From Where I Sit – Networking 101

As I began pondering what I would write about this week I received an email. That email just saved me from having to write about doing our income tax and you having to read about it.

Or maybe I would have written about a book I just finished reading. It’s called Creating Sacred Space with Feng Shui by Karen Kingston. It focuses on what the author calls space clearing: a process of de-cluttering, cleansing, and consecrating our homes. Stay tuned for an upcoming column after I put the theory into practice. The impending community garage sale should help with the purging aspect.

Then again maybe I could confess I’m a terrible typist. I was teacher’s pet in Typing 10 many moons ago so I got a very good mark without actually knowing my stuff. Huge mistake. Moral of the story: there is no free lunch.

A week or two ago I purchased Mavis Beacon Teaches Typing deluxe software in a last-ditch effort to boost my speed and accuracy and add to my skill set. Her encouraging words, tracking, practice sessions, and games are paying off I think, but I have a helluva way to go yet.

Instead of writing about those things, the email prompted me to write about meeting people and the fine art of networking. Last weekend I was enroled in a class at a college in Edmonton. Upon completion of all eight sessions I will earn a Special Events Management certificate. I love the subject matter. This is a great way to add the theoretical to the practical, hands-on experience I already have.

I didn’t know a soul in the class of 34 and many of them had taken several sessions together previously. The weekend centred around several group exercises, so the six people at our table were forced to work together.

It soon became apparent that we had a very pushy know-it-all in our group. Despite repeated attempts by at least five of us to provide input Lisa always prevailed. She bullied her answers onto the flip-chart paper. I wonder if this smart girl noticed that by day two, no one but her was talking anymore. I know there are one or more Lisas in every crowd. That’s real life. I also know my threshold for bullshit isn’t what it once was.

The delightful bonus to the course content and handouts was meeting Bonny. We clicked. We seem to have things and attitudes and beliefs in common. I suggested we exchange business cards and silently promised myself I would make the first follow-up contact. She beat me to it. We have one more class together in a couple of weeks and I’m looking forward to seeing her again. I hope her enthusiasm and energy level rub off on me.

It was her email that reminded me it doesn’t take much effort to stay in touch. I’ve let far too many of these fleeting moments of connection slip away and die because of lack of attention and follow-up. It’s not happening again, from where I sit.