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Sunday, January 09, 2011

DAVE CLARKE: Networking Will Not Give You a Silver Bullet

by Dave Clarke

A few years ago I was chatting with another attendee at a business seminar. When I asked him why he was there he said "I keep coming in the hope that I'll hear about the silver bullet which will help me become really successful!" He didn't seem to be joking.

I was reminded about this conversation last week. There has been a bit of an online furor over some comments made by Lord Sugar in an article in the Daily Telegraph. Alan Sugar is the star of the UK version of the Apprentice and was 'Enterprise Champion' under the last UK Labour Government. For fuller coverage of this story see Andy Lopata's article 'Alan Sugar and Networking: Why the Entrepreneurs' Champion could lead them to disaster'. Also '' from Warren Cass.

It was the following comment from Sugar that caused most controversy, "I am sick and tired of hearing people asking what to do, going to networking meetings and seminars expecting to glean some gems of wisdom. These events are money-making exercises and benefit one party and one party only: the organiser. They have become an escape for people to justify sitting around wasting a day bullshitting with each other while they should be working. You will learn nothing other than that there are another load of people in the same boat as you."

As I said to that person a few years ago you will not find a silver bullet by attending networking events and seminars. The idea, though, that all networking events are for the benefit of the organisers only is patent nonsense. That is just as silly as claiming that any business is only for the benefit of its owners. A good business succeeds when it provides great value to its customers. There are plenty of networking organisations that succeed because they put the interests of their members first.

Until next time...

Good Networking!
Dave Clarke
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