to connect in a more positive way. It may be, though, that this connection is just not for you.
As everyone’s mother always said … there are plenty more fish in the sea!