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Virtual Networking with a twist

Ronnie AptekerOne of the great things I love about the Internet is virtual networking. You know, the ability to make contact with people you never really meet in person. E-mail can be such a brilliant tool, if used appropriately. It can also be quite destructive if emotional elements creep in. Never have a fight via e-mail. Never curse or rant or argue using e-mail. It will only cause you further headaches. Trust me on this.

E-mail allows you to share things. Information, news, ideas, events, diagrams, pictures, sounds, songs, and so much more. And it allows you to entertain. Yes, e-mails can be pretty funny, especially if you send out jokes.

While I sometimes get overwhelmed with the amount of e-mail I can receive in a day, and while sometimes I wish some of the jokes I get weren’t so lame, I typically get delighted when a fresh funny story arrives in my inbox. I love nothing more than to pass it to those who I know will get a boost from it. Yes, sharing a good joke is a great thing – it is one of those things that make life special.

Storytelling is a fundamental part of all good leadership. The ability to connect with people, to inspire them, to capture their imaginations, and to provoke them, are all necessary to facilitate growth.

Everyone likes a compelling story, and we all love a good joke. So, in an effort to spread the love, and with the aim to inspire anyone who is reading this, here is a cool anecdote that I have cherished over the years. Please indulge me – I have been doing some soul searching of late and humour is one of the best ways to appreciate the journey.

So, here is a colourful corporate lesson, with a funny twist, that an inspired friend of mine sent me many years ago. Lesson: A man is getting into the shower just as his wife is finishing up her shower when the doorbell rings. After a few seconds of arguing over who should go and answer the doorbell, the wife gives up, quickly wraps herself up in a towel and runs downstairs.

When she opens the door, there stands Bob, the next door neighbour. Before she says a word, Bob says, “I’ll give you 800 bucks to drop that towel that you have on.” After thinking for a moment, the woman drops her towel and stands naked in front of Bob. After a few seconds, Bob hands her 800 bucks and leaves. Confused, but excited about her good fortune, the woman wraps back up in the towel and goes back upstairs.

When she gets back to the bathroom, her husband asks from the shower “Who was that?” “It was Bob the next door neighbour,” she replies. “Great,” the husband says, “did he say anything about the 800 bucks he owes me?”

Moral of the story: If you share critical information pertaining to credit and risk in time with your stakeholders, you may be in a position to prevent avoidable exposure.

If you have a good joke or an inspired story then please send it my way. And, if it strikes a chord with me, I will pass it on to the next person. Yes, this is the power of virtual networking. You got to love this technology!

  • Ronnie Apteker is one of the founders of Internet Solutions, the country’s largest corporate Internet service provider. He is also a movie producer, an author of two books and sometimes a stand up comedian.

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The Big Change is a business strategy blog and newsletter published by Arthur Goldstuck, managing director of World Wide Worx, a leading technology research organisation based in Johannesburg, South Africa.

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