Networking

‘Please come down this weekend, I really need you here’ pleaded my son, ‘but I’m going out the moment you step into the house and return only after 4 or 5 hours’. I’d laughed when he said that, but understood what it meant the moment I stepped into our apartment in Mangalore.

The house looked uninhabited or rather abandoned! Both the kids, who occupy it, were with us in Bangalore for the last month. The house was in a mess and it was created just before they left for Bangalore. Empty coke and water bottles strewn all over, unwashed clothes dumped on the bed, books and empty boxes of Pizza on the floor, some dried oranges on the table and smelly socks in dirty shoes inside the kitchen… Took us, me & my maid, nearly 4 hours to clean the mess and get the house in order. By the end of it I had decided, I’ll let it pass this one time. The next time they do it, they’ll be thrown into the nearest paying guest accommodation.

After a bath and a hot lunch, as I settled down for a nap with Malcolm gladwell’s ‘Outliers’, I felt normalcy returning.

I was reading about a little town named Roseto in Pennsylvania which had an amazing social life which reduced the incident of heart decease. The town enjoyed hearty calorie rich meals and didn’t have heart disease until the age of sixty-five!

Stewart Wolfe a physician and a professor at the medical school at the University of Oklahoma started an investigation in the year 1961. The doctor had bought a farm in the Poconos as a summer retreat and during a chat with a local doctor learnt that heart disease was very less prevalent in Roseto.  This led the good doctor to start the study and the learning’s were significant. It showed the mysterious and magical power of social network.

While most of us realize the importance of strong relationships, few of us try to establish them.  Some of us have to work hard  it, while some have a natural affinity for it. It’s an art and a fun thing to do.

I have been networking for some time and have learnt that it takes time and effort to build strong relationships. Networking will not bring early gains. But in the long run, it will be the one activity that will have a lasting impact on our life.

Keeping in constant touch is the key to cultivating deeper relationships, so it helps when we call and have a conversation with our friends and relatives. Best is to find reasons to meet. The bonds are strengthened when we offer to help when necessary, without expecting anything in return.

A good book to read could be ‘Never Eat Alone’, by Keith Ferrazzi, he advocates using every meal as a touch point. Since one HAS to have lunch, that time can be used to deepen a relationship with a client, potential client, a vendor or a friend.

Villages are good examples of social networking and community support system. Especially in rural India, being a part of the society or community has always been considered important. Recently I had attended our village temple festival, after many years…and saw the whole village participating in the festival. But in a city we may never see our neighbour for a couple of days or weeks.

Widening our social circle gets us all sorts of benefits! I have friends who are trainers and coaches’, one is an IT consultant and another, who is a tattoo artist! A dear friend used to call me ‘Network Mangal’ 🙂

As I dozed off I decided that networking had added to my life in many ways and made it more fun.

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