Ming the Mechanic:
Networking

The NewsLog of Flemming Funch
 Networking2003-08-15 18:04
29 comments
picture by Flemming Funch

So, now that I'm looking for new business opportunities, I'm naturally finding myself networking more. Despite often calling myself a networker, I don't really network very much. I know a lot of people, but I don't particularly deliberately work my personal network, or try to expand it. Which is probably stupid. A network is most valuable when it is already there when you need it. And you need to cultivate it. Check in with people, find out where they're at. Be Interested. Look for opportunities to link things up, supply something somebody else needs, keep them informed about what you need, be a valuable ally to them.

See The Networking Game for some simple rules of networking.

Oh, I do seem to have friends, and I'm quite available and helpful. But the thing I don't do so much is to work my relations deliberately and strategically. Which I maybe should change.

I have been more focused on how I might help others network that I've often overlooked helping myself. I'm quite dedicated to providing facilities and opportunities for other people to find each other, connect, work together, etc. But I've often been so busy with that that I haven't done much of it myself. So I sometimes don't really know who I know, and I sometimes don't keep connections alive.

I ironically feel a little silly about calling people up on the phone just to hear how they're doing. Some people are very good at that. But me, despite being considered a skilled communicator in other areas, I either just don't do it, or I don't know how. When I try, very rarely, the person at the other end will very quickly get around to saying "What do you want? What are you calling for?" and I don't have a good answer. Maybe it is because I usually don't call without a specific reason, so people assume that I must always have one.

Online it is considerably easier. The threshold is much lower, and in many cases you don't need much of a reason to communicate with somebody. You can leave comments in their blog, sign their guestbook, add them to your contact list. And none of that requires much of an official reason, other than that you might share some interest or the other.

One of the online networks other than my own that I've recently explored is Ryze. It has a considerable momentum and lots of people I know are already in it. Its features are relatively simple, but well thought out, and it does what it does well. I found a couple of new contacts in Toulouse, and so far those have been fruitful connections. My page is here.

Another one is LinkedIn. A little harder to figure out, but has a high caliber of people that it might otherwise be difficult to get access to. More directly oriented towards serious business connections.

Those are business network. I'm also on networks like Friendster, although I don't know what to do with it. Maybe I'm too old to understand what one does there other than to look for dates or promote one's garage band or something.

And then there's Friendly Favors, which I just notice has changed its umbrella name to Living Directory Network. Lots of people I know in there, and it is large, but I haven't quite figured out how to make it useful for networking with people I don't already know.

Let me know if you need an invitation from me for any of these.

One thing I learned today from my new friend Lionel who is a management consultant is that in a place like Toulouse a lot of business is done based on people already being part of the same network. I.e. you're a freemason or in a Rotary club or in the same rugby club or something, and you do business with the people you meet there. You don't just easily do business with strangers. I did have some idea of that, and it is part of the high-context mediterranean culture.

Networking seems to be unavoidable at this point.


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29 comments

15 Aug 2003 @ 19:39 by Jon Husband @209.148.233.142 : Artful Networking
I, like you, don't network "strategically" - and each time I think I should, or gird my loins to do so, my inner whatever feels funny. I like the point that you made about people catching on quickly, and then asking "what do you want".

Maybe this is all part of that trusting - that "que sera, sera". Maybe it's best to say "I'm networking 'cause I'm in new territory and I need work, friends, connection, a sense of who I am in a new place, and so on." Maybe you also keep on being who you are, and doing what you do, giving without asking because that's flush with your core values - and maybe, probably the rest will take care of itself ?

Patience, and breathe - life is a network.  



15 Aug 2003 @ 19:46 by Jon Husband @209.148.233.142 : One More Thought
I know that you know this, and sre doing it - but probably the best way you can add to the momentum behind whatever you do, is to learn French as quickly as possible.

I moved to Montreal, Quebec in 1986 and set about learning French. I deliberately went to live in an all-French part of the city -each time I went out and interacted - at the convenience store, the post office, the dry cleaners, wherever, I spoke my halting, English-accented French. Being Montreal, more often than not the people I was speaking to responded in English, and...I just kept going on in French. They very quickly got the picture, began helping me correct my French, and the barriers between us melted very quickly, as I think we then connected on a human being to human being level.

The net(work) result - I learned French quite quickly (now speak it without English accent) and my network in the neighbourhood, and my integration, happened quite quickly.  



16 Aug 2003 @ 03:56 by istvan : Libra is whal Libra does.
Perhaps it is all in your "Astrology"  


17 Aug 2003 @ 00:51 by vibrani : Planning
After reading the travels of the family Ming, I have had many ideas on how the present situation could have been avoided. It has to do with seeing the larger picture and proper planning.

For instance, first, not selling one's house (if possible) but putting it up for a year's lease, put your important possessions into storage, and trial the French experience. If it works, then sell the house and collect your goods and ship them off to France.

Second, get a signed contract from your current employer for the next year or two guaranteeing your position and income and benefits. If you are valuable to the company, they wouldn't hesitate to do this and might even expand their overseas business. Why go off to a new country without that kind of security, and putting all of your eggs in one basket?

Third, checking employment ops, and a variety of other things, in France before moving.

Fourth, family helping out. Two of your oldest children can work part time, and your wife can work while your youngest is in school/day care, no? Everyone can help out. This isn't new or old civilization, it's survival. Is there some reason that this fourth option has never been brought up by you, Flemming?

