I received a lot of great feedback from yesterday’s post. That brought up a couple more things I’d like to share on this topic. And a couple more stories.
First, I think the talking is the most important thing that being networked is all about. You have to talk to people obviously to realize you are connected in some manner. That reminds me of Lowell. Several of our friends come out from Indianapolis to visit us each summer and we take trips in the surrounding area. Well two summers ago we were in Washington, DC doing an urban trekking (a whole other story) trip and had planned an Abraham Lincoln walking tour one evening. We were to meet a national park ranger at the foot of the Washington Monument for the start of the tour. So when we got there we met Lowell, the tour guide. This was open to the public and as others approached he would ask them where they were from. One family was from Romania and he gave them a greeting on Romanian. Another family was from Egypt and he greeted them in Arabic. I was thinking, this guy is good. He knows how to network and make people feel welcome. So then he got to us and asked us where we were from. We said Baltimore, but our friends were from Indianapolis. Lowell replied that he had a sister who went to college at Taylor University. Taylor is a small Christian liberal arts college about an hour north of Indy. My alma mater (Houghton College) is a lot like Taylor and so I got interested in his connections with our friends. So I asked Lowell where he went to college. He said it was a small liberal arts college in western New York that we probably hadn’t heard of. He said he was a Houghton grad. I replied with, “I’m from the class of ’72.” He replied with, “Class of ’75.” We’d been at Houghton at the same time. The next two hours was a great time talking about people we knew in common and sharing Houghton stories. So see, you don’t have to read a lot, just talk to people and see where the connections are.
Second, reading does help, but you don’t have to read a whole book like I mentioned yesterday. Start by reading the paper — or news on the web — and then talk with people. One morning I read an article about how the Moroccan national soccer team had a new coach from France. I stopped by a gas station later in the day and while talking to the guy behind the counter realized he wasn’t from the US so asked him where he was from originally. He replied with, “Morocco.” I stated that it was interesting that Morocco had a new French coach. He was up on his soccer and told me what he thought of the guy and their chances to do better in international competition. I stopped by a number of times after that and we had good discussions about Morocco, religion and personal issues. It all started because I had read an article one morning about the Moroccan national soccer team.
One last thing. You may have been a little uncomfortable reading that I asked some one where they came from originally. Do you know us Americans are the only ones in the world — there may be a couple of other countries — who don’t like doing that. We think it’s rude or something like that. I was listening to some one from Pakistan being interviewed on the radio one time marvelling at the fact that us Yanks don’t do that — ask people where they are from. He said people from other countries enjoy sharing with us where they are from and something about their families and work. He was encouraging Americans to ask. People will gladly share their stories and countries of origin with us.
So don’t forget — read and talk — who knows what may happen!
Well that’s this leader’s view.