Hi there! My name is Jarryd Fillmore, and I hail from Grimsby and St. Catharines. Today, I will be talking to you about how Networking sucks because people don’t give a shit.

Networking is a super funny concept. It’s really about trying to work a group of people and all of their contacts, in order to get something out of them. That’s the thing – and people know it. When you go up to them, you’re trying to sell something. Everyone in that room is literally trying to sell something of what they think is “value” to someone else. And hey, is their product valuable? Perhaps it is. But to that company? To that individual? To every single person in that room? I highly, highly doubt it.

They come up to you and shake your hand with a painstakingly false enthusiasm. You can smell that falsehood from a mile away. As soon as they work through a super quick calculation and figure out that you aren’t “important” in their eyes (or in other words, that they can’t get a lot of money from you), they’re quickly onto the next one to see if they can sink their teeth into them.

Off to get their next meal!

These people – these “networks” (Jesus) – all want something from you. The worst part is? They will literally do anything to get it. Startup founders are by far, the absolute worst for this. They’ll come up to me at some network event (whether that be in Grimsby, St. Catharines or any other part of Niagara) and the moment that they figure out I don’t work for Google, Atlassian or Uber, they bounce. They literally eject and onto the next one. How in-genuine is that?

It’s literally a nightmare, you can smell the falsehood from three miles away and it’s really awkward. At these events, everyone’s wearing a mask. At the end of the day, they’re there to take money from you. Not “network”. They could care less. It’s unfortunate, but it’s the truth.

Every time I check my e-mail in the morning, it’s honestly the same thing. So many people reach out to me basically trying to get something for free or trying to sell me something. I like to think, how do people do it? I’m not really a sales kind of person, I produce things. I create things. That’s what I’m really good at, so I’ll let someone else take care of the sales bit.

I made a new rule for myself. As much as I love meeting people, connecting with them (online and offline), I will only meet people who genuinely give a shit about what I do. The value that I produce. Our time on this planet is too damn short to be dealing with anyone else otherwise. I only want to meet people who want to have a solid, real conversation. Get to know me on a personal level, you know? Now that I think of it, my most successful clients AND the clients that have been such a pleasure to work with, have been super extroverted, amazing people. They’re not debbie downers, they don’t mop around. I do not want to waste my time with people who see me as a dollar sign – or even worse, try to devalue my work.

Only people who genuinely care will help you anyway

Want to know the best thing about people who give a shit? They’re most likely to do something incredibly kind, because they care about you as a person. They don’t look at you as a “lead”. They’re the one who WILL call you and invite you out for a drink because they want to hang out, not because they’re just recently changed their status on LinkedIn to “looking for a new job”.

There’s a guy that started playing on my volleyball team recently. We just got to talking, super nice dude. We talked about music and such. Turns out, the guy plays guitar. I play guitar. We went out for a drink after volleyball, and bam. Hit it off. Now we’re jamming (sorry for the pun). Also, turns out the guy codes. I code. Now we’re trading off projects to eachother, web design / development projects just because we’re buddies.

See what happens when you establish real relationships with people? Something special happens. And I establish these special relationships with most of my clients. Honestly. It’s hard, and you have to do a lot of pre-selecting, but it’s 100% worth it. They will refer you to people in the future, plus you gain new friends. Bonus!

Only people who genuinely care for you will ask you for realistic favours

Man this one is true. The people are who trying to network around are ALWAYS having a big “ask” up their sleeve. Their the type of people that are literally asking me to partner with them within 5 minutes of meeting me (please stop this, the desperation is strong), or they want me to read their book for free or something.

These kinds of people are so out of touch with reality it’s insane. I would only do these things for people I actually deeply care about. I could honestly care less to read your book, let alone partner with your organization – the latter is a MASSIVE step.

These people want to get in, get an answer and get out as quick as they can. Fuck that.

I know some really great networkers. They can walk into a room, know one person, strike up a conversation with the other 4 beside them and now bam. Tons of leads and promises. I respect the way they can generate new business, but I do not respect they way they treat people.

I’m not interested in collecting email addresses, I’m totally interested in having awesome conversations and getting to know some people. Do you have to be wildly successfuly or even help my business? Absolutely not. I just want to meet you if you’re cool and treat people with dignity.

Anyway, hope you enjoyed the post! Signing off, Jarryd Fillmore from Grimsby and St. Catharines.