Accepted as a speaker at ZijSpreekt, speaking at the American Book Center in Amsterdam, my book being recommended for its revolutionary approach to networking in Changing the Terms, and a new city client with whom I will work to develop the networks of refugees, all in one week. September has begun!
A writer’s dream: there were people I knew from all parts of my rich Dutch life at the ABC – American Book Center – in Amsterdam last night, and people I didn’t know. ZijSpreekt speakers bureau owner Marga Miltenburg was there too, as were two Sheilas from Netsheila, Martha McDevitt-Pugh and Patrice Braun.
Presenting the book is fun. Inevitably, as the audience find their way to their seats, people who know each other speak to each other and those who don’t know anyone sit quietly, waiting for something to happen. It isn’t a listening event, the audience soon finds out. The audience’s first job is to introduce themselves to at least four people they don’t know and I will give a random question for them to ask when they do that. In the book presentation earlier in the month in my hometown Warragul Library I asked what people like about living in Warragul (I was curious), in Amsterdam I asked people to say what brought them here today. My – rather difficult – job then is to get everybody back into their seats, because people actually love the opportunity to speak with strangers. The room is buzzing with curiosity, enjoyment, interest.
In the presentation I talk about my journey as a networker, about my academic study of networking in the business context, and about the crisis in networking we have been facing for at least 20 years. In the last decades of the 20th century people massively stopped their memberships of clubs, societies, churches. Parents do not have skills in networking to pass on to their children. I talk about the hidden cost to social capital of families spending their evenings each on their own entertainment device, in homes where there are at least two toilets, and kids don’t learn to negotiate. And then I have a simple excercise in networking where the listeners are again in action. It takes all my skills as an educationalist to regain their attention at the end of the exercise and at the end of the session, out of curiosity, I ask what people notice about doing the exercise.
One thing I ask my public, and my readers, is this: give yourself permission to let other people know what you are up to and give other people permission to contibute to you. That is how we re-build social capital. That is how we create communities that support each other. And that is what I am passionate about.
I invite you to read the review in Changing the Terms and comment on it. Its not just that I want to hear what you have to say, it is that what you have to say will help develop social capital.
To book me as a speaker, please get in touch with ZijSpreekt.