Getting Good At Networking Is Like Learning To Have Sex
As a result of this I get business owners asking me all the time for the secret to successful networking. How can you get a huge return on your investment? After thinking about this for a while I think I’ve got the answer.
Networking is like learning to get good at sex.
If you think I’ve gone crazy allow me to elaborate. I’ve broken this down into points to make it easier to follow:
When you first find out about networking you don’t really know what it is. You don’t know where to go. You don’t know how to do it properly. You’ve just heard that everyone else is doing it and you feel like you should be as well.
Can you remember the first time you heard about sex? Not the birds and the bees talk your parents gave you but the first time you spoke about it with your mates. Everyone was pretending that they did it and that it was great whilst in reality nobody had a clue. I remember finding out about sex and vowing that I would find a way to do it as soon as possible.
When you first start a business you probably haven’t heard of business networking. Then one day you are with your friends and they suggested it’s something you should do. You didn’t really know what a networking event is but it seemed like a good idea.
2.) Sleeping Around
When you first start having sex you aren’t necessarily looking for a long term relationship. Some people just want to sleep around. And even if you are looking for a relationship it generally doesn’t work out. I remember at university the last thing I wanted was a relationship, I just wanted to have fun.
The same is true of networking. When you first start networking you don’t want to commit to regularly attending a networking organisation. You want to try as many different ones as you can. A lot of the time you will try free networking events because why would you pay for it when you can get it for free? And just like sleeping around you probably aren’t getting a meaningful experience from going to all these meetings.
3.) Screw Relationships
The other thing about sleeping around is that it's always about moving onto the next person without caring about the last. Your goal is to get as many notches in your belt as you can. Generally you aren’t phoning one night stands up and trying to build relationships. You don’t realise that the key to happiness is to find that special someone and settle down.
When you start networking you probably aren’t following up when you meet people at the events you attend. The general attitude is the more people you meet, the more people you can sell your stuff to. At the time you don't realise that the key to successful networking is following up and building relationships.
4.) Refining Your Technique
The more times you have sex the better you become at it. At first you were probably clumsy, you didn't know what you were doing and it probably ended very quickly. However after enough experience you learn little tricks that make sex better for you and the person that you are with.
It’s the same with networking. When you start out you won’t know what to do, where to stand or how to talk to people. You’ll be nervous every time you have to stand up in front of people. However the more meetings you go to the better you become. Eventually you’ll get really good and business networking will become a breeze.
5.) Getting A Partner
At some point in your life you grow up. You realise that it’s not all about sleeping around. You realise that you want someone to be a part of your life, so you look for the perfect partner. Everybody has a different ‘type’. Some people like a partner that is strict and highly strung. Some people like a partner that is more chilled and down to earth. There is no hard and fast rule here, the important thing is that the person you end up with makes you happy.
This is exactly the same as business networking. At some point you have to settle for a networking group. There are so many debates about which group is best. Do I go for the strict environment of BNI? Do I go for the more social environment of 4N? There is no right or wrong, as long as where you end up makes you happy.
If you wanted to, you could regularly attend more than one type of networking group just like you can have more than one sexual partner. However in both of these examples it can become confusing, tiring and ultimately not worth the effort.
6.) Nothing Lasts Forever
When you commit to a relationship you think it will last forever and sometimes it will. However you never know where you’ll end up. Sometimes you will love someone and think you will be with them forever but you can drift apart over time. It’s not the end of the world though, time heals all wounds. You will meet someone new and be happy again.
It’s the same with networking.
From time to time people leave networking groups. It’s normally because they are busy and don’t have time. Sometimes it can be because they don’t think networking is working for them. Whatever the reason people generally don’t leave networking forever. I meet lots of people who have come back to 4Networking because they didn’t realise how important networking was for their business.
7.) It’s Better To Be With Someone Than On Your Own
The biggest similarity, whether we are talking about networking or relationships is that if you end up on your own forever it’s a sad and lonely life. Spending your life with someone you love makes life worth living. Yes there may be roadblocks along the way but ultimately your life will be better if it is shared with someone you love.
With networking you could run a business without ever attending a networking meeting. But for most entrepreneurs and business owners it’s an opportunity to get out and meet like minded people. People who can help and support you with your business, people who ‘get it’. And like I said although you could do it on your own it’s much easier with others there to help you.
So there you have it. It’s scary how learning about sex and relationships is the same as your journey through networking. Thanks for reading.
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Thanks for reading. Have a great day.
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