It's been a buzzword for two decades. Everybody talks about it. Most business people think it's important. But what, exactly, is networking?
"Networking" is the practice of building relationships for mutual gain. As a marketing guy, I do this daily—even hourly. It's my job to do lunch, to work rooms, to make valuable contacts and then to use those contacts to close deals.
Sound unctuous? It can be. A lot of Christians are uncomfortable with the practice, because it seems so selfish. It seems to be exclusively about advancing our own agenda. About being slick and surreptitious. Or, less pejoratively, about using the contacts we have for self-promotion.
Much of networking is actually that way, as it's practiced in the world. But there's nothing inherently immoral about networking. It's a tool, like a hammer is a tool, and tools are value-neutral. They can be used for good or for evil, for building a house or for hitting someone over the head. So the question then becomes: "How can we ...1