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I attended Tuesday’s Phoenix Business Journal’s Book of Lists party. In my opinion, one of the best networking events of the year. When I mentioned that to a couple people, they asked why I felt that way. It got me thinking, what makes a good network?

For me, it’s about quality vs. quantity. There were several hundred people at last night’s event. I left there having spent time with about 15 people. Some I already knew, others I met for the first time. But in all cases, I believe, we each gained more than just a business card from the interaction – we were able to share information about what we do for a living, introduce each other to someone else in the room and make a connection that maybe, someday, will be tapped in to for a referral or a recommendation.

Sure, I could have worked the room, spent a few minutes with lots of people, but what would that have accomplished? My goal for a networking event is not how many people but rather who the people are and how we can develop a mutually beneficial relationship as a result.

How about you? What’s your definition of a good network?

Abbie S. Fink
Abbie S. Fink
Vice President/General Manager Abbie has been doing public relations her whole life…from organizing a picket line in 6th grade to organizing client communications today. She’s passionate about a lot of things, you’ll see. Check out Abbie's full bio

4 Comments

  1. I agree. It is defiantly quality vs. quantity. You learn from a young age that if you surround yourself with good people you will be alright. I fell that is the same in teh business world as well. I also know that people do business with people that they know, like and trust.

  2. Jane says:

    I always try to go to networking events to learn about other people in the community, what they’re up to; but I’m amazed at how many of these events, the people are so darn HUNGRY for business… starving… they come across as desperate almost, and it’s unpleasant. I feel “fed upon” rather than having met someone interesting and new. So to me, a good networking event is where everyone is mutually interested in everyone else, rather than an unbalanced crowd where the majority are hard selling, selling, selling. Yuck! That’s what I admire about your style, Abbie… you are always there to introduce other people. In the end that approach will come back to feed you ten fold, in my opinion.

  3. The Phoenix Business Jounal’s Book of List Party is one of my favorite networking events. This is my 3rd year to attend. There are some networking events that I’ve gone to where people stick their business cards in your face and move on to the next person and that’s so not my style. I like to talk to people, learn more about them and build a rapport. I don’t see networking as a job duty, but a way for me to meet great people and develop both professional relationships and friendships.

  4. Hi Abbie….I like this post, and that it’s causing me to think about this. I do it by instinct, but it’s good to actually write it down.

    I’ve been to more networking events than I could ever hope to count, largely because I enjoy them, have felt they were beneficial for sharing the brand and the personality of the companies and firms where I’ve been employed, and also because my husband’s job called for them too. I was lucky in that regard because I loved attending most of them. People who used to be his contacts only used to say to me, “He dragged you to another one, huh?” to which I’d reply, “He doesn’t have to do any dragging. I love this stuff!” I think they thought I was off my rocker.

    I have, however, become a bit more selective about the events I attend, not because I’m too good or too bad for anyone, but because time seems to be at a premium these days while growing a new practice area, Social Media, and I need to become more strategic and disciplined with my networking activity. I’m sure you go through the same thought process.

    The times I am happiest and most fulfilled while attending these events, and building my network, is when I see people I have truly come to love over the years, or when I have learned something from someone I’ve seen, or possibly even been helpful to someone in some way, when I’ve been able to help people connect, or when I feel there are people in my target audience that I am able to connect with, even for a minute or two.

    I seem to draw energy from this type of interaction, for which I am extremely thankful, as the face-to-face connections that can be made are the absolute icing on the cake in relationship-building, and even sometimes the glue that cements a relationship in some other way.

    I’m with you…it’s not the quantity, it’s the quality of the connections that are made.

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