Barriers to Networking

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  • 0:03 Networking
  • 1:10 Barriers to Networking
  • 4:05 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Allison Tanner

Allison has a Masters of Arts in Political Science

Barriers to networking can prevent you from forming important business relationships. In this lesson, we'll discuss the barriers to networking, including a lack of confidence and the fear of asking questions, returning favors, and over-sharing.


As you prepare to register for an upcoming convention, your stomach turns to knots. Macy, your colleague, is excited to go, and she says there will be so many opportunities to network and meet new people.

Her enthusiastic words don't help you at all; in fact, they make you want to go to the convention even less. Why is that? What is preventing you from enjoying the many benefits of networking? You know it's important to network, or develop relationships with other professionals that you can exchange information with. Networking can help you to gain knowledge of your industry, meet prospective employers, and develop strong partnerships with other organizations.

So, why do you freeze up every time you think about going to a conference? Why can't you just get out there and talk to people? There are many reasons why you might be stuck, and the feelings that are preventing you from networking are known as barriers to networking. They include a lack of confidence, failure to ask questions or for help, and fear of not being able to return favors or over-sharing.

Barriers to Networking


Let's start with confidence. Talking to strangers can be really tough, and talking to strangers who may hold high-level business positions is even more difficult. As you think about this, you realize what is holding you back is a lack of confidence. Sometimes you feel awkward and you don't know what to discuss. This makes you nervous, and occasionally you accidentally say things you wouldn't normally discuss in a business relationship.

Confidence, self-esteem, and personal skills are all really important to networking. Without the ability to connect or the belief that you're knowledgeable enough to talk to other professionals, you'll struggle to network. Macy's confidence and willingness to ask questions when she doesn't know something may be helping her to network. For example, she asks about the industry and past experiences; she even asks for advice. Her actions help you realize that it's occasionally hard to network because you aren't willing to ask questions. When you ask questions you learn more about the person you are engaging with and valuable information about your industry.

Returning Favors

Let's move on to returning favors. Standing in the convention center, you see a number of top professionals in your industry. You imagine asking them to connect with people who may be interested in your resume, but then you hesitate. It would be really nice if they could help you, but you aren't going to be able to help them back.

You may have difficulty networking because you are worried you cannot return favors that you ask of people in the industry. At this point, Macy comes over to talk with you. You share your concern and are instantly relieved by her answer: 'You don't have to help them today. Someday, when you have more experience, you will be able to return the favor by doing the same for another young professional as these people are doing for you.'

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