EditorialsBy Matt Bud, Chairman, The FENG

The FENG is a circle of friends, not a job listing service. The question I would have for each of you is, have you recently worked to expand your inner circle of friends within The FENG?

Regardless of when you joined our august body, and even if you went through our membership directory at that time, an incredible number of new potential friends have joined since that time. Access to our full membership directory is out there on our website for your information and use.

I am often asked why the membership directories you can generate using our Member Directory Search feature are only available as Word files and not Excel files or in database form. The answer is simple. Our membership directory listings contain a wealth of information about each of us. When using this information to build your inner circle of friends, it is expected that you will take the time to actually read this information and incorporate some of it into your personal message to any fellow member you would like to contact.

Everything about The FENG is personal. Suitable punishments will be imposed upon those who begin any communication to their fellow members with “Dear FENG member.” (I don’t want to go into details about the punishments I have in mind because the threat is probably more effective, however, be assured we do stop short of “walking the plank.”) Suffice to say that if you want to be treated like an individual, treat others the same way. You will see that it works!

In my work filling assignments for The FECG, I find that most searches yield to industry and location. I would suggest that this is a valid approach for you as well.

When visiting our website, go to our Member Directory Search feature and type in the name of every firm you have worked for under all of its possible variations in the Company/School field at top of the form. We take great pains to be consistent when creating the membership directory, but for some firms that have changed their name in various ways, you will have to play detective. Obvious targets are old friends, of course, but even those who worked at your firms in different time periods will either know of you or will know people you knew at the firm. The overlaps at companies are significant, and you really can’t lose.

If you examine your own directory listing, you will note that companies in anyone’s history run from most recent to least recent. Depending on when you were there, you can make judgments accordingly.

We have over 37,000 members, so this may take a while, but it is work that can pay big dividends.

Next, take a look for members who have worked at competitors. There may very well be individuals who you have met at industry conferences before you became a compulsive business card collector. But, don’t be shy about contacting those you don’t know as well.

The approach I am suggesting is to talk to others who actually understand what you have been doing and the conditions under which you have been doing it. Those are meaningful conversations and will more easily lead to valid networking contacts outside of our organization.

Regards, Matt

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