JCU Welcomes Benedetto Buono for a Talk on Business Networking

Professor Antonella Salvatore’s Continuing Education class welcomed Benedetto Buono for a talk on “Business Networking and the Importance of Human Relations for a Successful Career in the Digital Age,” on September 9, 2021. Buono holds an EMBA from MIP-Politecnico di Milano and he is a manager, ‘business angel’, and book author.

Benedetto Buono

Benedetto Buono

Buono discussed his book called Business Networking. L’importanza delle relazioni umane per una carriera di successo nell’epoca digitale (Flaccovio Dario, 2021), in which he talks about the importance of human relations in the workplace, especially in the digital age. Buono stressed the importance of creating and maintaining human relations and networks. “Relations are like a seed, and we have to be like a gardener and make sure that it becomes a plant,” he says.

According to Buono, when talking about human relations, quality is better than quantity. In the 1990s, British psychologist and anthropologist Robin Dunbar advanced the idea that 150 is the maximum number of people with whom one person can maintain a stable social relationship. Of these, the first 5 are a person’s loved ones, the following 15 are close friends, 50 are friends, and the rest are the “meaningful contacts.” Buono believes that “every single social contact that we have deserves our attention.”

Buono cited as an inspiration Adam Grant’s book Give and Take: Why Helping Others Drives Our Success (Orion Publishing Co, 2014), and his idea that “givers” might be more successful than “takers.” Buono added that each of us should have three jobs. The first one is the primary job that one has, the second one is a personal branding job, and the third one is networking. Moreover, regardless of the field they’re operating in, everyone should have empathy, and be a good listener.

According to Buono, earning people’s trust is essential to attract opportunities. When people know someone, and their personal brand, they might recommend that person for a job, as it happens in some companies where employees that bring in new talents are often rewarded or given a bonus. Now that a significant number of interactions no longer happen in person, Buono believes that one should be trustworthy online as well. That means making sure to have a good LinkedIn presence, presenting oneself when reaching out to people one doesn’t know, and politely replying to anyone who reaches out, even if they’re not acquaintances. This way, networking becomes not only pleasant, but it acquires an economic dimension as well, and becomes a win-win situation for everyone involved.

According to Sociology Professor Mark Granovetter, 83 percent of a person’s job opportunities are found thanks to their “weak social ties,” which coincide with Dunbar’s 20+ social relationships, namely friends and business acquaintances. Buono also talked about American psychologist Stanley Milgram’s “Six Degrees of Separation Theory,” which states that on average, any two individuals in the world are separated by five connections. In other words, with only six contacts, one can reach anyone in the world. But according to Buono, nowadays with LinkedIn, one can reach anyone in the world with just one click and two or three connections. For this reason, it’s important to always be cordial, involve others, and be available and open to others.

Buono concluded by saying that the best moment to start building a network is yesterday, because it’s something that takes time, so ideally people should start as early as their university years. “Life is like coffee, you can add all the sugar you want, but if you want it to become sweet you need to stir it, because nothing happens if you stay still,” Buono concluded.