What if your approach to networking is all wrong? Everyone is trying to grow their network when they should be trying to strengthen it. Playing the networking game by having a cup of coffee with everyone has fatal flaws. You might be able to expand your network this way but it's hard to strengthen it this way. When you jump from one coffee date to another, you end up with less time to spend on doing whatever it is that you're trying to be legendary at. 

Less time spent acting on ideas and skills means less stuff getting done and less skill being developed. Less stuff getting done and less skill development means less good work to be recognized. You see where this is headed? More names and numbers in your phone contact list isn't necessarily indicative of a strong network. Network strength comes when people start recognizing your consistent and impressive work and they start reaching out to you for coffee dates. 

I'm not saying coffee networking dates are a waste of time, but I am saying to beware of making that your primary networking strategy. If you're doing great things the right way people will find you. Let your work do the talking instead of always trying to tell people about your work over coffee. You'll end up with a much stronger network this way.

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Tim DiFrancesco, PT, DPT, ATC, CSCS is the Head Strength & Conditioning Coach of the Los Angeles Lakers and founder of TD Athletes Edge.  He is nationally renowned for his evidence-based and scientific approach to fitness, training, nutrition, and recovery for athletes and fitness enthusiasts.

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