Why Politics, Religion, and Networking Don’t Mix
At Coach Landing, we highly recommend live in-person networking.
BNI (Business Networking International), LeTip, WIN (Women in Networking), WIB (Women in Business), your local Chamber of Commerce, Business Organizations, Merchant Groups, Rotary… the list goes on.
The reason for these groups is clear: Networking for business.
The purpose is to pass referrals/leads, learn about the businesses of others, and to build relationships. It’s not what some people would refer to as a “safe space” so much as it is a safe place to talk about business, leads, entrepreneurship, marketing partnerships, and business challenges outside of your normal social circles.
It’s not Thanksgiving Dinner with your drunk Uncle Ron going off about the things he’s angry about, most of which he probably heard on some talk radio station. People’s spirituality (or atheism) is their own business and has no place in business, unless your business is a Christian Book Store.
Even If Your Business Is Related To Politics or Religion — It Doesn’t Have a Place in Your Networking Group
Most networking groups have policies against discrimination and discourage talking about religion or politics.
There is one exception to the politics rule — local business regulations.
For example, there are government bills in the Portland Metro area and the State of Oregon right now that could affect CPAs, Payroll Companies, Mortgage Companies, Builders, Realtors, Commercial Realtors, etc. Making people aware of these bills, without taking a position, is the correct way to approach something like this. Make sure to consult your local networking group leadership ahead of time to ensure you are within the group’s guidelines.
The Devil is in The Details
You never know what religion someone else is. Many religions have opposing views on what is appropriate behavior for people, and can effect consumer behaviors, food consumption, scheduling, raising children, reading, and countless other things. You don’t want to offend someone and have them leave your group — or worse, offend someone and have them speak negatively about you in their social circles.
Think about your business reputation.
Think about your business being open for all, not just the people you agree with. Maybe people with certain beliefs aren’t your ideal customer — but a networking group is not the place to qualify these types of things.
Advertising the fact that you love a certain politician, especially in the USA, can isolate half the population. You don’t want to be marketing your business and disqualifying half your potential business before you get a chance to even talk to them.
So keep the Politics and Religion out of your networking groups. Save it for your Church Group or your Politics Action Committee.