You’ve probably found yourself at a networking event for your industry, looking out at a crowd of strangers.
If you’re lucky enough to be with a friend, the two of you will probably only talk to each other the whole night. If you’re feeling particularly ambitious, you loosen up and go home with a pocket full of business cards — belonging to people you’ll never speak to again.
Sethi visited Business Insider’s New York office recently for a Facebook Live Q&A with viewers, and one asked him for networking advice for someone who hates going to networking events.
“First of all, I don’t want to go networking either,” Sethi said. “Slick my hair back, find business cards and go talk to a bunch of people who I don’t even want to know — why do I want to waste my evening doing that? Who wants to be there? Nobody!”
Sethi isn’t saying you shouldn’t build a professional network of people who can add value to your career. What he’s saying is that trying to force connections in an artificial setting is, even in the best case scenario, a waste of your time.
“I would rather spend my time researching interesting people,” Sethi said. If there is someone you admire in your industry, or in an industry you’re considering switching into, find their email address and send them a message, he explained. Send them a polite and concise note telling them why you admire them and that you would love to take them out for a coffee or jump on the phone, even for 10 minutes, to tell them about yourself and ask how they got to where they are in their career.
“In other words, instead of going to meet a bunch of nobodies, I would love to spend that time — all that time — doing a lot of research and reaching out to one great person who could completely change my life,” Sethi said. “That’s networking.”
You can watch the full Facebook Live interview below.
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