Friday, January 27, 2012

Why Your Networking Sucks — And the Secret to Doing it Right

By Therese Schwenkler

Wanna know a secret?

Your networking sucks.

No worries, though. Mine used to suck, too, until I discovered the secret: stop networking altogether.
See, a few years ago I was a young professional, fresh out of college and ready to conquer the world. “It’s all about the people you know,” everyone told me. And so I went out to meet some people — I went out to “network.”

No matter how hard I tried, though, and no matter how many people I talked to, it never really got me anywhere.

I couldn’t understand what I was doing wrong. I couldn’t understand why people weren’t offering me jobs or leads or becoming my new BFFs. Instead I was lucky if they even remembered my name.

Fast forward two years to the fall of 2011.

I stared at my computer screen in disbelief.

“I’d like to fly to Boise and meet you in person. I’m really interested in what you’re doing,” read the message in front of me.

“Me?” my voice echoed around the empty room.

I looked around to see if there was any other Therese Schwenkler he could have been speaking of. Nope, it was just me.

Soren Gordhamer, the founder of the Wisdom 2.0 Conference? The guy who knows all these awesome people at Google and Facebook and whose sold-out conference features Eckhart Tolle (one of Oprah’s favorite peeps)? Soren Gordhamer wants to come talk to me? In my hometown of Boise, Idaho?
This was only the first of many unexpected and wonderful relationships that I’ve built in the past half year, one of many that have helped shape me into the person I am today.

So what am I doing differently now? How did I go from being a complete networking loser to forming relationships with some of the most genuine, most interesting, most well-connected people around?
It’s simple, really: I dropped the whole notion of “networking” and did something completely different instead — a little something I like to call “non-networking.”
Here’s how it’s done (or rather, here’s how it’s not done).

How to non-network in two simple steps:

1. Develop your own brand of awesomesauce

Awesomesauce is simply that thing that makes you interesting. It’s that thing that makes you, well, you.
Joel Runyon has it. So does Amber Rae. And Charlie Hoehn. You know what those people stand for when you see their names, right? That’s their awesomesauce.

Have you found your awesomesauce? If you haven’t yet, get on it. Otherwise you’ll forever be out of the game.

When I started growing my website, The Unlost, I unwittingly discovered my own brand of awesomesauce. All of the sudden people started coming to me. Bloggers and authors and brand strategists and entrepreneurs — suddenly they wanted to know who I was and what I was doing.
The concept’s simple, really: When you’re doing something interesting and unique, something that’s truly you, when you’re infused with energy and passion and life, people become intrigued. People want to get to know you.

And that’s the goal of networking, right? Developing your own brand is simply coming at it from a different angle.

Everybody — yes, everybody — should take the time to discover and build their own brand of awesomesauce.

2. Stop caring about results and start caring about relationships


  1. This is a very great article, Thank you for sharing. Gonna go work on that awesomesauce now!

  2. Make sure to thank Therese on her blog. It is always nice to know other people appreciate your work.

  3. Your approach resignates with my philosophies. Thanks for sharing.