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Archive for the ‘Networking’ Category

My dad was in sales for years. I suspect that he is a born salesman. He wasn’t a disgruntled, down-on-his-luck, raggle-taggle salesman like Willy Loman. No, never, Dad was loaded with enthusiasm. He was energized, not just by the deal, but by the people he met along the way. You see, my dad is a people person. He is not only charming; he is completely genuine. Dad would never try to convince you that he’s interested in your story. He doesn’t have to; he really is interested in what you have to say.

No matter where he goes, Dad meets people. When we were little, he would roust us out of bed on winter Sunday mornings to get dressed, grab our skis and head to the mountain early. On the way to King Ridge, we would stop for the Sunday papers. We soon learned that if we let Dad disappear into the store to get the newspaper we would be stuck in the cold car for twenty minutes, or at least it seemed that long. As soon as he entered the building he would start talking to someone, anyone. It could have been an old friend or neighbor or the guy who built our house. It could have been a complete stranger. It didn’t matter. He always had at least a few words, more often several, for everyone. 

And he still does it. About six weeks ago, I picked Mom and Dad up at the airport. They are snowbirds and were just getting back to New Hampshire. With a few hugs, howdy-dos and a flourish of activity, we loaded suitcases and golf clubs into the car. As we turned onto 93 to head north, I got the lowdown on their seatmates. Since they change planes in Baltimore, they make not one but two new friends.

In the space of an hour or two, Dad can learn a lot about a person and their life story. From take-off to touch-down, he learns about spouses, current, past and future. He gets the scoop on children and grandchildren (most of his seatmates are fellow retirees). By the time the plane lands, he knows where they live now and where they used to live. Maybe it goes without saying, but he’ll also know where their children and grandchildren live. He’ll have the rundown on what they do or used to do, not to mention what their children do. Schools, hobbies, any special interests are all fair game. If it interests you, Dad is delighted to hear about it. Almost without exception, he describes his seatmates as very interesting.

Maybe you’ve sat next to him. He’s that nice white haired man. If you have, you know all about me, my brother and sister. And their families. You know that my brother sells stuff that Dad doesn’t understand but it has something to do with telecommunications or software or something. You know that my sister runs a wonderful nursery school. You found out that their spouses and children are as talented as they are good looking. You know that I used to work for a big computer company and now I write and cook. He probably told you that I used to be Joe Nye’s daughter but now he is Susan Nye’s father. He’s not only a charmer; he is a proud poppa.

Happy Father’s Day! ….. Love, Susie

 

Do you have a question? An idea, a few thoughts or an opinion you’d like to share? I’d love to hear from you! Let’s get a conversation going. To make a comment, just click on Comments below.

To subscribe to Susan Nye’s Other Blog just scroll back up, fill in your email address and click on the Sign Me Up button. You’ll get an email asking you to confirm your subscription … confirm and you will automatically receive new postings.

Feel free to visit my food blog Susan Nye – Around the Table or photo blog Susan Nye 365. Browse around my website for more than 200 recipes, links to magazine articles and lots more. I hope you will take a moment to learn about my philanthropic project Eat Well-Do Good. ©Susan W. Nye, 2010

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There is a lot of talk about networking these days. Whether you’re job hunting, looking for an apartment or just trying to find a great restaurant for a special celebration, having a strong network is key. The internet has helped create this networking explosion, connecting us to hundreds even thousands of people with sites like LinkedIn, FaceBook, Twitter and a whole bunch more. LinkedIn was proud to tell me today that through friends of friends and colleagues of colleagues, I have a network of more than five million people. If I invited them all, that would be one hell of a birthday party.

The notion of “six degrees of separation” intrigues me. It suggests that we are six steps or less away from every other person on earth. As a writer I like the idea that through a friend of a friend of a friend…, I can connect with an entrepreneur in Hong Kong, a farmer in Ireland or the chef at the best burger joint in New Hampshire.

Well that’s the theory. And like any theory, sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. Your first difficulty is to find the right people to connect the dots. Whether you want to work in the White House vegetable garden with the First Lady or ride with Lance Armstrong, the first link is out there in your circle of friends, colleagues and acquaintances. Unfortunately they aren’t wearing a nametag that says, I know someone who knows someone who knows someone who someone who knows someone who knows Mrs. Obama, Lance Armstrong or Kevin Bacon .

My friend Thea has a friend who went to Wellesley with Hillary Clinton who, as we all know, works for the President who is married to the First Lady who has probably met Lance Armstrong. Interesting, intriguing but what good is it? The challenge is to enlist the first and every subsequent link to help you meet the person you are trying to meet and solve the problem you’re trying to solve. Otherwise it’s nothing more than a party game.

The six degrees worked perfectly for the daughter of one of my college roommates a few weeks ago. After losing touch for a couple of decades I reconnected with my old friend in 2008. Laura and her family live on a farm near Geneva, New York. Sarah, that’s Laura’s daughter, has a two month internship in Geneva this summer and needs a place to live. However, the internship is in Geneva, Switzerland not Geneva, New York.

Laura and I lost touch about the time I left the country to live in Switzerland, just outside of Geneva. Laura contacted me with Sarah’s dilemma. I was happy to help my old friend’s daughter. After all, my life in Switzerland began with an eight week internship. As soon as I had an extra minute, I sent Laura the link to a Craig’s List look-alike for Geneva’s English-speaking community. Then I fired off an email to three friends, hoping that at least one of them would have the time, inclination and information to help Sarah.

My friend Suzanne was more than willing to help and responded immediately. Besides being a lovely person, Suzanne has a twenty-something year old daughter who is doing an internship in Singapore. Suzanne sent back an email with lots of information, websites and offers to make phone calls, lend towels and anything else Sarah might need. Then she put her feelers out and soon discovered that her boss had a room to rent.

Suzanne claims that it was pure luck; which it was and wasn’t. Sure it was a lucky coincidence that her boss had a room available. But if Suzanne had not been there to put two and two together, the room would have gone to someone else or sat empty for the summer. And if her boss had not had a room to rent? There is no doubt in my mind that Suzanne would have continued to spread the word of Sarah’s hunt for housing.

How long did all this take? A student from New York connected with and rented a room from a dentist four thousand miles away in Geneva, Switzerland in two weeks.

Happy networking!

Do you have a question? An idea, a few thoughts or an opinion you’d like to share? I’d love to hear from you! Let’s get a conversation going. To make a comment, just click on Comments below.

To subscribe to Susan Nye’s Other Blog just scroll back up, fill in your email address and click on the Sign Me Up button. You’ll get an email asking you to confirm your subscription … confirm and you will automatically receive new postings. 

Feel free to visit my food blog Susan Nye – Around the Table or photo blog Susan Nye 365. Browse around my website for more than 200 recipes, links to magazine articles and lots more. I hope you will take a moment to learn about my philanthropic project Eat Well-Do Good. ©Susan W. Nye, 2010

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