Working the Room

Have you ever felt like participation in on-line “Social Media” sites resembles consorting with “gladwrappers” working the room at a reception?

The “wannabe” movers & shakers introduced to you (or you to them) and – maybe – engaging you in enough pleasantry to find out if a relationship (even a brief conversation) with you can benefit them – at least by you being able to introduce them to someone you know who may become important to them. 

While conversing, the voice speaks to you, the eyes are looking around, searching for the next “connection”, the potentially better link to success – sometimes to the means to escape from…you.

Do you feel patronized, condescended to, used?  How about when you use those techniques on others?  Is it just the expected marketing… a little self-promotion?  There is a broad range of organizations that exist solely for the purpose of this kind of potential linkage…a “meat market” of self-promoters.

Here’s a thought: Bring something to the party!  What information, knowledge, wisdom, introduction to a new resource (read: “living breathing human being”) do YOU bring to each and every person with whom you “network”. 

Sure, “read my blog”, “read my book”, “come to my seminar”, “enjoy the conference I’m keynoting”, “friend me”… in many cases ARE very real added value to others – and truly valuable invitations often either NOT delivered or delivered in such a heavy-handed way as to assure the conversation will end!

The alternative role, also much like too many on-line Social Media experiences, is the virtual relationship maven.  I once had a skilled corporate relations consultant approach me with the line, “So-and-so is a client of mine, and if you become one as well, it will prove to others how smart both of you are because you both have me helping you, and I’ll be sure that other smart people know it.”  That was the extent of his pitch and his work – creating a virtual relationship – and you did not even – ever – have to actually have a speaking or business relationship with that so-smart third-party! 

How sanitary!  Even plausible deniability through “degrees of separation” built into the arrangement in case either client erred.  No more potential passage of guilt by association than if the two of you only consumed the same brand of diet soda!  Hey – you don’t even have to “work the room”!

Enough of the rant.  But, seriously, look in the mirror and see if you are beginning to look like either of those images – the room-working gladwrapper or the virtual relationship maven.  If you are troubled by this vision, you may want to read my earlier post, The Cinderella Theory ( and become even more upset, or face up to it and Reform!

As for being a gladwrapper working the room or a virtual relationship maven, try open, honest, transparency – being yourself – because,

Wouldn’t you rather have friends?


About randysrules

From a professional background in architecture, community and regional planning, urban design, leadership, and fine arts, this blog provides insights on ethics, leadership, architecture/planning/urban design, Venice, and whatever intrigues me at the time. Enjoy!
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