What if Burton hadn’t met Taylor, and Ben hadn’t met Jerry?
Last Thursday evening I attended my first official engagement for the Scottish Government, the Marketing Society’s St Andrew’s Day Dinner. As well as discovering that we share our patron saint with Barbados, Ukraine, Greece and Cyprus (a fact that helped our team win the Quiz of the Year), I also got to thinking about the importance of networking.
It’s always lovely to bump into old friends and well-kent faces, but social events like these are an invaluable opportunity to get away from your desk and actually speak to people. As a new Twitter devotee, and committed Facebook fan, I love the speed and reach of social media, but sometimes there’s nothing like a good old fashioned chat.
Merriam-Webster’s dictionary defines networking as: “the exchange of information or services among individuals, groups, or institutions; specifically: the cultivation of productive relationships for employment or business.” It strikes me that ‘productive relationships’ can only truly flourish if we feed them with care, conversation and a shared goal.
Just imagine where Ben would be without Jerry (I’d miss their ice-cream). If Thomas Edison hadn’t met J.P. Morgan our homes wouldn’t be bright with electric light, and if Coco Chanel hadn’t teamed up with Pierre Wertheimer in 1924 her Chanel No. 5 wouldn’t have become one of the best-selling perfumes in history. All of those partnerships brought the world innovation, brilliance and lasting impact. Sadly, while Mr Burton and Ms Taylor’s pairing burned bright, it burned out, and failed to bring them lasting happiness. However, they did make some fabulous films. Cleopatra anyone?*
So, I can’t promise that networking will bring you a Hollywood romance, but at the very least you might meet a like-minded person and forge a productive business relationship. Try swapping Facebook for face-to-face. You never know, you might like it.
* The inspiration behind the name of my first cat. She had ideas of grandeur, and it was all my fault.