Tag team networking

Posted: - Modified: | book, connecting

I dropped into the University of Toronto Career Resource Library for a few minutes before my annual health checkup. Seeing one of my to-read books on the shelf, I picked it up and skimmed through it. It's great having these resources close by!

Darcy Rezac's “Work The Pond: Use the Power of Positive Networking to Leap Forward in Work and Life” is an engaging book that focuses on a “what-can-I-do-for-you” attitude. It's a good read, and one that I'd recommend to others next to Keith Ferrazzi's “Never Eat Alone”, Leil Lowndes' “How to Talk to Anyone: 92 Little Tricks for Big Success in Relationships,” and Tim Sanders' “Love is the Killer App.”

I particularly like Chapter 5: Travel in Pairs. “Work the Pond” has the best tips on pair networking that I've read so far. Your tag-teammate doesn't have to be your spouse, or even a close friend. A business associate whom you would like to get to know better can make a terrific tag-teammate. if you both decide to help each other out. It's a powerful technique, and one that I'd like to help with more!

Here's an excerpt from p75:

  • Tag-teammates introduce you to people they know you might be interested in meeting. Their network is working for you.
  • Tag-teammates help you when you forget a person's name.
  • Tag-teammates keep an eye out for each other. If one is trapped in a conversation or left high and dry, the other can come to their aid.
  • Tag-teammates can sing your praises much better than you can. It's hard for you to launch into a story about yourself.

The chapter is full of practical tips, such as sitting two seats apart – that way, each of you will get to know two people but you will be close enough to build on each other's stories or rescue each other from the “cone of silence” that sometimes happens when people to either side of someone engage in separate conversations.

The book is well worth getting just for that chapter alone. Here's the quick summary:

  • When the invitation says guests, bring someone. You'll have more fun. Remember to RSVP for them as well.
  • Fill them in on the rules of being a tag-teammate.
  • If your teammate doesn't introduce you to someone immediately, use the Step-Forward Rescue. Stick out your hand and introduce yourself. Now you've helped your teammate.
  • Don't be afraid to sing the praises of your teammates. If they do great volunteer work or have won awards, it's better if you tell others about it.
  • If your teammate doesn't have a business card, encourage him or her to get a personal card and develop a tribal introduction.
  • Act as a host for your teammate.
  • Use your teammate's name in conversation; everyone benefits from being reminded of names.
  • Your tag-teammate doesn't have to be a spouse. Use an event as an opportunity to get to know a business associate better.
  • Keep an eye on each other and come to the rescue, if one is trapped or left alone.
  • Give your teammate a heads-up on the people you will be meeting.
  • If you are a member of a tag-team, you have a responsibility to do your bit.
  • Show your kids how to network; if you can, bring them as your teammate.
  • If you are the organizer of an event, think about the value of inviting couples. Now two people will tell your story.

Get the book and grab a networking buddy. I'd be happy to help at any of the networking events I go to, and I'd love to attend even more!

You can comment with Disqus or you can e-mail me at sacha@sachachua.com.