Breaking The Slow Networking Stereotype

If we imagine business as a race, winner takes all, it’s no wonder we often run frantic for the finish line. It’s not as if we ever really run out of finish lines either. As we beetle towards one, there is another and another and another, each fast on the heels of the last. So, when I was challenged to network at a different, more relaxed pace, i.e. slow networking, I had my doubts.

Doubts such as…

Wouldn’t my time be best spent at big events where I could maximize my connection prospects with less time out of my home office? Would the slow in #slownetworking actually subtract from the return on time and effort invested? Moreover, isn’t slow networking a kind of anti-networking tactic camouflaged by a cute hashtag?

Slow networking is, in fact, about growth and positive returns, because the emphasis is on the quality of the connections made rather than the quantity. As for the concern that #slownetworking fans, like my Tell Me More Project cohort, are rebels at heart flipping the bird at tried and tested networking strategies – well, it didn’t feel like rebellion to me. It felt refreshing, like a deep breath followed by a long exhale.

The #slownetworking propostion I accepted was to have a lunch or coffee with someone I had just met or hadn’t connected with in a while. Although I’ve met loads of people networking in my usual style, I don’t know a lot about a lot of them. As much as I recognized that this was an area ripe for improvement, until challenged I hadn’t taken concrete steps.

Since starting my Slow Networking Challenge, I have had the pleasure of all this:

Shared ideas and tips.

Offered to e-introduce contacts.

Listened with intention.

Learned a ton about the other person.

At the same time, I have gained all this:

New insight into my project.

Connected with new contacts from the other person’s network.

Received support and encouragement for my projects.

Win-win situations.

The feedback received from those who were lucky 😉 enough to be among the first partners in this challenge has been overwhelmingly positive and that has inspired me to share my journey on social media.

The engagement with these posts has been amazing. I’m sharing the message of #slownetworking with you in the hopes that you’ll do it too. Let’s do this together.

Maybe you like a challenge as much as we do? 🤞

Wondering how you can participate? Good. Here are the details:

  1. Email, call, text a contact in your network and tell them about the Slow Networking Challenge.
  2. Set up a meeting. Coffee. Lunch. Tapas. Dinner. Cocktails….
  3. Meet up and ask about the other person’s project or career. Offer advice. (Be a zebra.)
  4. Share information on your project. Ask for help.
  5. Take a photo and post it on social media and use the #slownetworking tag.
  6. Repeat. Once per week.

 

Photo by Marco Secchi

Cris Kristofits is a serial event-er with a passion for meeting new people and a diverse network of superconnectors in Barcelona. If you want to make her heart flutter, look her in the eye and say the three magic words every networker loves to hear. She is a cofounder of The Tell Me More Project and the VP of Community Relations for the Barcelona chapter of the Professional Women’s Network (PWN). Connect with Cris on LinkedIn. Or, search #seeCris on Facebook to keep up with her event-ing .