Artwork for podcast The Work in Sports Podcast - Insider Advice for Sports Careers
The Foundation of Networking – Work In Sports Podcast
4th November 2019 • The Work in Sports Podcast - Insider Advice for Sports Careers • Brian Clapp - Work in Sports
00:00:00 00:14:49

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Hey everybody, I’m Brian Clapp V of Content and Engaged Learning at and this is the Work in Sports podcast…Just a quick personal vent -- not a big fan of changing the clocks. I think it is purely mental, but I get the worst night's sleep for about a week after the clocks change. My 12-year-old daughter was up at like 5:30 this morning, so clearly I passed this trait down to her as well. Not a fan. What makes it even worse is staying up to watch your team stink on Sunday night Football… but I digress, as fully recognize that no one feels sympathy for Patriots fans like me. I would just like to again state for the record, I am from Boston and therefore my fandom is legit and earned through decades of sucking… Alright now that we’ve cleared up the massive problems with daylight savings and sucking on Sunday night football.. Let’s get to a question, shall we?I get all types of questions -- but this one from Teague in Oregon stuck out to me this week:“Hey Brian, I suck at networking, can you help?”You know I respect the brevity of this request. There is no flattery, no sugar coating, just straight to it. And while I love it when people say “hey brian, you are awesome!” sometimes a good old “I suck can you help, really cuts through the BS.OK, so this is a big subject, this networking things here, and I don’t want to go on for hours and hours, so I’m going to focus this a bit. If you want more I have an entire course on networking as part of the Work In sports Academy… but for now, I’m going to go at this like I approach most things, I flip the conversation on its head. Let’s reverse engineer the heck out of this thing...and ask the question -- what makes someone become your friend?Does that seem to be a weird question to ask in regards to networking? Well, let’s think about this -- as I analyze my network of contacts, the only ones I would rely upon, disclose things about myself too, give deep time and effort to helping when asked… are those people I would consider more than just a connection, I’d call them a friend. So how do you build more industry friends? That is the key to networking - it is the depth of the relationship, not the number. So I’ve moved around a bit in my life, and I’ve figured out that it can be pretty hard to make friends when you get older. You have shared experiences. Shared schedules. We’re all on the same career status entry-level. Less responsibility. You can go out all night and not have to worry about things. It makes it pretty easy to connect with people.   But as you get older, it gets harder to break in with people. I left my cushy world in Atlanta to move to Seattle knowing no one. I’m 28, the new boss, and everyone you meet already has a circle of friends they’ve been hanging with for years. We don’t have shared experiences. We all have different job levels, more responsibilities, life is changing...and this tends to make people lean into the group they already have. Networking is the same damn thing as making new friends. Just connecting with someone. Or just engaging them in small talk at a conference. Or just liking their posts. Isn’t going to cut it. The person you do that with, isn’t going to stick their neck out for you next time you need a job, or need advice, or need a hand. Building a network is the creation of multiple mini friendships. Maybe not your tell them everything and complain about your spouse best friend, but it follows the same rhythm. In life, we aren’t trying to make 5,000 friends, we’re trying to make the right 20 friends.Networking is the same thing.  I have 6,536 connections on LinkedIn, I know very few of them. These people are opportunities to network, but they are not a network. They are lumps of relationship clay that I have done little to nothing with yet. Many people compare their network to the expectations they have in their heads. I don’t know the VP of the Red Sox so my network stinks! I need more high profile people in my network!