“Relationshipping” – The New Networking


How do you genuinely feel about networking? The suits, the business cards, the sales pitch – it’s all a bit exhausting, don’t you think? Networking feels so scripted to me. You have the same conversations over and over again, you probably have it memorized by now. So when I heard someone say ‘relationshipping’ it stopped me in my tracks. What is it? How is it different from the networking that I dread and how do I train my mind to do things differently? 

Relationships are essentially just building a connection with someone, whether it’s romantic, business related, a friendship or even just a glorified acquaintance. I am a very relational person – probably why I love working at Cornerstone so much! But the appeal to me is that relationships are meant to be long term, they aren’t quick exchanges that get pushed into the back of your mind until you need something. 

The difference for me, between just networking and ‘relationshipping’ has been the investment. Building those relationships have taken time. They’ve taken trust and intentionality, but in the end, they have been so worthwhile. I know people, through Cornerstone and in other areas of life, that I would recommend in a heartbeat because I have taken the time to get to know them, so I know their character, their work ethic and commitment to their job. When you can speak highly of a person or a business in that regard, because you have a relationship with them, I feel like that is valued so much more than just passing along a business card because you stuck it in your purse. 

Switching my mindset from a quick exchange to conversations, really took the longest time. I think the one thing that has helped me flip that switch was intentional questions. Instead of “what do you do for a living?” I ask “What do you love about your job?” – honestly, without even asking what they do. Typically they offer that information anyway, but you get to learn more about them in the process.  It has been so beneficial to get to know people on a more personal level, instead of just professionally. 

Next time you find yourself stuck in a networking event, find the one person that is just standing out to you and start a conversation; not strictly focused on work, but about their life, their journey and what the future holds for them, personally and professionally. I guarantee, you’ll begin to build a relationship with someone and might be excited about what it turns into; might even be your next business partner! 

Happy relationshipping, Coworkers!