The meeting, which was hosted by the Council of Zimbabwe, a non-profit organisation founded in 2008, was intended for young professionals to meet not only with other young professionals, but with the business community in general. At the event, this reporter had the opportunity to meet a Kenyan gentlemen doing missionary work in Zimbabwe as yuppies intermingled with each other, exchanging business details and social niceties.
In a keynote speech, public speaker and Mantis Africa managing director, Gabriel Chipara, emphasized the importance of networking and challenged young professionals to develop a list of 250 contacts that they know by name, face and business details.
“The more people you know, the easier your life gets. Who knows you is important, and who knows you works in business. The sad thing is most people don’t take the details of the people they meet neither do they remember faces and names. How many of you know 250 people by name and face, not on Facebook; I am talking about real people,” he asked the audience which consisted of a mix of black and white young professional from the non-profit and private sectors.
He said that the main idea behind networking is to connect to as many people that can help one simplify their life.
“If you know enough people, you’ll get what you want in three phone calls, SMSes or emails and you can get to anyone in the world through six people. US President Barack Obama is only six steps away from me if I wanted to reach him,” he said.
Council of Zimbabwe founder, Dominic Muntanga said that the purpose of the monthly networking event is to build a platform for Zimbabweans from all walks of life to find value within each other.
“We are building a platform that allows professionals from different fields to come together and network. We want to have different conversations in Zimbabwe on learning from and empowering each other.”
He said that the networking platform was for Zimbabwean professionals to leverage their skills and knowledge by getting into contact with people that they would otherwise not meet in their day-to- day lives.
“It’s a platform which is open to everyone and it’s intended to leverage our skills and resources for the development of our country. We believe that if Zimbabwe is going to go to a new level, it has to be based on certain values, one of which is trust. And to build trust, people have to meet and know each other.
After the keynote speech, members of the audience could be seen in huddles of twos and threes chatting to each other in a free and relaxed atmosphere and exchanging business cards.
“Nice meeting you. What do you do? Can I have your business card?” were refrains that this reporter overheard as people put the philosophy of networking into practice at the meeting.