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Networking 101 – Often less is more

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Dr Renate Volpe, in her nugget cards entitled “Networking Tips” says:

“Often less is more. Don’t overload people with information. Keep it simple!”

Aah! This is absolute music to my ears! I seem to run around like a mad person telling people to keep things simple – simple procedures, simple English, simple, simple, simple!

In days gone by when I still worked in the corporate world, I remember everyone in absolute hysterics with me, when during a senior management meeting, in absolute frustration I blurted out “We should have a sign made that says, Our new mission statement is ‘Why simplify things when we can make them as difficult as we possibly can!”

I mean think about it for a moment – we wouldn’t travel from Johannesburg to Durban, via Cape Town – now would we? (Well I suppose some bright sparks would!) Yet somehow we persist in doing things the hard way, making it difficult for ourselves.

I am sure we have all heard the words “It can’t be that simple – can it?” Well actually people – it is and it can be.

So make notes for your “elevator speech” and again for a bit of a longer introduction. Make sure that your information is clear, that the sentences flow into each other and that they actually make sense. Keep it as short as possible – the longer discussions should take place on a “one on one” basis. Make sure that the message you are trying to get across is understandable. Remember you know (we hope that you should know) intimately what you do and you carry that picture in your head. What you are trying to do is put that picture into as few words as possible and hope that as you say those words, the picture that you have in your head will magically appear in the heads of the people around you. Be clear and careful about this, there are a few people who I have seen and heard at networking meetings over the last ten years, and I still have no idea about what it is that they do – their messages are really very complicated and unclear!

Now herein lies the challenge – how do I refer someone, when I am absolutely confused about what it is that they do!

So here it is:
Be clear
Be concise
Keep it short
Keep it simple.

Happy networking!

For more information on Renate, please visit her website at