Is Pat on the Back networking, real networking?

Local business people set their alarms late at night in order to wake themselves up at unearthly hours of the morning so that they can head off to a breakfast networking group meeting. Sometimes the meeting may be local to them other times they may have an hour’s or so drive ahead of them before they can stand up and do a 60 seconds presentation.


Nevertheless the will, the drive and the commitment is there for those who trundle along and see what it has to offer – they’ll stay for the meeting and perhaps hang around for a little while afterwards and then head back home or straight to the office ready to start the business day in earnest.


Of course it wouldn’t surprise you to know that networking meetings apart from taking place in the mornings also take place at lunchtimes, and in the evenings, in fact any time of the day a networking meeting can take place.


Often you can go to a good number of networking meetings and see the same people there, would that be because the meeting is so good that it’s a must go to event – or could the stark reality be that it’s just something to do which could be considered to fall into the marketing and advertising realm of business.


The comparison for favoured networking meetings should be made towards that of a football supporter to their football team.


A football team doesn’t and often isn’t good enough to warrant a following but still supporters turn up in their droves spending their money and showing their loyalty either till their dying day or until they’ve come to their senses and said “do you know what enough is enough”.


The same is said for networking meetings, you have to look at them for what they are and realise they are just like football teams having different agendas, being administered differently and existing for differing reasons.


It could be considered perhaps that the word ‘Networking’ when applied to some networking meetings is often not used in its real context.


If you look up the word networking, its meaning is highlighted as being “Business networking is a socioeconomic activity by which groups of like-minded businesspeople recognize, create, or act upon business opportunities”.


Like a football team relying on the quality and calibre of its team many networking groups do the same in relying on the quality and calibre of its members and visitors. Unfortunately not having the financial clout or access to funds means that many networking groups will seemingly rely on volume of members as opposed to quality of members – there’s no wheedling out a poor quality businesses or people, and often it is because of this that things start to get a little disjointed.


That said there are many good and useful and successful networking group meetings out there, but these should be continually looking outwards as opposed to looking inward. As the tendency for some successful networking groups is to unknowingly alienate visitors’ to their meetings due to the fact the group members may have formed such a good and workable relationship they see visitors’ as ‘competitors’ as opposed to ‘customers’ or even potential members especially if all or part of the disciplines they represent are the same.


Some networking groups carryout what’s termed as “pat on the back networking” these provide a false sense of worth not only deluding any visitors’ but deluding themselves also.


These group types limit themselves to a small clientele which often encompasses their entire customer base, should anything happen to the group means their customer base is shot to pieces – all that effort, all that time is just wasted.


They like to provide testimonials and reviews for each other regularly – irrespective if they have indeed seen a positive result or even taken or used the service for which they are providing a testimonial – just a plain and simple ‘pat on the back’ is seemingly all it takes to call this networking.


The point of networking is to knowingly forge a relationship with or through local businesses which could result in beneficial sales and orders. Although it would be nice it’s not a social get together, and it’s certainly not a route which should be seen for getting ‘pats on the back’ for simply knowing or being in the same room as other people.


To know the true worth and true potential you really need to connect with them.