Time to drop the act?

In Groundhog Day, Ned Ryerson is the biggest irritant to Bill Murray’s character Phil Conners. So how best to deal with the Neds in your life? There is both a way out and a potential perfect outcome.

There is a potential perfect outcome for every human action and interaction, a path through each situation that means it works out best for all concerned.

Whether you have the proverbial snowflake’s chance in Hades of achieving that perfect outcome is a different matter. The outcome may not always be down to you. But sometimes the principles that guide your actions can make all the difference.

The Neds in your life

Consider Ned Ryerson.

Just as his namesake Ned Flanders grinds Homer Simpson’s gears, Ned Ryerson is the biggest irritant to the Bill Murray character Phil Conners in Groundhog Day*.

How best to deal with the Neds in your life? Condemned to live exactly the same day over and over again, Conners has the opportunity to explore every possible reaction to Ryerson.

Punching, propositioning and snarking Ned Ryerson might feel good at the time, but none of these is the way out.

Conners breaks the cycle and is able at last to continue his life by deciding on one version of this life in a day to take the perfect route, the most human route, through each interaction that comes his way. Going out of his way to make this the best day of Ned Ryerson’s life (”…with the optional death and dismemberment plan”) works.

I’m sure there are many religious interpretations here. Buddhists might see Conners at last liberating himself from
 to achieve Nirvana.

Twitter made all the difference

No one is more surprised than me that I seem to have built up something resembling a network of people with whom to share thoughts and silliness over the years. As a lifelong, card-carrying introvert, networking does not come naturally. Like I’ve blogged before, Twitter made all the difference. I’ve always just tweeted what comes naturally to me, starting with the full expectation that no one was listening. I was truly amazed when people started tweeting back.

There are as many ways to approach networking as there are people. What works for you?

The human mute button

This week I read the best advice on networking I’ve yet seen, in a piece by Bill Boorman entitled Networking for humans. Bill has attended enough conferences and been approached by enough Ned Ryersons looking to sign him up to recognise the telltale signs and start reaching for “the human mute button”:

“If you meet me and you lead with your business card, or you give me a sharpened elevator pitch, or you try to qualify me as a mark, the conversation is going to die.”

Boorman offers excellent, simple advice for the perfect path through networking:

“Drop the act.”

He explains the true secret to networking:

“I want to share the big secret. There is no secret to networking. don’t buy the books, believe the coaches, join the associations or listen to the boy wonders who have never actually had a job. Networking is easy. Be human, be real, don’t
try to be a brand, a thought leader or anything else. Be human.”

Two words. It really is that simple: “Be human.” The potential perfect path through every situation may not always be open to you. But approaching it with the right principles will dramatically improve your chances.

Drop the act.


* Groundhog Day is as great a film as there could ever be. If you’ve not seen it, please, please give it a watch!

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