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Investment needed in networking education – from a discussion……………

June 1, 2012

Full article here Investment needed in networking education – | Business Education

Students are missing out on opportunities for professional and personal development that would span a lifetime

By Shawn O’Connor

Richard Hussey

Richard Hussey • Interesting article Sean. To what extent do you think people can learn how to network when it doesn’t come naturally? Some people were born to network while others

Sabrina Simpson

Sabrina Simpson • I agree it is an interesting article, and to your point, Richard, I think people can learn how to network in the way that best suits their character, which may be different to the ‘normal’ way. In addition to focused networking activities with a clear agenda, which for some is a terrifying prospect, it is good to remember that a relationship with potential benefits to work can be created from a conversation at the market, at a friend’s dinner party, or at the gym. And for some, thinking about these low-risk conversations as another form of networking makes it easier to try to have similar conversations in more formal network-focused settings. At least that is one way to deal with having networking ‘thrust upon them’…

Sean Humby

Sean Humby • Thank you for your comments! When I read this article originally I thought the same as you. And then I thought that perhaps there is too much emphasis put on the word networking – after all it is about building relationships through conversation and talking is something that we can all do. “Building relationships through conversation” obviously doesn’t roll off the tongue like networking!

There is a great book written by Tim Heald – called Networks and he writes about the OBN (Old Boy Network), the London Clubs, the regiments, the prisons – quite a variety of educational opportunities! Seriously though we are all ‘networking’ from an early age – we just don’t know the value of those early conversations so perhaps the education should start early – never to dismiss a friendship or the opportunity for one – or is this just too grown up?

Some people are perhaps not great talkers but those that are should help others by asking the questions that get others talking. The people who are not natural networkers can gain an awful lot by asking the questions that get others talking. There was some research carried out – on a flight the researcher booked the middle seat on numerous trips. He/she was consequently sat between 2 people and during the flight embarked on conversations with the people either side – this was done by asking questions – he/she learnt a huge amount about the people. On arrival the people who sat either side of the researcher were asked a number of questions – how was the flight, what about the other passengers – a vast percentage of people when asked this said that they had sat with a really interesting person who was very friendly. When they were asked for some details on the ‘researcher’ like name, occupation etc they could not answer with very much detail. Because they had been doing the talking they felt comfortable, relaxed and at ease so conversation was easy – or should I say the answering of questions was. – I haven’t sourced this so it could be hearsay but I doubt it – which showed that the people who ask the questions are seen to be great companions/connections/listeners.

Going back to conversations – at the end of the Taunton event yesterday I was in conversation with a member and he was telling me – just like Sabrina mentioned – that regular conversations at the gym had led to some potentially substantial business!

 What do you think? – Feel free to add your comments to the FT!

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