The networking game


By hanspoldoja

By hanspoldoja

“Janice” likes to talk about everyone but herself when approaching others.

The research scientist, who studies cancer and the immune system and seeks to identify safer drugs, is quite fascinating in her own right. But she was right at home Monday as her partners delivered their “elevator speeches” during a networking exercise at Marin Professionals in San Rafael. As part of the game, Janice, who requested that her real name not be used, then introduced her new aquaintances to other members. She wasn’t quite as confident when the time came for her partner to discuss her with others.

“Next time,” she said with a smile, “I’m going to pretend to be someone else.”

The “Networking Game,” presented by David Reichard, director of Career ReVision, a San Rafael nonprofit that helps mid-career professionals find success after a layoff, gave dozens of attendees the opportunity to fine-tune their listening skills. It was also a good time to practice the all-important job pitch with a more attentive au.

“Networking is good, but when we’re in a roomful of strangers, it’s tough to speak,” explained Reichard, who said more people than ever charazterize themselves as shy.

So does Janice. And that’s precisely why Monday’s game clicked with Janice.

“I’m still trying to find out who I am, so I’d like to do more of this,” she said.

Part of Monday’s discussion centered on how to initiatate conversations with others while, for example, standing in line. One member said she can easily talk to another woman about jewelry or shoes. “But with men, it’s more diffiucult … maybe the weather or doughnuts.”

Other members express so much confidence and are such good speakers that they rarely find themselves stuck for words. This is the case for Mary Morris, a paralegal with one of the world’s great job titles: revenue generator. She was just as comfortable Monday addressing the room as a whole as she was conversing with just a few others. While working at law firms, Morris was always the “top biller,”  because “I’m good at streamlining my time. I’m efficient. I get things done in less time than others.”

Fellow member Carole Berkson-Ross has an equally impressive title: change leader and collaboration architect. She gets people working in the same company to bring their ideas together.

“You can spend billions of dollars, but it goes to waste” if employees don’t chase the same goals.

To find out more about networking games, contact David Reichard at

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