Monday, April 27, 2009

Sunday in the park with George...

Bowie State University signAuthor and networking guru George C. Fraser was scheduled to speak Sunday afternoon. However, his talk began late at Bowie State, although Fraser values punctuality. He was there in time to begin as scheduled, but the setup took longer than expected. A good mix of people arrived, and the small auditorium was almost full. Fraser is a funny, engaging speaker, alluding to his most recent book, Click, as well as his earlier book, Success Runs in Our Race, lightly touching on a few themes from both. The gist of his remarks was that we have all we need to become economically empowered--education, capital, entrepeneurial attitude--we just need to genuinely connect with each other to make it happen. Fraser admitted that he wasn't saying anything original, only giving his message in a highly memorable manner. Among other anecdotes, he related a saying from his father, "The words you speak today are waiting for you tomorrow."

Interesting that at the book signing later, he point-blank asked for the business card of each person in line, but managed to do so without seeming unpleasant. In fact, a number of times before and after his remarks, he managed to be economical and efficient with his words without seeming curt or brusque.

It was a hot, sunny afternoon at the campus, whose foyer at the Center for Learning and Technology looked out onto a pleasant, grassy promenade, a pleasing venue for the event, coordinated by the Sisters 4 Sisters Network. Refreshments were served, featuring food from local caterers, such as the healthy walnut brownies from The Land of Kush. I was dismayed, however, but not surprised, after the remarks, to see more people in the refreshments line than the book signing one, a state of affairs which persisted for a while. Also met some affable, hardworking people there, many with side hustles--how could it be any other way in this economy?

* * *
I read Fraser's earlier, more comprehensive book, Success Runs in Our Race, that week. Not only does it have guidelines to the whys of networking, but Fraser provides practical tips as to the hows of the process, and suggests reasons that black people have been reluctant to network (as opposed to merely coming together). It should be read before his other books, and before hearing him speak if possible, as it makes his remarks that much more powerful and useful.

Click focuses on the underlying principles that make good networking successful. It's a nice complement to Success Runs in Our Race. (However, if forced to choose one, I'd choose
Success Runs in Our Race.)

All in all, a productive, yet relaxed, Sunday afternoon. How often does that happen?

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