Last, maybe it will open up some other avenues for participation, such as online networks such as refriedbeans, that can help all people, especially those who might be in Ming's position today.

Yes, it will be interesting how you fashion your future, and I do believe this experience was created by you for you to understand some of these issues. As a programmer, one has to take steps and see the larger, wholistic picture in their planning.  



17 Aug 2003 @ 11:28 by Tlingel @216.244.19.151 : "Pourquoi les appeler, sot ?
... eux qui vont vers le pays des palmes,
Crois-tu que ton fumier ait pour eux des appas?

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17 Aug 2003 @ 19:07 by ming : Preparedness
There are many things one probably could or should have done to be safe and comfortable. One could have savings, one could have a house to sell, and sell it with a profit. One could be safely employed and actually have a contract, and one could have saved up for one's retirement. If I had gone for safe, I'd probably have stayed in Denmark and finished college and gotten a good job. I'm not in any way against being safe and making good planning. But I'll sometimes pick an exciting adventure into the unknown over trying to maintain what is familiar. Particularly when I feel the calling to do so. I'll plan it as well as I can, but I'm rarely in a position where it is all safe. For many people it would be a horrifying thought to move to another country without $100K in the bank and a signed employment contract, and it would be stupid to do what I do. I'm not very good at being a solid and safe middle-class person. I'm not sure the world is in a state where it is reasonable to expect life-long security anyway.

I prefer working on discovering the best options in the moment. Right now that appears to be along the lines of networking with people I resonate with, learning French, and the ways of the French, and being open to something new. I expect to find nuggets of gold in places I didn't expect to look, and I expect I'll end up in a better place than I would if I had stayed with the safe choices, or waited until all lights were green. Yes, maybe I'll also learn to do things in more secure ways, I don't know.  



18 Aug 2003 @ 07:40 by martha : good for you ming
Safe choices and maintaining the familiar isn't for me either. Nothing is safe in our world. The rest of my family worry about me and I keep telling them that worry doesn't accomplish anything. But since I broke from the familiar and safe all they can think about is getting me back to some "safe" life, whatever the heck that means. LOL  


18 Aug 2003 @ 15:58 by JEWELS @62.241.187.50 : The magic gets lost
I see the current SITUATION as so EXCITING and BLESSED ... lately I've had the opportunity to witness how non-healed inner-patriarchial ideas can just deaden the adventurous spirit in my own life. No way, Jose'. I think the situation that Ming is in, has to do with him embracing the Life he has to Be. There's no situation other than that. The other ideas of 'could/shoulds/ would-haves...'... well, absolutely silly. He did a whole lot of planning, reading, crashed courses on French books, etc... AND he followed his instincts, his family stuck behind him and Here they Are! Ahs, sigh. The lenses we all chose to Perceive life is interesting indeed. I see it as adventure, another sees it as some sort of problem. Sheeze. I don't see it as hap-hazzard either. I see it as organic, authentic, intelligent, and convergent. bravo my brother.  


19 Aug 2003 @ 03:26 by jstarrs : Fascinating, Ming..
..I'm finding myself approaching this point - my present job looks like folding and I'll have to look around, using my competences, to hitch up somehing else.
I was thinking in terms of something like an intermediate between english & french speaking groups, communications etc. The search begins!  



19 Aug 2003 @ 06:39 by martha : change
All this changing most of us are going through can be challenging. I'm getting better at it but a certain amount of unsettledness seems to be a way of life. hahaha (like we don't already know that)  


19 Aug 2003 @ 16:41 by Joyce @195.215.227.155 : Networking-beyond
-BEYOND our PAY-OFF allways is GRACE OF GOD.-reminding TO ULO USE could it be about "TO-Uniting-LOve-USE" in yours bold adventure? - Er du til BEKRÆFTELSER? Så er her et forslag: AS-IF: "Jeg HAR et VIDUNDERLIGT ARBEJDE-PÅ EN VIDUNDERLIG MÅDE, OG JEG YDER EN VIDUNDERLIG SERVICE - TIL EN VIDUNDERLIG BETALING!" ... GODT! AT DU LYTTER TIL DINE INDRE ANVISNINGER ... hvad med "FLOW"'et? - la' det ikke glemme dig- vel!? :-))Hugs ad lib to you precious bunch funch of "trekking-ANGLES" toward the 5'dimension -in spirit- CHEERS!!!!! from us.  


26 Aug 2003 @ 00:52 by rainbowfish : A suggestion for Jeff
There seems to be something of a mass exodus from the UK to France at the moment. (We are at the stage of seriously considering it ourselves). I think something that would be very useful to people in our position would be to have a point of contact in France. Someone who can advise and direct, maybe mediate. Someone local who could help to navigate their way around the beaurocracy and French customs and lifestyle.

Do you think there might be an opportunity there for you? As a Brit contemplating the move I, for one, would be really keen to have such a contact and I'm sure that there must be lots of people who would feel the same.

All the best. Take care.  



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Other stories in
2012-05-03 00:04: An evolving path
2012-01-02 13:52: 2011 Accomplishments and 2012 Aims
2011-11-17 02:20: Your inner piece
2011-02-01 00:05: Slow Mo Flow
2011-01-22 18:40: Recognition
2010-08-23 00:36: Where's Ming?
2010-07-20 14:24: Getting other people to do stuff
2010-06-22 00:27: Inventory
2010-06-19 23:10: Conversations
2009-10-28 12:31: Then a miracle occurs



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