Making the Most of your Networks


Excerpts from a recent workshop presentation with Asian American Leadership Conference, March 2013.

This process of understanding and utilizing effective NETWORKING skills has been more of a personal journey where I struggled between the tensions of personal branding vs. forging new friendships.  A key verse helped advocate the use of networks for me, Phil 2:3-4, “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves,not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.”

Likewise, after understanding the reason for Paul’s letter to the Roman church, his interaction shows an explicit Biblical demonstration for Networking – cf. Romans 15:14 – 16.

  •  Take Away #1 Share Your Story
    15:15 – Yet I have written you quite boldly on some points to remind you of them again, because of the grace God gave me
  • Take Away #2 Clear Long Term Intentions  (Life Mission Statement)
    15:20 – It has always been my ambition to preach the gospel where Christ was not known, so that I would not be building on someone else’s foundation. 
  • Take Away #3 Immediate Desires
    15:24 –  So after I have completed this task and have made sure that they have received this contribution, I will go to Spain and visit you on the way.
  • Take Away # ASK, ASK, ASK, ASK, ASK
    15:30-33 –  I urge you, brothers and sisters,… Join me… Pray… contribution favorable… come to you in joy… be refreshed in your company…
  • Take Away #5 List References (aka Name Dropping)
    Romans 16 = linkedin connections
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Networking Continuum

When networking, I categorize 5 areas in a continuum that drives towards an ASK.  The Sphere begins with either virtual and/or physical sphere of influence….

In conclusion, I want to present 5 thoughts to consider for more effective networking.  And NO, this is not an exhaustive list.

  • Personal Branding = Professional Identity

My Personal brand is the composite impression that comes to mind when someone hears my name or sees my picture.” [1]  What’s your story?

  • Friendships or Prospects

When do you “become all things to all men”?  When are you “wise and careful, making the most use of your time?”  Do you have a selection process – personal guidelines?

  • Social capital is about the value of social networks [2]

The term social capital emphasizes not just warm and cuddly feelings, but a wide variety of quite specific benefits that flow from the trust, reciprocity, information, and cooperation associated with social networks. Social capital creates value for the people who are connected and – at least sometimes – for bystanders as well. [3]

  • Body Language

Be careful of the dead fish handshake.  What was memorable of your personal encounter (expressive vs introverts)?  Did you fold your arms, open your hands?  How was the eye contact?

  • How can I find you?

Do you have an ugly business card?  Did you incriminate yourself on your Facebook page?  Is your Linkedin even updated?  DO YOU WAN TO BE FOUND?


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About Kevin Nguyen

I am a Vietnamese-Texan Who doesn’t love both Pho and BBQ? And this is where I shall start… Introductions to "Kevin Nguyen". Let me go ahead and introduce myself as best I can. First, everyone asks why I go by "Kevin" and not my legal name "Khoa" (qua). "Kevin" was picked up when I was trying to order pizza by phone from Pizza Hut while in Texas. The guy asked how to spell my name. I mean, how hard is it to spell “K – H – O – A”, right? Those are not hard letters to hear over the phone. After several back and forth attempts: PAUL? CARL? CLAW? I couldn’t take it anymore — “Dude, my name is, Kevin”. Finally, I got my pizza. That's my story, and I'm sticking with it.

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