Relationship Building vs. Networking: 3 Ways To Avoid Falling In The Runyon Canyon



Make way for brothering, sistering, and familying….

Living in LA, I hate the word “networking.”

Situated up in the Santa Monica Mountains is this park called Runyon Canyon in Los Angeles, CA. So many people hike in this park, it’s labeled a “scene.” It’s where you go when you want to be noticed. Not that everyone is there to be seen, but there are so many people out here trying to make it in entertainment, they will literally parade themselves around with the most inauthentic cool act. Have you ever walked into a “scene’? Yeah, super awkward.

Struggling actors have a tough time out here when they are only obsessed with fame. There’s a lot of clawing and backstabbing, trying to get to the next level in the industry, even if it’s miles from the top. My agent/manager friends have a hard time trusting because so many people only want to know them so they can ask for representation.

The concept of networking is, “You have something I want, so I want to get to know you.” It’s made a stain, it’s made people bitter, and it’s corrupted relationships because it’s self-centered. I walked into a huge bible study out here and E! News Correspondent Jason Kennedy welcomed everyone and said, “Please, no networking here.”

When I was in college, I joined a fraternity, and it was much more than an organization, it was a brotherhood. Just like any big group, it’s difficult to get to know everyone super well, but I remember hearing something from a brother that’s stood out to this day. He said in reference to another brother, “We’re not great friends, but he’s my brother. If his car broke down two hours away, and he needed a ride, I would be there for him.”

Do you see the difference between networking and a brotherhood? One is about receiving and the other is about serving. A brother will happily be inconvenienced for the sake of being there to help. It creates a space for authenticity, true relationships, and even personal growth.

What are 3 easy ways to shift from networking to relationship building?

  1. Instead of asking for a business card, ask, “What can I do to help?”
  2. Instead of asking, “What do you do?” ask, “What are your passions?”
  3. Instead of putting on your happy networking face, just be real.

The truth is, the best opportunities come through relationships, not networking. Trust is developed through relationships. Family wins. As unfair as it may seem, the job, the promotion, the sale, and the prize will usually go to a trusted confidant over a stranger. LA is a big city, and yet there are so many lonely people here. I’m extremely grateful to have an amazing group of friends who have become my West coast family. What are you doing to develop family?

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5 Responses to Relationship Building vs. Networking: 3 Ways To Avoid Falling In The Runyon Canyon

  1. Jarid March 21, 2014 at 4:01 pm #

    This is how I work in our Public Relations department
    I dig the article once again buddy:)

    6 months today by the way!


    • Kris Wolfe March 23, 2014 at 6:22 am #

      Congrats Jarid! I was just talking about you to one of my buddies today. Your story inspired him, and I want to show him some of your music too!

  2. Boodie March 21, 2014 at 5:10 pm #

    Just Be You


  3. Nathan March 24, 2014 at 10:38 pm #

    Love this. I’ve led several talks lately where I’ve used this exact language — “intentional relationship building” as opposed to “networking.” Great stuff man!

  4. Jarid March 26, 2014 at 8:00 pm #

    Thanks Kris, I appreciate the word of encouragement!

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