EditorialsBy Matt Bud, Chairman, The FENG

Networking is what The FENG is all about. And, it has a lot of not so obvious twists and turns, one of which I am going to go over tonight.

I hope all of you are becoming pros at using our Member Directory Search feature and calling up other members. I hope that those members you are contacting are going out of their way to introduce you to individuals that they know, because it is one of those things that really works.

One of the aspects of introducing your friends in The FENG to individuals you know is that it is beneficial to you as well. Your friends want to do favors for you, and actually it is easier for them to do a favor for a friend of yours than it is to do a favor directly for you. This is the not so obvious twist I want to explain tonight.

In the process of networking with those you knew from before your job search, you have probably been a little disappointed with their response from time to time. Even if you have a good network, it is often the case that folks don’t call you back or they don’t respond to your letters.

I have often wondered why this was the case and the theory I have developed runs something like this: Your friends know you are out of work and they would like to help, but it is sort of like there has been a death in the family. You call, they don’t know what to say, and frequently, they don’t know how to help. In addition, there are risks involved in helping someone you know very well. Let’s assume your friend introduces you to his boss and the two of you don’t hit it off. Now your friend has a very difficult situation to explain. (Hey, does he know you or not?)

If on the other hand you call or write to a friend and ask him/her to help one of your friends in The FENG it is a much less tense situation. First of all, I assume you have asked for a favor that your friend can easily grant such as taking a few minutes to talk to your FENG friend about his industry or some other subject about which he knows a lot. Secondly, if your networking contact introduces a fellow FENG member to his boss and they don’t hit it off, he has deniability. (Hey, he is a friend of a friend, I really didn’t know him that well, but thanks for seeing him.)

Think about how good this is going to make your friend feel! He knows you are out of work and he wanted to help, and you have given him the opportunity to help. (Think about the last time someone asked you for a favor and how it made you feel. I have to believe it was a positive experience.)

The process of networking as I see it is often sort of like taking in each other’s laundry. I introduce you to my friends and you introduce me to your friends.

Regards, Matt

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