Anita Bruzzese Interview – Author, Journalist and WorkPlace Expert
Anita Bruzzese is a syndicated columnist and author who shares a wealth of knowledge with her readers on workplace issues. Her column “On the Job” is featured in dozens of newspapers and websites every week, with a readership of more than eight million. She is the author of both: “45 Things You Do That Drive Your Boss Crazy” and “Take This Job And Thrive”.
Josh: Anita, how do you define Business Networking and why do you feel it is important?
Anita Bruzzese: I think business networking is like social networking in some ways — it’s about getting to know people because you share common interests.
It’s also about being able to bring something to the relationship, not just being “me, me, me” all the time. But instead of sharing your vacation photos as you would with a social contact, you share information and ideas in a professional, mutually respectful way.
I think it’s important because no matter what high-tech communication gadgets are out there, they cannot replace the creative, collaborative, enthusiastic interchange that goes on among human beings.
Josh: Can you share one idea that someone could put into practice that would help them to improve their business networking skills?
Anita Bruzzese: Personally, I don’t think anything can teach you how to network better than watching someone in action who is really good at it. Watch the person’s body language, how they greet someone, how they listen, the questions they ask, etc.
Join a professional organization and watch for the person that people smile at and seem comfortable with — this might not be the person making the most money or holding the big title — but it will be someone that everyone seems to gravitate toward.
Too often, I hear complaints about the person who wants to network, but is constantly checking the Blackberry, scanning the room to see who else is there or just fails to be courteous. Yeah, gee…who wouldn’t want to network with THAT person??
Josh: Can you share some of the ways you use the internet for business networking?
Anita Bruzzese: I’ve used it quite a bit in the last six months, especially since I’ve been promoting my book, “45 Things You Do That Drive Your Boss Crazy.” But let me add that I still am very cautious. You know when your Mom used to warn you that you’re known by the company you keep? The same is true of the Internet. You want to make sure you stay in the “right” neighborhoods and don’t just jump on anything that comes along.
If someone wants a connection, understand who they are and what they do, and who they are associated with. Don’t be afraid about not fostering every connection that comes along. I have some people that I really trust, and rely on them to help lead me through unknown territories. People are opting out of LinkedIn every day, because they feel “used” by others who just want to add their names as a way to get what they want, with no interest in fostering a genuine relationship.
I also blog (www.45things.com), which at first, I thought: “Why am I doing this to myself…I have enough to do without adding this to the list!” But I have to say it’s brought me some great contacts. Let me add, however, that it’s brought me great contacts because I am focused on offering a blog that benefits others by educating them about career issues and resources. So, I think people feel like I am genuine about what I do, and will not betray their trust. And, let’s face it: Without trust, networking just falls apart.
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