Networking vs. Relationship Building

Networking vs. Relationship Building

Happy Monday! I receive awesome, thought provoking questions via private message so today I thought I would share one with you.

Q.Hi Chelsea, many have cautioned me about networking with the sole intent of getting a job or a “hook up.” Can you offer tips on networking and how to network without making the other person feel used?

A. Hi Paige! That’s such a great question. Many find “networking” both mentally and physically exhausting. This is common and if you feel this way, you’re not alone. Let’s challenge ourselves to take some time and shift how we’re thinking about this. The word networking feels mechanical, transactional and planned. Relationship building feels fun, organic and mutually beneficial. Let’s place our energy on relationship building and throw networking out of the window!

If you enter into any conversation with the intention of meeting one, specific need (i.e. getting a job), that intention will likely shine through. Unfortunately, this is exactly how some end up appearing desperate or opportunistic. Approach each conversation with the intent to give, not to take. I encourage my clients to keep the following tips in mind regarding relationship building:

Do not fall into the trap of thinking there are only specific times/opportunities when you need to be ready to present yourself. Some of the most powerful relationships can be built with someone you meet at the grocery store, bank, gym or at your daughter’s school. When you are only prepared to meet new people 5-7PM with a nametag at an event engineered by your company, you are severely limiting yourself to infinite possibilities. At any time, any place, be ready to share with others what you can offer the world and how it relates to them.

Be intentional-not ridiculous. After you meet someone you’d like to build a relationship with them, follow up. If you don’t hear back, don’t stalk them! What is meant for you CANNOT miss you. Stay on your grind, hike up your performance and the necessary relationships will grow.
Thanks again for your question, Paige. I can’t wait to hear an update!


Chelsea C. Hayes, SPHR, is the CEO & Principal Consultant of The Coaching Factory, LLC based in Los Angeles. The Coaching Factory trains Millennials to win at work & coaches Executives to connect with the winners. She holds a Master’s degree in Communication from Northwestern University and two Bachelor’s degrees from Purdue University.