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Networking in Davos, Switzerland

Aired February 13, 2005 - 08:30:00   ET


RICHARD QUEST, CNN ANCHOR: Alone in the wilderness with only my thoughts for company. But man is not an island. We are social animals. We need to connect with people.
On CNN BUSINESS TRAVELLER, the nature of networking.

Hello and welcome to CNN BUSINESS TRAVELLER. I'm Richard Quest, this month reporting fro Davos in Switzerland.

Now, it may seem hard to believe, but just at the bottom of this mountain there are thousands of political leaders, chief executives and cultural gurus. They're attending the annual meeting of the world economic forum. They're discussing events with people they've never met before. They're making new contacts. They're swapping business cards.

In short, they are networking, which is the focus of this month's program.


(voice-over): Netiquette: the dos and don'ts of networking. I get a lesson from a networking guru. Movie intermission: Angelina Jolie tells BUSINESS TRAVELLER about her most important role, and it's a long way from Hollywood. And killing time in Klosters. Letting the reins take the strain.



U.S. SENATOR JOHN MCCAIN (R-AZ): How are you, you man? It's good to see you. I watch you all the time on CNN. How are you?

QUEST: I'm trying to do a bit of networking.

MCCAIN: Well, that's good. I'm glad you're here. How have you been?

QUEST: I'm very well.

MCCAIN: I've enjoyed many of your more unusual journeys that you have taken to some strange and bizarre places.

QUEST: Parts of your own country.

MCCAIN: That's right. Exactly.

QUEST: Thanks very much.

MCCAIN: You're doing good work.

QUEST: Thank you very much.

The beauty of networking. You just never know who you are going to meet.

Well, I've come from the outside, the cold, into the hothouse of the World Economic Forum here at Davos. Now, I'm going to need more than a few business cards and the odd personal greeting to learn how to make decent contacts with this lot here.

I'm going to need some expert advise. Dr. Ivan Misner.


DR. IVAN MISNER, NETWORKING GURU: If you walk into an event and you look at the crowd, where do you even start? A lot of people come to me and say I don't even know where to begin. It's a large group of people and I'm not even sure where to start in that large group of people.

We've got some diagrams here on the back of the wall. Here is a great example of a mixture. You look at that for the first time and you go, well, it's just a group of people. Where do I begin. This doesn't answer anything for me.

But if you then look at some of the other diagrams that we have up here, it is a lot clearer.

This first one up here is what we call a closed two. You have two people who are standing parallel to one another, talking to each other. It's difficult to break into that kind of a conversation. You're clearly barging in when two people are standing face to face, parallel, having a conversation, so you feel uncomfortable doing it.

QUEST: Hello. Forgive me for interrupting.

MISNER: On the other hand, if you have an open two, like this, this is a group of two people that are open to introductions. They're clearly leaving a space open for somebody else to kind of just sashay right on into the position and listen in and strike up a conversation with the others.

QUEST: Hello. This used to be the Singapore ambassador to the United Nations. How nice to meet you.

MISNER: Here is another example of -- this is a close three, where we have three people standing in in effect a triangle, and there is really no room to step in.

QUEST: You abandon that one?

MISNER: Yes, absolutely. Abandon that one.

Now, here is an open three, where it is very easy to step on into a group like this.

Now, what's interesting about this is now if you take a look at this same picture, you can see very clearly a closed two, here's an open two, a closed three, an open three, a closed group.

Now you look at this and all of the sudden it makes sense.

QUEST: I think this is an example of a closed three. Here we have a closed four. I'm guessing these two are an open two. I could probably make it around and join an open two.

You get the idea. It actually works.

MISNER: When you get into the meeting, you have to have a badge, and the badge really should say not only your name but your profession. Because I can strike up a conversation with anybody on the planet if I just know what profession they're in.

QUEST: Head of the Negotiation Affairs Department. That's a title -- that's what you call a good title.

MISNER: I see a lot of people go to business meetings and they put their first name on only, or their first and last name, and not the company that they are with. It's difficult to strike up a conversation with someone if you don't know who they are and what they do.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I've been looking around trying to figure out what the card process is, and then Scotland Ministry Expert (UNINTELLIGIBLE).

QUEST: Finally, somebody who knows what they're talking about.

MISNER: And business cards. You need to have your business cards with you, and I'm thinking you probably don't have your business cards, do you?

QUEST: They're in my hotel room.

MISNER: That's very bad. Well, what good are they in your hotel room?

QUEST: Can I get one of those? I don't have -- oh, I'll send you one. What a pathetic networker I am, I don't even have a card for you.

The načve amongst us, like me, goes for the biggest name in the room.


QUEST: And that's a mistake?

MISNER: It absolutely is. You want to go for people who know the biggest name in the room. If you get to know the people who know the biggest name in the room, an introduction to that person goes a lot further than you just walking up to the biggest name in the room and introducing yourself.

QUEST: Final question. Is networking really a posh phrase for mutual back scratching?

MISNER: I believe that networking is about the philosophy of Givers Gain. If you give business to people, you'll get business in return. It's the law of reciprocity. If I help you, you'll help me and we'll all be better as a result of that, and that's not necessarily negative. As a matter of fact, it can be quite positive.


