Isn’t that an hilarious, wonderful word?

It’s quaintly vintage. It entered my lexicon after many years in the service and company of a fantastic elder employer and friend named Anna

Anna was an actress, and before networking was a thing, she knew how to do it. She knew it was about getting out and about to be privy to the scuttlebutt. 

What is Scuttlebutt? The Cambridge Dictionary has my favorite definitions of it: news or information that may or may not be true.

Elsewhere it is defined as rumor, gossip, but very often it’s more useful and better than that. It’s one of the most important reasons to get out and network if you’re looking to move ahead. 

Because networking isn’t about collecting people. It’s about knowing what’s going on in your own and related fields. It’s about learning, always learning: what are the trends? Where are the opportunities?  What works well? And of course, what will get your ass kicked.

A favored bit of networking jargon is ‘giver’. Being a giver is more than providing a referral to someone. It is sharing your knowledge of a situation or experience in the field for the benefit of others. 

The type of networking environments most conducive to scuttlebutt are recurring ones, where over time you begin to discover commonalities and develop trust. These environments can be directly work-generated, like doing extra work in film and television if you’re an actor.  Showbiz is a small world and you run into a lot of the same people on set or at auditions. That’s the type of scuttlebutt Anna was a master at.  

Or it can be a community created by design, and grounded in the attitude that a rising tide lifts all boats. 

That’s what’s at the heart of a good strategic networking group. Strategic networking is about investing in and developing relationships over time, not just collecting business cards. That way, the success of one member enhances the possibility of more successes for all. 

That’s why I created Muse. On Sunday I’ll be having a monthly openhouse event to share more about it. If you’re in the New York City area, I hope you’ll come.