May Blog: Networking Made Easy

May Blog: Networking Made Easy

Guest Blog Featuring Gisele Marcus, owner of Marcus Enterprises and Professor of Practice at Washington University.

When your colleague asks you about networking, what do you think? 

I'd rather go grocery shopping.  

I'd rather sit in a boring, non-interactive two-hour meeting.

I'd rather have other plans.  

That is the opposite of what Gisele Marcus, owner of Marcus Enterprises and Professor of Practice at Washington University, thinks – she embraces the opportunity (because that is what it is, an opportunity.)

Gisele learned early on, that networking is an important part of the unwritten responsibilities in a job description. "Networking is a lot like nutrition and fitness: we know what to do, the hard part is making it a top priority." -- Herminia Ibarra, an organizational behavior professor at London Business School.

Networking is more of an art than it is a science. Meaning there are many different ways to do it. Gisele boils networking down to:  


1. Authentically connecting in a genuine way with another person. Not in a superficial way. Meaning you contribute to others without seeking anything in return. You offer assistance, share knowledge, or make valuable introductions. 

2. Developing a two-way relationship where each person derives benefit from it. Meaning, when building a relationship, you cannot be on the “me” channel talking about yourself all the time or constantly looking to derive something out of the relationship without depositing anything into the relationship.

The fact is, it is easier to make connections than to nurture connections.  Just as you are strategic about pursuit of goals, you must be strategic about pursuit of your network. How do you do that?  It will take effort on your part.  You must do the homework to maintain the contact.

Gisele suggests four practical systematic steps to keep in contact with your network:

1. Define the “who” and the “why”.  Denote who you want to network with and for what intention or purpose.  Write it down.

2. Set your schedule. Will you connect quarterly, every other month or some other frequency with the people on your “who” list.  Add a calendar reminder for yourself. 

3. Determine how you will connect.  This can be a virtual connection, a text message connection, a social media connection, and or an in-person connection (adhering to social distancing, of course). You choose.

4. Listen to the “who” to determine your “how”.  Hear what your “who” is saying.   Is there a way you can help?  Can you celebrate your connection’s new accomplishment?  Based on what you hear, this can direct your next “how” with him/her.

The bottom line – don’t shy away from Networking, it is an opportunity that should be taken advantage of. Using these tools will set you up for success and ensure you are taking full advantage of the network that you build.


About Gisele Marcus

Gisele Marcus, owner of Marcus Enterprises, is known as the Connection Champion, who makes organizations hum. In addition, she is a Professor of Practice at Olin Business School at Washington University in St. Louis, where she prepares students with the tools and techniques for DEI in the workplace.

Gisele makes organizations excel at building culture and teams that drive sustainable business growth. She is a dynamic Operations Executive with deep experience in improving financial performance, enhancing operational efficiency and rebuilding customer relationships. She is highly skilled in transforming business processes and teams to achieve performance targets in multiple disciplines, including operations, finance, marketing, customer experience and relationship management. 

Gisele is an expert in the art and science of networking and relationship management. She has served as a TEDXHarvard speaker on the topic as well as guest podcaster featured on threesixtyCITY.