Why do we network?
I'm doing some thinking about face-to-face networking and how to do it better. I've ten years experience of running something that everybody (except me!) referred to as a networking event and I guess I'm reflecting a lot on that experience.
I don't know what the main point of networking is. I think the problem is that we all think there is one and in fact there are many. I find that "going to find work" is usually going to be disappointing as is "going to find a specific collaborator or employee to do something" - that's not to say they don't happen, just that it's a rare outcome.
Only part of what we need a network for is to find customers and suppliers. It's the other things we need that I think are more interesting: fun, camaraderie, stimulation, inspiration, help, ideas, new friends etc.
And there's definitely something in there about helping others rather than just talking about yourself. Talking about other people and their work is really valuable to the network as a whole even if it doesn't directly get you work. So the interesting bit is how do you add value to the network and receive value from it?