The Wall Flower Syndrome

A couple of my colleagues wrote some good posts about networking this week … See  “How to Find Your Old Contacts” at the Interns Over 40 blog and “Explain to your network how they can best help you” by one of my favorite bloggers, Paul Copcutt.

Here’s the sticking point for many of my CFOs and senior finance executives. IF they show up, few of them actually engage. Networking … is a verb. It requires action. Standing against the wall and hoping a) no one notices you, b) someone will reach out to you first, or c) merely enjoying the chow … does NOT constitute networking. Neither does using your name to create a place holder within social networking sites. has launched a great regional networking site specifically for senior-level finance executives. It’s a great concept and an even better, easier, and more efficient way to network with your peers. However, just showing up doesn’t constitute networking in today’s social media world. A wall flower is still a wall flower whether in the physical sense or the social sense. 

Wouldn’t you like to be the finance executive who got a call from a networking contact with the inside scoop on an opportunity at a much bigger company with a very nice increase in annual salary and a cushy benefits package that resulted in a new position within just a couple of weeks … even in this economy? If so, you must move away from the wall!

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2 thoughts on “The Wall Flower Syndrome”

  1. You nailed the PwC Alumni meeting I was at last month with your observations! Everybody standing around with a glass of wine or a few stuffed mushroom caps, staying on the wall or in their start group clique waiting for their invitation to the dance floor. I saw myself in that post. Good job.

  2. Thanks, Ray. I appreciate your comments. And yes, there is a difference between networking (building / cultivating / nurturing relationships) and just showing up (hoping to be invited to the dance).
    I think the idea of networking is made more difficult because people don’t understand the concept of “give to get.” If you truly have a heart for meeting people where they are and listening to their needs, you walk away with the perception as a “great conversationalist” … and, you’re often remembered.


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