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What the Dope Dealer taught me about Networking 6 February 2018

You’re busy, I’m busy, so I keep these thoughts to a few pithy paragraphs — thanks for reading!


I was approached by a guy trying to sell me dope a couple of weeks ago, and it got me thinking about how you can develop your networking and reporting skills in the most unlikely company.

Forgive me for sharing this detail with you, but the story does require it.  This all unfolded at Barbados’s funkiest Friday night venue, the Oistins Fish Fry.  Music pumping, bottles of beer popping, marlin sizzlin’ in vast aromatic vats.  A great way for me to round off a week’s work in this not unappealing part of the world.

Beer in hand, I had snuck away from the roadside hotspot for a few moments to gaze at a sliver of moon suspended above an inky Caribbean sea.  After a few moments, I noticed the shadow of a young-ish man at my side.  “Hi brother!” he began.  “Just chillin’?  I’m Tyrone — how ya doin’?”

And so our mellow chat began: questions from him about the UK and our January weather, the reporter in me curious to find out about his life as a fisherman, and emotionally engaged by hearing about his ambition to own his own boat.  So it must have been a good six or seven minutes before the pause that ended with “So — you fancy a bit o’ weed?  I got some good stuff …”. (That’s Tyrone talking, not me.)

What my new dope-dealing friend had done so skilfully was to be likeable first, then build a little trust, and only then get down to business.  It’s the same in networking, don’t you think?  Sometimes in the past I think that maybe I’ve mentioned my workshops just a little too soon.  Journalism is similar: the best reporters achieve the most powerful interviews from people who like them first, and then grow to trust them.

I’d like to think it goes without saying that I declined Tyrone’s kind offer, and as such his networking strategy did fail.  But I do thank him for giving me a breezy insight into what effective business-building can look like.


If you’d like to have some fun developing your own business skills whilst doing a spot of (dope free) networking, I’d love you to join us at my next Newsroom Business Bootcamp — half a day of adrenaline, laughter and serious business development just minutes from Brighton Station on Thursday 22 February … find out more here!

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