Networking: how easy is it to get to know you?

Networking: Robert Zarywacz asks how easy is it to get to know you?

Robert Zarywacz wants to meet the real YOU 

We live in a connected world where it is easier than ever before to connect with individuals anywhere, whether in the same town or thousands of miles away.

You would have thought that we would soon become ‘one world’, but often it seems the tools giving us the capability to connect with others, share experiences, explore different cultures, debate opposing arguments and open our minds to alternative viewpoints simply increase divisions.

The level of debate in this year’s UK referendum and US election have been of staggeringly low quality with many supporters of all sides resorting to insults and worse against their opposition.

Were these really polls to determine the future direction of government in the UK, Europe, the USA and, by implication, the rest of the world?

Even the soundbite terminology, reducing complex issues such as membership of the European Union to the childish ‘Brexit’ hashtag, debased discussion.

Those of us in business, especially those interacting with government, councils and public sector agencies, know there is rarely a straighforward ‘yes or no’ answer to many questions. Often we see countless shades of grey so subtle that practical answers to problems seem impossible. If change and improvement really were so simple, shouldn’t the experts wheeled out in the media have solved most problems by now?

The reality of life, politics and business is that improvement is often a tough challenge with change creating pain during the transition period.

The networking impact

This impacts networking because instead of being played out through traditional news channels and printed newspapers, big political events such as these now dominate social media networks. Who has not logged on to Facebook or Twitter to see connections sharing articles throwing mud at the opposition, changing their profile photos to flags or emblems, or posting bile-filled comments?

My business networking policy has always been to connect with and follow people with all manner of views and beliefs, regardless of whether I agree with them, but recently I started unfollowing connections whose faces had been exchanged for flags or icons and who now spouted unpalatable propaganda for their chosen side.

What happened to them?

Why had politics changed them from intelligent, sociable, witty people into puppets with no original opinions?

What’s more, many were business people. Did they really expect me to buy from them after seeing such unacceptable behaviour?

Network with people

I believe networking is about connecting with individuals . . . who show their faces . . . and express their own opinions.

It’s natural not to agree with everything said and we can use this to start healthy, reasonable and robust discussion between us.

If one aim of networking is personal development, then disagreement can help us to learn, develop and modify our opinions.

Let’s disagree and still like each other – for healthy lives and a successful economy.

Read more articles in the November 2016 edition of Business Action magazine.