“Cross Purposes”

Networking is a catchy word. I believe it’s also a necessarily vague one that is used to describe an ill-defined work-centred social activity that few people admit to enjoying and even fewer can agree a simple definition for. In my experience it often conjures up images of situations in which we need to be simultaneously talented, fascinating, highly skilled and admired by others – often to an unrealistic degree – so it’s little wonder few people think they are much good at it. Equally, it can be characterised as a focussed episode of insincerity, manipulation and forced extraversion delivered in a calculated manner and set within a false environment. Either way many of us expect little from these opportunities and often have our expectations met.

But if we consider what these social activities actually are and how we might make them less painful and more productive, our lives – at least in a networking context – might improve. So forget about the word, and instead think about “meeting strangers with a common interest and having some things up your sleeve to help you engage them in a pleasant and possibly useful conversation.” I realise that this description doesn’t exactly trip off the tongue, but I argue that it’s a more accurate description of the activity that we are often expected to engage in, and it’s more likely to help us get a result we think worthwhile.

In fact, I assert that the ability to network effectively can be amongst the most productive and powerful components of a career.

Cross Purposes is a light-hearted and interactive three-hour workshop that explores networking by ignoring unrealistic objectives and focussing instead on the human behaviours that support it: curiosity, interaction, disclosure and engagement among others.

Networking is a social activity with a business mindset, and our typical day-to-day behaviours are more than enough to support us in our natural desire for inclusion when it comes to being an active part of a reciprocal and interconnected group, provided we can see the wood for the trees.

This course seeks to challenge participants to distinguish for themselves between the baby and the bathwater, and challenge themselves to build a framework through disclosure, experiences and discussion to better describe and exploit their relationship with this natural activity.

Cross Purposes is a light-hearted and fast-paced course that has a deeper purpose: to confront and examine the awkwardness that causes many people’s dislike of attending professional networking events, and chart a course through calmer waters.


"Piero is an incredible speaker and created such a nice atmosphere in the room. He got us talking to people we hadn't spoken to much, and I felt that all the exercises got people thinking about different working styles and personalities. I have done workshops like this before, but this was by far the best one I've ever done."


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