What Is Networking?

Networking is a reciprocal process in which you share ideas, leads, information, advice, brainstorming, laughter -- and sometimes tickets to a ball game.

The best networkers have savvy, common sense. It's not a work style, it's a lifestyle. Some of the bestnetworkers don't even know they're networking. They're just out there sharing ideas, sharing themselves.

Who Are the Power People?

The most powerful people aren't necessarily those with the biggest titles but rather those with the biggestRolodexes. Our power comes when we can pick up the phone and make things happen for people.

What will make you a powerful networker? Before attending any event or conference, it's important to plan ahead by practicing a nine-second self-introduction and reading newspapers and trade journals. When you discover that you have something in common with another person, it becomes a totally different conversation and connection.

Decide, "What am I going there for?" Plan your route around the room. For 90% of conferences, you can buythe tapes and sit by yourself and listen. What's the point of attending? To meet and connect with other like-minded people.

Even if you're satisfied with your current position, nobody's job is etched in stone. Having a network canbe your safety net.

If you want to join a group's conversation, stand on the periphery. When someone nods your way, movein and introduce yourself. But don't change the conversation to suit your agenda.

Make contacts, make friends. Have a good time!

More Timely Tips


  • Initiate conversation with attendees, exhibitors, sponsors, and speakers.
  • Treat spouses with grace, interest, and respect (yours and theirs).
  • Have a meeting plan, whether you are an exhibitor or an attendee.


  • Overindulge in liquor at meals, hospitality suites, or after hours.
  • Presume that the hospitality party is purely a social event.
  • Forget to follow up.

And you will connect, converse, and create a network of colleagues, clients, coworkers, and friends!

Susan RoAne, a nationally recognized speaker on topics including networking and conversation strategies, is the best-selling author of How to Work a Room: The Secrets of Savvy Networking and What Do I Say Next? Susan RoAne and the RoAne Group may be contacted at 415-239-2224 or via www.susanroane.com.

Copyright © 2000 Susan RoAne