Networking: Opening Lines of Communication

“Si hoc legere scis nimium eruditionis habes”

This morning as I was walking Cai to school, he started a conversation on languages and I was reminded of a story.

Around my 17th birthday I was hitch-hiking through Europe stopping at various climbing venues. For part of the journey I was accompanied by a friend. Somewhere in the middle of France we were picked up by an Italian in a VW Bug, neither Tom or myself spoke Italian and so we were expecting the next few hours to be a rather confusing mix of feeling rude and exasperated. I do not know why but when our benefactor tried conversing one of us responded in Latin. Being the product of English private education we had been brought up on a diet of dead language and had received many homework assignments translating vast passages of the original Cicero, Lucretius, Horace and Vergil. All of these were dished out by fusty old men in capes and mortar boards, sat at heavy oak desks carved with graffiti from the 19th Century (I kid you not).

Now let me make it clear that they are not the same language and yet they are suitably similar that we were able to understand one another. The atmosphere in the car lifted and all three of us became excited by the opportunity to talk; if only in a somewhat confusing melee. The great thing though is that we heard each others’ stories and parted as friends even if somewhat fleetingly.

This brings me to my point. How often do we see barriers to communication? How often do we just not make the effort because it does not seem like it is possible or worthwhile? How often do we let opportunities to connect slide by?

In this job market, networking is the going to be the biggest source of real job leads. How are you going to bridge the gap, make meaningful connections and find the hidden gems out there?

Oh and the approximate meaning of the Latin quote – “If you understand this you are over educated.”

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