More and more in recent years, people are moving away from traditional methods of networking towards a more collaborative approach. The days of meeting people in a bar or social setting and exchanging business cards are on the way out – mostly because people tend to forget who they’ve spoken to within a few minutes of each encounter.
Is it really possible to interest people in what you do in such a short space of time? Or convince them as to how your products or services could meet their needs? And is there even the potential for making logical business conclusions in just 10 minutes?
Let’s look at the stats on professional networking:
- 28% of professionals have found or been referred to a new role through a network connection. (Editorial Intelligence)
- 88% of business cards handed out get thrown away in less than a week. Which means that 9 out of 10 of your business cards are ending up in the trash.
- 63% of people throw business cards away because the service doesn’t meet their needs. That’s approximately 7 out of every 10 people. (Adobe Blog)
- And finally, 9 in 10 people prefer smaller meetings as a method of communication. (Forbes)
The numbers alone are staggering, not to mention the waste of business cards. Are large networking events even effective anymore? Let’s look at the stats a little more closely. Firstly, 28% of professionals “have found or been referred to a new role through a network connection”. While the number may seem encouraging, it doesn’t mean that the 28% have necessarily been successful in being offered these new roles, nor does it distinguish between entry level, junior and senior level positions. Lastly, “a network connection” is vague – is it a professional connection, or the entirety of a person’s network, including work, family, and friends too?
Similarly, if 9 out of 10 cards end up in the trash, do business cards even serve a purpose anymore? Significant amounts of resources are being wasted (9 billion in the US alone) on what seems a pointless exercise, when social media platforms like LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook could be doing the same job far more efficiently.
With this in mind, it seems clear that traditional forms of networking are on the way out, and collaborative networking is on the way in – collaborations on anything from professional projects to hobbies to simple seminar activities.
In this way, collaboration is able to bring out ideas not usually found in traditional networking settings. Individuals become more familiar with those in their team, and form bonds of connection and trust. Rather than business cards being exchanged, telephone numbers and LinkedIn profiles are shared, leading to more substantial and definitive business partnerships between companies and departments.
Tolpagorni believes that collaboration is the key to a long, meaningful professional relationship. We encourage all of our Product Managers to be part of a Product Management Network (Details below) where they can keep in contact with each other and work together to create magical products. Many product managers from this network have found it very rewarding by exchanging experiences and asking for advice when stuck in situations at work. Also, the network creates a sense of belonging amongst people facing similar problems from different industries and companies.