Name Dropping for Fun & Profit: Power Networking Tips & Techniques
Rae Stonehouse, author of Power Networking for Shy People: Tips & Techniques for Moving from Shy to Sly! Offers proven sage advice on how to maximize your business networking effectiveness. In Name Dropping for Fun & Profit Rae provides sage advice on how name drop or insert another person’s name into the conversation to help build your credibility as someone who is well-connected, one who has a good understanding on a particular topic and to develop your personal influence.
Published on: Mar 3, 2016
Transcripts - Name Dropping for Fun & Profit: Power Networking Tips & Techniques
Power Networking Tips & Techniques: Name Dropping for Fun & Profit
Does this sound familiar? You are at a
business networking session and you are
captivated by a speaker who wants to regale
you with a litany of important people that
they have supposedly recently spent time
with. “Oh, the other day I had coffee with the
Mayor …” “I was just saying the very same
thing to my good friend XXX, you know that
he owns half the town.” “Yeah, my best friend
is the Crown Attorney and she was telling me
To coin a phrase … “blah, blah, blah, yaddey, yaddey, yaddey!”
I suppose that it is a fact of life that we need to accept. There are some people in life that need to name
drop to build up their ego or their sense of importance. On the other hand, I have met some people
that are so narcissistic that it would never occur to them that their listener doesn’t know the individuals
who have been offered as proof of something, nor would even care if they did know them.
Having worked in mental health/psychiatry for 35+ years I have learned at least one concept that has
served me well and that is “all behaviour has meaning.” The challenge is that we don’t often know what
the meaning is or what purpose it is serving and likely the other individual doesn’t either.
A person who has a tendency to drop names of important people into conversation, and the term
“important” is subjective, could be nervous or lack self-confidence in a 1-1 conversation. Talking about
“important” people could be a maladaptive coping mechanism, one to relieve the individual’s anxiety. If
the person they are talking about is well known or popular the concept seems to be that some of that
popularity will rub off on them. It is probably similar to bragging about one’s self.
Once you recognize that the individual is monopolizing the conversation and playing a game of “look
who I know!” what do you do about it?
Not taking action is one choice. You could continue to listen to the one-sided conversation. Odds are if
they have dropped some names into conversation they likely have quite a few more to offer. It would
probably be a good idea to extricate yourself by excusing yourself before you doze off.
Another option could be to derail the conversation i.e. take it off its likely track by saying something to
the affect of “Oh you know XXX. I have been wanting to meet them for a while. Could you introduce us
or arrange a meeting?” This action on your part could have a positive outcome if the individual actually
does know the V.I.P. and can introduce you to them. Or if they don’t really know them, they may start to
back paddle i.e. change the topic or avoid the request made of them and keep the conversation going in
a direction where they continue to own it.
A third option could be a variation of the old “See you later alligator!” At a business networking function
odds are high that you can leave this one-sided conversation and move on to a more productive one.
Is there a time when it is appropriate for you to name drop? Yes, I believe so. Name dropping or
inserting another person’s name into the conversation can help build your credibility as someone who is
well-connected, one who has a good understanding on a particular topic and it can even develop your
Some examples might be:
When having a conversation about a particular topic, issue or problem and you know someone
who has faced a similar situation, you could mention their name and describe the lessons that
they learned as they dealt with the subject.
You could offer your services as an intermediary and propose to introduce the person that you
are speaking with to someone that you know that could be in a position to assist them.
At a later date, perhaps at a “getting to know you” coffee meeting you could explore with each
other who each of you knows and if there is a possibility that any of these connections could be
of value in helping with a current need.
I hope that through this article I have been able to raise your awareness to the “name-dropper” style of
networker and offer you some ideas on how to deal with them. But then again … name dropping can be
an effective networking tool if used effectively. Try it out and see how it works for you. Even better still
… become one of those people that other people fit into their conversations.
Top Photo Credit: Jodi Womack via photopin cc
Rae Stonehouse is the author of Power Networking For Shy People: Tips &
Techniques to Move from Shy to Sly! Visit us
at http://www.powernetworkingforshypeople.com Join our discussion on