QUEST: And when we come back, I'll be putting my newly acquired networking skills to the test as I try to get a meeting with the actress Angelina Jolie. She is here in a different role.


QUEST: The place to stay in Davos during the forum is here at the Steigenberger Belvedere. This is where premieres and presidents, people like Bill Clinton, Bono and Bill Gates rest their heads during the week. It was here that the Oscar-winning actress Angelina Jolie made an appearance earlier on.

Fresh from her movie blockbuster "Alexander," she was here in a very different role, as a goodwill ambassador for the UNHCR, the United Nations Refugee Agency.


When we look at your role here in Davos, why you came, what you hope to achieve, how would best describe that?

ANGELINA JOLIE, U.N. GOODWILL AMB.: I've been working with UNHCR for four years, the U.N. Refugee Organization.

I first just wanted to care and be with people and spend time and learn but the more I traveled, the more I realized I had to get involved in speaking out. I had to start to talk to my own government. I had to start to get politically active, or active in more ways than just being emotionally caring and spending time with families.

So I find myself very nervous to be here, and kind of a fish out of water, but I'm finding a lot of good people and a lot of good solutions.

In fact, you meet with people and senators or mayors or these amazing people who are heading these companies, and here when I've been speaking to them we're focused on humanitarian issues, so you're getting the sense that everybody -- you're getting the best of everybody, really.

QUEST: As you've done your tours around the world for UNHCR, they have been moving, they have been descriptive and they are a world apart from your normal life in Hollywood and in acting, isn't it?

JOLIE: Yes. It's becoming more the world that I'm comfortable in, to be honest.

There was a time when I didn't know how to combine the worlds. Now I'm understanding how to combine the worlds and I can be doing a film, and I can be discussing with the other actors about what they're doing, or we can talk about -- or if I am making money, I'm aware of how much of that money I'm just going to -- I can build schools or do things.

So it doesn't feel so divided. I don't divide it. I just keep the same wherever I am.

QUEST: Which gives you more pride, winning an Oscar or helping a refugee?

JOLIE: Oh, helping a refugee. Absolutely. Absolutely. I love spending time with refugees. They're strong, smart people who inspire me. I feel fulfilled when I am with them. Certainly it has changed me as a person. I think it's changed me for the better. It's made me a better mother. It's made me a better woman. It's made me a more compassionate individual, so I am just grateful for the experience.

QUEST: But you can't do one without the other. The fact I'm sitting here talking to you is a product of the first.

JOLIE: I'm very, very grateful for the opportunities I've had in Hollywood, to be able to give me the chance to be here, to be having -- you know, to be invited to have an interview with you, you know, and so, yes, I'm very, very grateful for it.

But when I just had celebrity and I wasn't being useful with it and I had nothing to do with it and it was just making money and people taking pictures, it felt very bad and it felt like a very shallow, empty world that I was -- that I didn't feel right about.

To find a way to make it useful feels great.

QUEST: Thank you very much indeed.

JOLIE: Thank you.


QUEST: After a long day's networking, you've probably ended up with pockets full of business cards, ready to be put into your computer when you get around to it. Maybe you'll do it tomorrow morning, or probably you won't do it at all. The cards will get filed away in the bottom of a drawer.

However, by using new technology all of that could change.

Devices like Card Stamp make the whole business of keeping your contacts up to date that much easier.


(voice-over): Traditionally, networking has involved personal meetings, but these days technology has had an impact. E-mail, PDAs, texting, WiFi, they've all effected the way we network.

CHRIS ANDERSON, "WIRED": Technology certainly doesn't replace traditional forms of networking. It still helps to put a face to a name, to put a voice to a name, to actually know somebody, but once you do have a connection, once you do have some sort of a bond, technology makes it really easy to maintain and build on it.

QUEST: The idea was ceased upon by the cofounder of the e-contacts company Plaxo while he was a student at Stanford University in the United States.

TODD MASONIS, PLAXO: Plaxo was created to solve the problem of out of date contact information. The problem we saw was that technology seemed to be making this problem worse. Seemed like all of my friends had cell phone numbers that were changing, e-mail addresses that were changing, and it was very hard to keep track of people and figure out where everyone was going.

And so we came up with this idea for creating a network where I would never have to manage my address book anymore. It would simply stay up to date.

QUEST: By synchronizing address books with e-mail platforms such as Outlook, Plaxo has won over 5 million users with 20,000 new members joining the network every day. Impressive stuff.

Still, the company's vice president admits it's no substitute for the personal touch.

MASONIS: I don't think that we'll ever supplant face to face meeting. I think that Plaxo in specific is a tool to make those interactions easier.

QUEST: The Internet means that we can now network without even leaving home using any of the online networking Web sites to make new contacts or get in touch with old ones.

Some mix online networking with face to face events.

AMANDA NISSMAN, AUTHOR: OK everyone, you know the routine.

QUEST: You've heard of speed dating. This is speed networking. Everyone is strictly allocated five minutes face time before being moved on to the next meeting.

