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Suffering From Networking Burnout?

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Wallflowers

When I got into sales 30 years ago I realized I had to transform from being a scientist to meeting and greeting people I didn't know. I read a book about networking and learned about the power of the wallflowers.

For whatever reason of which I will never understand, my professional area has always been quite cliquish. People will attend meetings and events only with people they know and speak only with people they know. I never make that mistake. I arrive alone, and ignore the people in the center of the room who are surrounded by a group of their friends and coworkers. I seek out the people on the sidelines looking uncomfortable. They are thrilled and appreciative that somebody is willing to engage with them. I introduce one wallflower to another wallflower. Before long the wallflower group is happy and everybody is exchanging business cards.

The next time I attend an event the former wallflowers are ecstatic that I'm there and then introduce me to new people. I've networked successfully like this and it is easy and enjoyable to do.

It's all in the wallflowers.

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Mark Goulston, MD, is the author of the new bestselling book Just Listen: Discover the Secret to Getting Through to Absolutely Anyone.

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