The term "networking" has gotten a bum rap. I consistently ask professionals who come to workshops and speeches based on my book, Cracking the Networking CODE, to share with me what they think of when they hear the word networking. Far too often, they say it conjures up images of manipulative, self-serving, insincere and predatory individuals who are on the prowl for someone they can pounce on, try to sell something to, or solicit an unearned favor from.

I wish I could say this style of networking wasn't out there, but it is, and it is a waste of time for ineffective networkers and the unfortunate people they corner. True networking is not about arm-twisting. It is not about trying to get someone to do something that does not make sense for them to do. It is not about scary old backslapping sales shenanigans.

There is a big difference between meeting someone and building a priceless business relationship with them. Networking is not about chance meetings. Even if...