Why I Hate “Networking”. (But Don’t Hate networking)

Everybody thinks they know what networking is. Almost all of those people are wrong.


It’s one of the reasons I have a HUGE problem with the word. I have to use it a lot – given that my title is Networking Mentor – but I try and replace it with other words and phrases where possible.


This Is What Everyone Thinks Networking Is:

You’re at an event. You walk up to the CEO.

“HI”, you say, too loudly. “LOVE YOUR SHOES”.

He shouts back.



You slide it over, do that two-handed, finger-snap-into-pointing thing, then move on.



What’s My Problem?


For most normal people, the prospect of doing this is not very appealing.

Even on a less exagerrated level, networking – in this, the most traditional sense – makes people feel uneasy. They tend to think that networking is all about being fakey-nice to people, bigging yourself up, wowing them with some kind of HILARIOUS or FASCINATING quip, then wandering off mysteriously.

If that’s the way it seems, no wonder so many people say they hate networking.


A New Definition and a New Word

Here is what networking really is:

Talking to nice people, with whom you get on, about things that you’re both interested in – they just happen to be in your (or a related) industry.

Or to put it more succintly:

MIFing. Making Industry Friends.

That’s it.


How You Can Use This

Next time you feel moved to do something that would be considered networking, try and reframe it as MIFing.

Need to email a potential contact and ask them out for coffee?
MIFing! They could be a new industry friend!

At an event and know that there’s one person you should go up and talk to?
You’re just MIFing! You’re checking them out (and letting them see what you are like) so you can both Make an Industry Friend.

Sending a “nice to meet you” email to a person you recently met, who’s in the same industry as you’re in (or aspire to be)?
You’re giving them – and yourself – the opportunity to MIF!


Over To You

I guarantee that you’ve benefitted from MIFing, without ever having thought of it as “networking”.

Have you ever had a hand in your career from a friend?

Maybe your buddy

  • told you about a postition coming up?
  • put in a good word for you with someone?
  • helped you with a project or job application?

Let me know in the comments below!


You Rule,

xx (Yes Yes) Marsha


PS want to know my best-ever client secret – and get even more advice, tips, plus stories that I won’t put on the internet? Come and join the Yes Yes Family – it’s free! Just pop your details in below:

Photo Credits: Amarand Agasi, ccTracerBullet999 and Julep67, all via Compfight cc


  • Chloe

    Reply Reply June 14, 2013

    Hi Marsha!

    Yeah I totally agree. Often we get interns or work experience people in and they ask about the whole ‘it’s not what you know, it’s who you know’ thing and I say half of it is sort of right – obviously what you know it very important but in radio who you know can be too because jobs come up in strange ways… and by coming in and being keen and nice and making friends with us you now know people too.

    I got my first job because I was hanging about in a radio station near my home a lot and then when a job came up at a sister station the editor put me forward for it.

    • Marsha (Yes Yes Marsha)

      Marsha Shandur

      Reply Reply June 16, 2013

      Glad you agree! Every job I ever got in radio came about, in one way or another, through someone I knew. But none of them through people I’d aggressively networked – all through new friends (who also happened to be in the industry).

  • Isabel

    Reply Reply June 16, 2013

    I couldn’t agree more Marsha! Rephrasing networking as MIFing makes it sound so much more appealing and, more importantly, FUN! Next time I am out at a work event, I am going to put your MIFing into action. Thank you for such great advice.

  • Natasha Ward

    Reply Reply June 24, 2013

    In my profession no one takes any notice of your diplomas, CV, etc…. It’s one of those things that either you can do, or else you can’t (interpreting) and people recruiting someone new always ask those they know for recommendations. Sometimes you can repay whoever was kind enough to recommend you; more often, the next time it will be you who is able to help a younger colleague get a leg-up, and then the onus is on them to help someone further, like a cascade….

    • Marsha (Yes Yes Marsha)

      Marsha Shandur

      Reply Reply June 24, 2013

      This is so often the case! And I think that, when you’re starting out, what you often don’t realise is that people *want* to give you that leg up, either because they had one, or just because they like to help.

  • Shana LaFore

    Reply Reply July 18, 2013

    This is fabulous and funny. Love the finger snappy thing. Great take on how to take the stress out of networking and just focusing on making interesting friends instead!

  • Haha! Awesome. Calling it MIFing will really help. The word “networking” brings up all those icky feelings. MIFing makes me smile. And giggle. And think of MILF . . . because it’s sorta the same letters . . . and then I smile and giggle even more. Love this.

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