by Vonnie Mikkelsen, CEO
The expression “movers and shakers“ makes me smile, and at the same time cringe, just a tad. Perhaps because itʼs a dated expression, even cliché. But also because in the years I spent abroad, I often found myself in otherwise engaging conversations that quickly went sideways because of some random, enigmatic and quirky colloquialism, like “movers and shakers.ˮ
Which brings me to “networking.”
A quick Google search pulls up a definition on Wikipedia: “Networking is a socioeconomic business activity by which businesspeople and entrepreneurs meet to form business relationships and to recognize, create, or act upon business opportunities, share information and seek potential partners for ventures.” Nice. Effective. But we often will fall back on clichés like, “join the movers and shakers at our weekly networking event.”
Try explaining to a non-native speaker how a room full of “movers and shakers” is one where you need - or even want - to be. Mover? Shaker? Who are these people? Who is moving, and where to? Iʼm not, so I donʼt think Iʼll go. What exactly is a shaker, and what do they shake?
Imagine my invitation to a Japanese friend to join me at an event with the “movers” and the “shakers.” I first get the youʼre-a-mad-woman look, and I quickly realize my suggestion is misunderstood.
I stop and think. Oh right. So, I explain a “mover” is someone who makes things happen (one who is a decision-maker in their business, a deal-maker in their industry) and a “shaker” is one who shakes things up (a change agent, innovator, a catalytic leader with connections.) OK, so that begins to make a little more sense. Now, my friend understands why they might want to attend a meeting with the “movers and the shakers.”
I learned the value of breaking down colloquialisms to discover powerful meanings. Why are we drawn to networking of all shapes and sizes? To connect with like-minded colleagues, build relationships, explore new ideas, and create mutually beneficial partnerships. To be, and to connect with our fellow movers and shakers is business networking.