How to dig for gold ... every time you shake a hand!
The Anglo American Corporation just did something really clever. And it didn’t require the finances of South Africa’s biggest company to do it – it just took a little initiative. In fact, it was so simple, you wonder why they hadn’t done it before….

Anglo went digging for gold…among its past acquaintances.

Here’s how: Every year they sponsor a certain amount of scholarships, sports teams and promising personalities. Tens of thousands have enjoyed this ‘golden lift’ on the ladder of life. But somehow, Anglo had lost touch with many of these highly skilled souls.

So they held a gala evening. Its purpose? To bring together as many Anglo beneficiaries as they could find, and create their very own Alumni – a body of talented people on whose skills they can draw, from now on.

How often don’t we reinvent the wheel when looking for help?

It’s not uncommon for a South African businessman to take his printing order to a stranger, when his best friend makes prints for a living. Or to hire an international consultant right after spending lunch chatting with a top-notch South African equivalent.

I remember coming back from the World Championships of Public Speaking, and a few weeks later, listening to a close friend of mine earnestly inquire of me whether I knew where she might find a motivational speaker…? "Yes! You’re talking to one!" It hadn’t even occurred to her.


As the days tick over, you will meet people in a variety of fields. As you do, why not add their names to a dedicated phone book; your very own skills resource database? By creating your own Alumni, not only will you be promoting small business in your area, but you will generally enjoy the benefits of the ‘personal touch’ from vendors and service providers who actually know you.


The next thing Anglo did was to encourage everyone to network as much as possible. A networking function gives you the opportunity to become a part of someone else’s ‘Alumni.’

So how do you get yourself onto someone else’s skills database?’

Here are 7 tips for effective networking:

  • Break the ice with a stranger by talking about something you have in common, for example: ask how they know the host, comment on a presentation that was made earlier, or use a reference to the food or drinks as a conversation starter.
  • Show genuine interest in what other people do, and they will be more willing to listen to you.
  • Be present and attentive when talking to someone. Never stare over their shoulder, or appear agitated, as if you’ve lost interest and are ‘sniffing out’ your next target.
  • In order to give your own cards out, start by asking for theirs. Then give yours in return. Don’t just ‘thrust’ your card at someone in the hopes of getting business. It’s poor form.
  • Try to use people’s names
  • Be brief – don’t take up too much of a person’s time. You can excuse yourself quite easily with a phrase like, "(Name), it was a pleasure meeting you. I’d better go meet some of the other people here, but I will be in touch."
  • If you promise to call or email a person after the event, be sure to follow up!

Anglo’s initiative was a smart one. Why don’t we follow where the way has been paved in gold? Being Proudly South African is all about using the resources all around us, and making sure that our own resources are available too.

It turns out we’re all involved in digging for gold. And South Africa’s dripping with the stuff! It exchanges hands with every business card you collect!

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Would you like to book Douglas to speak on this corporate concept in your next meeting or seminar? Call: 072 252-2675, or email: For more info, go to:

Article by: Douglas Kruger -