This just in, kids. According to Harvard Business Review, networking events are a waste of time. That’s right. The author, who’s the founder and CEO of an un-networking community, has this to say:

Regardless of how you define networking, your success will be directly tied to your ability to interact with people looking to achieve many of the same things you are. The most basic problem with traditional networking events is that they are mixing bowls for professionals who are there for different reasons … Everyone is playing a different game, which is why there are usually no clear winners.

If the author is the founder and CEO of a community in which he manages not to network, I suspect his definition of community is different from the one the rest of are using. But that’s okay. His point about the absence of winners in groups of people with different agendas still resonates. He goes on:

The primary goal when planning an event should be to choose an activity your existing clients will enjoy … And remember that this event is … about building upon existing and potentially new connections.

So, there you have … Whoa! Hold on a minute. I didn’t see that coming. It may take a moment to work out the logic of our non-networking community leader. It must go something like this:

A + B ≠ C.

Yeah. That’s it. In that formulation, A represents the networking event that’s a waste of time. B represents the event our non-networking community leader is planning. Therefore, C, the event our non-networking community leader is planning — and in which he’ll build on existing and new connections — must NOT represent networking. Got that? Good.

If you do get that, and if you’re comfortable with that logic, you might want to skip this: “Tickets, Please: How to Attract Millennials To Your Next Event“. Here’s why:

The Millennial generation is turning to live events … According to an Eventbrite survey … 55% reported they’re spending more on live events than they ever had … More than 82% of Millennials surveyed attended or participated in more than one live experience in the past 12 months, and 72% said they would like to increase their spending on live events next year.

The author of that particular missive is the Chief Creative Officer (CCO) of GES, your face-to-face marketing partner, a company that produces some of the most visible and influential events in the world [emphases mine, just in case he needs the plugs]. The CCO wasn’t available to clarify whether the visible and influential events GES produces are networking events.

But never mind that. Either way, here’s the takeaway from these two complementary and hugely helpful articles:

Networking events are a waste, unless you plan them yourself or put on visible and influential events for Millennials.

Well, that’s certainly clear enough. I can hardly wait to waste my time at the next visible and influential non-networking event.

Image by qimono, courtesy of