EditorialsBy Matt Bud, Chairman, The FENG

If you are actually sitting at your computer with not much to do the next several days, may I suggest you try increasing your inner circle of friends?

The most valuable feature on our website is Member Directory Search: http://thefeng.org/membersonly/memberSearch.php

All you have to do is follow the link above and sign-in to use it.

Think of it as LinkedIn on turbo. The reason I say this is that some huge percentage of the folks on LinkedIn, and that includes members of The FENG, do NOT have complete directory listings. On The FENG website EVERYONE has a complete directory listing because our professional staff sees to it.

Not only are listings for all new members created by our professional staff, but several times a year everyone in The FENG is asked if they have any changes to their listings and those changes are carefully folded in so that you can be assured the data is as good as we can make it.

The current buzz word is “Big Data,” and The FENG database of members is big data. What I would suggest to you is that you can not only find your old friends, you can also make some new ones by being “sneaky” in the way you use this great resource.

To start with the obvious, at the top of the screen, type in the names of all the firms where you have worked (one at a time), and hit enter or search at the bottom of your screen. If your firm has spelled its name several ways, you will need to enter each one. If your firm was a major corporation, you may need to limit your search to a specific chapter (again, one at a time for best results).

The only “trick” you need to keep in mind is that every search you want to keep needs to be created into a custom directory. (Click where it says “make a custom directory” at the top or “Create a Custom Directory” at the bottom. After you have done this, you need to click “Your newly created custom directory” and when the dialogue box comes up, use the pull down next to “Save” and select “Save as.” Only ONE file can be affiliated with your member ID, and when you go to save it, you need to change its name because they all initially will have the same name.

I’ll appeal to your inner accountant here and let you know that you can run as many searches as you want, as often as you want. There is no additional cost for rerunning searches, so feel free to refine your searches before you save them. However, when you reach perfection, save it to your hard drive so you don’t lose all that hard work. The files you are creating are Word documents. They aren’t sortable, but they are searchable and editable (not edible). This means you can delete some of your selections once the file is on your hard drive.

After you search for folks who have worked at your firms, run searches of your firm’s direct competitors. Please know that active and alumni members are equally helpful to those networking.

Moving into the advanced class, I would now suggest to you that the lower section of chapters and special interest groups can help you create lists of local folks who share your interests.

One of my great success stories a few years ago was with one of our members who was a Tax professional who had worked at a Capital Markets firm in the New York City area. Even today, there are only 70 members who fall into those 3 categories. (Hopefully you are beginning to see the value of our “big data.”) 70 members is a number that falls into Matt’s law of finite numbers. You can actually write and then call that number of “new friends.”

What are your areas of expertise as defined by your special interest groups? Atlanta, Construction Industry and Real Estate only yield 61 members. Atlanta, Manufacturing, High Technology and M&A/Development only yields 70 members.

When you are willing to focus, it is amazing how easy it is to find like-minded friends with whom you can build a “beautiful friendship.”

Our mantra in The FENG is Networking, Networking and more Networking. It is the only thing of which I am aware that actually works.

Anyone who is counting on seeing posted jobs in their area of expertise, at a salary that interests them and in a location where they want to live is going to be doing a lot of reading and not a lot of relationship building.

So, have at it over the next several days. The world is quiet and you should be easily able to concentrate. If you need help, call me or call a fellow member. Our Member Directory Search feature is quite intuitive and I am confident you will have great success using it.

Regards, Matt

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