One April morning in 2013, we got an email from a grad student in North Dakota. At a thrift store in Fargo, she had paid a whopping 20 cents for a signed copy of our 1st book, Great Connections: Small Talk & Networking for Businesspeople (1990)! The book, she said, was a life saver as she got ready to go to her first professional conference. She was pleased with herself for using the new tips and tools and said, “Thanks to you, I networked like a pro.”
That same day, a phone call from a prominent professional services firm marked the beginning of an 8-month training project with them. The partners wanted to make business development everybody’s business. The project included on-site workshops; webinars; partner briefings; executive coaching; copies of our 7th book, Make Your Contacts Count: Networking Know-How for Business and Career Success; and a series of email reinforcements to spur action.
We started Contacts Count 20+ years ago to help individuals network for professional and career success. As we worked with major corporations and government agencies, we discovered that employees do not instinctively know how to build wide, deep, and diverse internal and external networks. In fact, Contacts Count research indicates that only 20% are Natural Networkers; most are Neutrals, who would network if they learned how, and a small number are Naysayers, who resist no matter what.
The potential impact of teaching these skills enterprise-wide spurred us on to identify The 8 Competencies for The Network-Oriented Workforce™. Today our company helps organizations activate The NOW™ and realize the benefits of connecting, conversing, and collaborating.
It’s been exciting to be major players in the establishment of networking as a professional competency. So what’s the next big, game-changing idea that will help your organization with strategic execution, innovation, and competitiveness? It’s the NOW™. We look forward to collaborating with you.
Anne Baber & Lynne Waymon, Founders