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Networking 101 – Why I Network

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Networking is a daily part of my life, in fact, I could not imagine how my life would be if I were not able to ‘network’! I am a ‘natural’ networker and it is at times excruciatingly difficult for me to understand that this is not the case with many people! How they ‘manage’ is beyond me, which is probably why I keep threatening to write a book which I will entitle ‘The Reluctant Entrepreneur!’ Most people burst into nervous laughter when I make this statement, I suspect because they never know what next to expect from me, but to illustrate my meaning, I would like to relate the following true story:

During the latter half of 2005, I was fortunate enough to attend a workshop that included Nadia Bilchik as the main speaker.

For those of you who can remember that far back, Nadia used to be an M-Net Anchor Lady during the 1980s and 90s, here in South Africa. My favorite memory of Nadia was her character in the “Crunchie” ad’s although she also appeared in several South African movies over the years.

The story goes (and this came from Nadia herself) that Nadia has always been a ‘people’s person’ who chatted easily with everyone with no thought of race, colour, social standing or, gender. A real networker! Nadia made friends where ever she went. During this time one of the people that Nadia always touched base with was the Security chap at M-Net. What possible reason would she have for doing that, you may wonder, but read on and find out!

In 1997, Nadia’s husband was to be relocated to Atlanta Georgia, in America and Nadia’s little world fell apart! Her whole support group of family and friends, who she had built up over the years were here in sunny South Africa and now she would have to move to an unknown part of the world, where she knew no-one! Not only that but being a ‘big fish in a little pond’, Nadia would be moving somewhere, where she was not known at all! Imagine if you will, her distress. Where would she work and how would she get into the kind of work that she was used to?

Nadia told anyone who cared to listen to her dilemma, including the security guard.

The security guard (let’s call him George), unbeknown to Nadia, had been on some or other course, with security guards from all over the world. Don’t ask what the course was …… I have no idea! Anyway, I digress – George had, during the course of his course, met a security guard from . . . . you’ve guessed it, Atlanta Georgia (let’s call this chap Mike) and not only was Mike from Atlanta Georgia, but he also worked at the CNN studios there! The rest, as they say, is history!

What happened was, that George contacted his buddy Mike and told him all about Nadia back here in South Africa. Mike promised to help. George got Nadia to do a videotape of herself in glorious technicolour and when Nadia got to Atlanta, Mike handed said tape to the people who count at the Studios there. Nadia landed herself a fat job and now has her own slot on CNN, all because Nadia was a friendly, natural Networker!

Powerful stuff wouldn’t you say – who would have thought!

Now because I have discovered that not everyone knows how to network, I have decided that I will be giving out some useful tips on the blog on Networking.

I recently had the privilege of meeting Helen Nicholson, the Guru of Networking. Helen has written a book entitled “Networking: The Unwritten Rule of Business you need to know”. Although I consider myself a ‘natural networker’, meeting Helen in person the other day for a chat and then reading her book, without pause, showed me that I too have a lot to learn!

I have my own signed copy of the book and strongly suggest that you get your own copy.