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Christine Rizzo, Shevlin Family Foundation Meets with Jamee Niles, HR Executive

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Working Your Network

Time Spent Networking Builds Trust, Helps Others, Increases Business, and Widens Profit Opportunities

Article by Cheyenne Forbes

Photography by Karin Davidson and Hoi Michael Cheung

Originally published in Media City Lifestyle

Say you’re having lunch when someone behind you yells over the phone, “I can't believe this guy didn't show up again! That's it, go get me a new sign company!” Most people would think, “Well, that was loud... and rude.”

Not John Durso, CEO of Brilliant Business Strategies. It’s an opportunity, “I know a guy who can help with that.”  John called the person right then and connected them.

“The guy [who yelled on the phone] turned out to be a strip mall developer and Lou got that business for the next 10 or 15 years and it was over a million dollars in business,” John says. “Every time I tell that story, people say, ‘Gosh, talk about being in the right place at the right time.’”

When one becomes a member of an intentional networking organization like Business Network International (BNI), they’ll find that they’re always in the right place at the right time. 

The Columbia University Center for Career Education defines networking as “...the process of making connections and building relationships… Networking can even help you find unadvertised jobs/internships.”

Blair Johnson, current president of BNI Hungry Dogs Chapter, says that networking is something we do every day, “At the grocer’s, dry cleaners, restaurant—It’s just communication.  In your business, if you do not communicate with potential partners, someone else will. It is essential to growth on all levels.”

There are also networking events. Often people find them to be overwhelming. John offers three tips.

  1. Make friends with the person sitting at the front desk. They probably know everybody in the room.
  2. Have a plan. When walking into a room, the questions on your mind should be, “Who's the single person I need to meet? What is their industry?” 
  3. Put your back against the wall and read the room. Usually, you’ll find that the most popular people have a line of people waiting to talk to them. Those popular people are master connectors who are great at introducing people to each other.

Blair adds, “A room of new faces can always be intimidating, that is human nature, everyone there is feeling that. I like to go in with the mindset of being thankful that these people are here and how can I help them?  What issue can I assist with, what problem can I solve?  Just say “hi”, be thankful that they came and just be human. If you truly listen and are present in any conversation or introduction, people will say what they want or need.  Chances are YOU are that resource, or you know someone who can be of help. Be a human and be present.  Salesy people are usually discovered quickly so go in with a positive and grateful attitude.  If you go in with the mindset that you want to help or solve someone’s problem, you are now a resource and not a vendor. Best case scenario, you make a friend.”

The most important part of networking is remembering that the opportunities are after the event is over. It’s not about exchanging business cards and waiting. John explains, “It's the one-on-one time after the fact, when you start to build relationships with people and do things for them.”

There are many networking event opportunities. Most of the possibilities welcome guests and newcomers. Search websites and call the ones you are interested in. Let them know where you stand in your comfortability to network if you are a networking newcomer or would like guidance. Some organizations (like Rotary) are opportunities to meet people but aren't directed specifically to networking.










VFW (The Veterans of Foreign Wars) -


  • BNI "Hungry Dogs" Chapter
  • Blair Johnson with Joe Lesniak, Attorney and Media Theatre Chair
  • Tom Clark, Tom Levy, and LeeAnn Sullivan Networking Event at Tavola
  • Publisher Scott Davidson Networking With Maggie Magdalena Pasciak at Cafesphere
  • Christine Rizzo, Shevlin Family Foundation Meets with Jamee Niles, HR Executive