Why does “networking” get a bad rap?

Some people have a negative reaction to the idea of networking. Others avoid networking opportunities because they are uncomfortable or fearful. If the prospect of networking makes you uneasy, you have the wrong idea of what networking is about.

At a networking event, you may have seen someone grabbing as many business cards as possible while stuffing their card into your hand. Maybe you met someone who talked endlessly about himself or herself while never pausing to allow others to introduce themselves. You may have experienced the pushy follow-up, where someone you didn’t want to meet is calling you to sell you something you don’t want to buy.

Hopefully, this is not your approach to networking. If it is, immediately stop! You are contributing to the impression that “networking” is a bad word. No one would blame you for being turned o by such behavior. But that is not networking. It is just annoying. Unless a networking group or event is specifically designed for people to sell or pitch each other, such behavior is simply not appropriate in a professional networking situation.

“Networking” is not a bad word, but there are many bad networkers. ey are not bad people, but they have never learned the correct way to network. ey have not applied the “golden rule of networking.”