Are Networking Groups Too Persuasive?

Networking groups are successful because they use the six principles of persuasion.

  1. Reciprocity: One of the first rules of networking, in groups or otherwise, is to help first. Reciprocity is a fundamental principle of all networking.
  2. Scarcity: Many groups only allow one person to represent each occupation. Some have membership fees and some have other membership requirements. Membership is only available to those that qualify for the group.
  3. Authority: Group members are always vouching for each other. When the group allows only one representative of each occupation, that person is automatically group’s expert.
  4. Consistency: Members have to commit to showing up at meetings, to helping other members and to participating in the operation of the group.
  5. Liking: New members have to be accepted by the existing members. They meet regularly in a social context and, by joining the group, share the same values.
  6. Consensus: The actions and behaviours of the group are the reason for the group’s existence and the membership rules enforce those actions and behaviours.

The relationship in networking groups is profitable for members. Belonging is seductive because of the persuasion principles but open networking is more profitable because it leads to more opportunities and better options.

Networking groups that use the scarcity principle are too persuasive. It gives authority through membership and limits the network. The scarcity principle makes the group ripe for abuse by those who control the membership and the limitations on the network go against the principle of networking.