NISSMAN: It is a great way to meet a lot of people in a very short period of time and also as an after-event follow-up we send all of our attendees a follow-up e-mail with everyone's contact information. So even if they didn't have a chance to connect during the high-speed networking, they were able to e-mail people from the list later on and follow-up that way.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Right now here at Davos we're using Blackberries and cell phones and Davos mail, et cetera, to arrange meetings more quickly. We're also able to sort of maintain contact with our network outside of Davos. But then, fundamentally, what you're doing is you just make it easier to have that really high density, high bandwidth meeting, face to face, that you can do here better than anywhere else.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hello, how are you.

QUEST: So if a phone call is worth 10 e-mails, then a handshake must be worth 100 phone calls. As our guru might say, networking is a contact sport.

Why not include me in your network by sending me an e-mail. The usual e-mail address, I might even post it on our Web site,, alongside all the other goodies.



QUEST: Welcome back to BUSINESS TRAVELLER on networking. Just look at the view from up here. Now we're really flying.

For the delegates who have made it here to Davos for the economic forum, getting here was made much easier because the world's airlines have indulged in a bit of networking of their own: the setting up of the airline alliances: Star, Sky Team and One World.


(voice-over): They are the biggest airlines in the world, and yet alone they are not big enough. So getting together has become the mantra. Three big alliances have been formed. Star, One World and Sky Team, covering every part of the globe.

For travelers like Rowena Chio, loyally flying one alliance pays dividends.

ROWENA CHIO, TRAVELER: I perceive there are two reasons for collecting points. One is the value benefits, like being able to use business cost tracking or being able to use the lounge. And the second reason for collecting points would be if you wanted to redeem them.

QUEST: The whole idea of alliances was to ensure passengers stay within the family. If one airline doesn't fly somewhere, another member probably does.

Matthew SIMONS, FREQUENT FLYER: They can travel across the world and pick up a number of airlines, which also means availability and scheduling are easier. And also, of course, they know all the miles and the points which can provide extra benefits.

QUEST: The airlines do benefit. Since they can no longer afford to fly just about everywhere, so there partners help pick up the slack, and they constantly are feeding each other passengers through the major hubs.

VINCENT KNOOPS, KLM: As a member of Sky Team Alliance, KLM is one of the providers of these 14,000 daily flights, of course many more flights than we could ever offer on our own, and by that membership I think also the product of KLM becomes more effective.

QUEST: Airlines can also slash costs by sharing IT infrastructure and bulk buying of fuel. They may even start bulk buying planes.

Alliances are the airlines solution to a difficult situation.

GEORGE YIO (ph), BUSINESS SCHOLAR: Airlines, because of national regulations and government protection, are not able to consolidate and create multinational companies, so they are really required to create these multinational alliances as a substitute for real integration and creation of integrated companies.

QUEST: Of course, there are those who say that the alliances are really an excuse for airlines to cut back on certain routes, but that's not borne out by some studies.

YIO (ph): You really only need two or three competitors on each route for there to be a competitive price offering, and also the discount airlines will keep the major airlines honest in terms of their pricing, so I think the consumer will continue to benefit.

QUEST: In the end, every serious business traveler knows the rules and regulations of the alliance to which they belong, where they fly, what they offer, and most important of all the chance to earn and burn those frequent flyer miles around the globe.


I am clearly no good at this networking business. No one here seems to want to network with me. I guess this is a good moment to leave the forum. After all, I've got TWO HOURS TO KILL. I'll go up the road to Klosters.


TE-HUIS HEMOPO: Hello. My name is Te-Huis Hemopo and I'm going to spend a couple of hours with you around Klosters.

I came out here in December 1977 from New Zealand and intended to travel around Europe for six months, and I've now been here for 27 years.

Klosters has a population of around 3,500, 4,000, something like that. There are a lot of tourist that come here for skiing, of course. They come down from skiing, they call on the bars on their way down and a lot of people go out for dinner in the evenings, or the discos, or take a sleigh ride with us.

We take them for a drive up through the mountains, through the countryside, and take them out to dinner, like this restaurant here, (UNINTELLIGIBLE). We have taken Prince Charles two or three times with us on the sleigh. Diana was with him once, and his brother Andrew and Fergie.

Up ahead of us is the (UNINTELLIGIBLE) where we are going for lunch.

Here we are at the (UNINTELLIGIBLE) where the meals are nice and simple.

We're on our way back into Klosters now, and I hope you have enjoyed the ride up until now, and we'll take you to a little place called the (UNINTELLIGIBLE), used earlier as a place to dry the green grass cut for hay. There is now a little bar there known better to the skiers. Now they come down from the slopes and call on there usually for a last drink or the start of their evening.

OK. Here we are at the bottom of the slopes, where everyone comes to start the evening by having a few after-ski drinks here.

This is the Klosters Sports Center, where hockey is held, and hurling, and it is used for skating. We are at the end of our trip for Klosters. I hope you have enjoyed the little trip around here and hope to see you again.



QUEST: Right. Time to do a little bit of shredding myself. That's CNN BUSINESS TRAVELLER for this month. I'm Richard Quest, in Davos, Switzerland.

Wherever your travels may take you, I hope it's profitable. I'll see you next month.



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