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Networking: The NON-Spreadsheet Activity

Susan RoAne

Somehow a falsehood has been spread about networking…that it is a quantifiable process that one can tally. NO, it is not now nor never has been ---a science. Although there are academics who study social networks who are mathematicians, behaviorists and even physicists, the reality is that day to day treatment of others, support and exchanges we call networking are an ART… the art of communication.

Those who come from analytical backgrounds seem to want to configure, debit, credit and they miss the ARTFUL aspect of the process that was once known as ‘helping’.

Susan RoAne
We can track the history of a ‘lead’ as I did when asked how I was hired to speak for Lockheed and realized it all started 13 years earlier in a ballroom at the Bonaventure Hotel in Los Angeles. But that tracing of the steps does not belong on a spreadsheet in EXCEL. All I can say is that those who are the best of networkers treat are smart and savvy in the manner with which they treat others. And they do the right thing…without being reminded.
During a conversation with an award winning short story writer, she mentioned that she was in a quandary about her literary agent. The comments she made were all valid but there was one that had a greater impact. “The agent knew my mother was dying. She died and six months later my brother died and I never received a phone call nor a card.”

She was talking about a very successful agent whose treatment of authors has always been in question but her prowess as an agent encouraged authors to look the other way. My rhetorical question to this writer: “ Do you want to be represented by someone who would know of your loss and never make the time to acknowledge it?”

Smart agent…yes and NO. She didn’t have the sympathy nor empathy nor basically give a fig about this author and her loss. NOT communicating spoke volumes. The smart, savvy networker is one who is connected to the people in their networks… not just what those people can do to help them. Networking is part ‘milk of human kindness’ and I am afraid we have people whose behaviors …‘under the guise ‘ of networking… are not only lactose intolerant… but blatantly intolerable.

©RoAne 2004

Susan RoAne is an in-demand keynote speaker and best-selling author who has worked conventions, trade shows, meetings and the bleachers of Wrigley Field. Among her best-selling books are How To Work A Room®, The Secrets of Savvy Networking and What Do I Say Next?
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