The Truth About Networking


There is a part of the widespread beliefs about networking that is puzzling – the importance of the sheer number of social contacts, the extent of personal and professional networks, vs. the sense and experience of being known.

It’s about superficial connection, depth of connection, and the experience of being heard, of what creates the degree of resonance.

Here is the essential question for networking.

How integrated is your own personal experience, that it is sufficiently embodied that you can bring it to bear upon how you listen, how deeply you listen, and most importantly how deeply you can identify and really HEAR and receive the nature of another person and the degree of resonance?

This is the social media issue of our time, the issue of connection and meaningful bonds that last not so much because of the drive to achieve higher number of ”networked” associations, but the depth and quality, the authentic, believable, felt resonance of fewer ones.  It is the hole in the ship of the research on social relationships.

It is possible to share with someone who responds back with an immediate text that is so quick, that you know by the speed of the answer that it claims to understand who you are and what you have shared.

It’s realistically more a nodding head and agreement, a little resonance, some meaning, but the true experience is one of being cheated or of paying too much for the return you got, trying not to look like you are expecting too much, or worse, are ungrateful and insincere.

It is like expressing at an “8” of heartedness with meaning and connectedness returned at a “2.” There is enough to connect but not enough to sustain, unless there are more micro moments added cumulatively and regularly.  What seems to be enough is social connectedness at a “1” often enough, and that is sufficient.

Superficial connection can be enough, some people are content, and the research on networking is built on that superficiality which seems to do the job of the research.  It’s like feelings felt at a “2,” and the projection of the receiver is that it was an “8,” and its wonderful because the belief is that any connection is better than none.

When a person is not understood at the depth of their expression and a text flies back with 20 ideas and observations and 16 questions, there is connection, but there is also what I call connection “shortchange.”

HOW a person listens, WHAT they listen for.  HOW they hear.  These are the fundamental concerns with heart-t-heart connection.

You have to teach the person what to hear and how to listen for it.  It is like being able to hear inflections in language that are the truer signals of the meaning of the word than the use of the word itself.

If you can understand IN ORDER TO RESPOND and look right and with it and bright, significant and competent and capable, even interested, you miss it. You can connect but there is little resonance with the person sharing.

You are not listening in the right place.  To hear and receive the person who shares, one has to abandon their own intent to respond, and listen for the feelings of the other, the meanings of the other, their wanting, and not judge their intent.  It is something like flow, “getting” the other person is the passion, and doing the listening non-judgmentally absent of that filter.

© Dr. William K. Larkin




About the author

Dr. William K. Larkin
  • Dr. gloria wright

    I was having an in-depth conversation with a friend this morning. We
    talked about that not everyone has the intellectual capacity to get abstract, non-quantifiable theories and beliefs. Another component to deep sharing is trust. Do you trust another to listen to you, get you and your meaning and not judge? You can trust another with your deepest thoughts and beliefs, but they may not have the intellectual and emotional development to resonant what you are truly meaning. And if they are preoccupied with their own ego (and believe their beliefs are “right”), they may not get you – in the truest sense.
    I believe that a person needs to be somewhat evolved to hold ambiguity
    and uncertainly – which is a part of the truly “unknown.” You can believe in
    God – which is true for you – but you can’t prove it in black and white terms. I believe that is what you choose to believe.
    I also believe that you have to have strength in your own beliefs to be
    able to hold and consider a different viewpoint. Ego and empathy are not
    compatible. If I have a need to be right, I cannot empathize with anyone’s
    perception or perspective that is different from mine.
    For me face-to-face and/or voice-to-voice are much easier for true connection than the superficial social media exchange. I get much stimulation from Dr. Larkin’s writings, but I don’t think it makes us closer as sharing friends. It certainly is a connection, but not so much on a personal level.
    Social media can connect us through content, but it doesn’t always feed
    my soul, my ears or my eyes. Sometimes my ears are hungry – to hear a friendly voice, to have a sweet encounter or hear some mutual admiration. I confess, I’m an adoration junky…. 🙂 “Getting me” feeds my soul….

  • Kelsey Abbott

    Flow and connection. Flow requires knowing what you want, believing that you’ll get it and being open to how you get it. So if we know we want connection (deep connection with another human being), and we believe that deep connection with another human being is possible and we’re open to how we get that deep connection, then we can connect in a flow-like way, which I would say is a pretty deep connection. In this way, I believe deep connections over text and social media may not be the norm, but are, in fact, possible. If we operate with an open heart and an open mind, if we are open to possibilities and open to truly seeing another human being and holding space for that human being, isn’t anything possible?

  • Alan Cohen

    For me, the networking is an art. It is not a transaction, rather it is about listening deeply, and seeing where I can add value to a person’s life and business. Sometimes the value is just in the listening, sometimes it is something I can share, a piece of information, a person they want to meet. I approach networking from a place of gratitude, making deposits in the relationship account, rather than thinking about what I will get back. Listening without judgement, creating a space or people to feel heard and seen, being in a dance of connection and coming from a place of service. Social networking has value, for sure, but can not replace the full sensory experience of in-person connection.

  • Deborah Logan

    I’m not ‘into’ social media in its various forms and this is not because I didn’t try them: Linked-In, FB, etc. Much of the content feels hollow, empty, flippant or worse. What I liked best from the blog article is the final paragraph and the reminder to “abandon the intent to respond” for me that is true listening, connecting and resonating. Responding then becomes something far more supportive and personal.

    • Balwant Singh

      I agree.

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