In April be a networking fool

The word fool comes from the Latin word follis, meaning a bag or sack, a large inflated ball, a pair of bellows. So a fool referred to a person that resembled the bellows or the inflated ball – a windbag.

Fool first meant a mentally deficient person, an idiot. Then it was used to describe a member of a royal or noble household who provided entertainment by joke telling or peculiar antics. It was not always clear whether the fool was a professional entertainer (otherwise known as a jester) or an amusing idiot.

So what is the modern fool? The negative definitions are someone who:

  • is deficient in judgment, sense, or understanding
  • acts unwisely on an occasion
  • has been tricked, duped or made to appear ridiculous

But to be called a fool is not always a bad thing. Nowadays a fool can be a person:

  • with a talent or enthusiasm for a certain activity (eg a dancing fool)
  • who subverts convention or varies from social conformity in order to reveal a spiritual or moral truth

In Tarot, The Fool card can stand for a new start. When it turns up you could be ready to make a move – it can be renewal and a brand new beginning.

So today? While everyone is being an April Fool telling people that their flies are undone or that their shoelaces are untied I encourage you to be a social and networking fool. Don’t waste your time on pranks. Make a brand new beginning to your networking efforts. How?

Treat the day as a day to change the way you talk to people. If you are shy or just getting a bit jaded I want you to challenge yourself. Your homework today is to do at least three of the following:

  • Ring a friend that you haven’t spoken to for a year
  • Ring an old customer that you haven’t spoken to for a year
  • Talk to a complete stranger on the bus, train or in a café (but not in a confronting way)
  • Engage in a conversation with someone that you only ever say hello to – ask the waiter or waitress at the café if they are having a good day
  • Sign up to join a new club, Rotary, Lions, or a sporting club to meet people in the community – join the Chamber of Commerce

What is the worst thing that can happen? You might look like a networking fool!