Here is my challenge, to you and myself: lets not become a nation of zombie offices. Lets unplug our headphones, put down our phones, resist the urge to email and make sure we all take the time to speak to one another, share ideas and collaborate where we can everyday. Not only will this create much healthier and more vibrant offices, but we will be more productive too.
It is likely to be some time before fully automated cars are taking over our streets, but the technologies that will underpin this future are becoming increasingly common. Driverless features, such as automated parking and speed sensors, have been introduced into modern cars and proven to be very popular amongst many city drivers.
Now you have your dream list and you've found them on advanced search and groups - what next? Be bold. Introduce yourself. Send them a connection request, comment on their group discussion... I'm not a huge fan of cheesy quotes, but this one has always resonated with me: "Doors will be opened to those bold enough to knock."
Networking is still left off the syllabus at our schools and universities. I gave a talk to 40 undergraduate students from the Netherlands recently. Speaking to them before the presentations, very few of them were aware of networking, other than perhaps as some concept that they had been told would be important to them.
A successful life is down to how adept you are at attracting personal and professional opportunities into your life, and the lives of everyone else you know. Meeting new people face-to-face is the single best way of doing that. It applies equally for purely social events as well as work related parties, drinks receptions etc.
I firmly believe the Alzheimer's Society is a 'learning organisation' at its best. Their model fully integrates and supports its staff, volunteers, sufferers and their families. And the Press Office's skill, hard work and mentoring of volunteers has led to triumph after triumph in the improvement of the lives of sufferers and families.
While a nerve-wracking experience for some, networking at events can garner useful business connections, though you'll need to be equipped with more than a good handshake. I've gathered some pointers together based on experience (the good, the bad and the ugly) in the hope they will help prevent networking opportunities from feeling like the first day of school - again.
It looks unlikely that the job market will ever become tame but that does not mean it cannot be bested. It is up to us as individuals to bring as much as we can to the table when it comes to the assault course of assessment centres and interviews faced when we graduate from university. And so as repetitive as it may seem, it really is worth minding the gap.
With a few public sector exceptions, Brussels is where meritocracy comes to die. And it takes its last breath in the naïve hopes of trainees. No one wastes any time letting us know that we are here to network. Such importance is placed on this I suspect there may be a strategic memo somewhere entitled 'Combatting Youth Unemployment in the EU: the Art of Networking'.
Recent research shows that our phones are proven to be affecting the way we talk, think, have sex, eat and even go to the loo. We have become slaves to technology, only this time, our hands are handcuffed to our phones. Those red circular icons on our home screens have become our very own version of a newborn baby crying out for attention.
This is the age of collaboration and reciprocity. Share what you know with others: send a link to an article you have read, order a book and put it in the mail, help someone who looks like they are having an attack of shyness across the corner of a cocktail party room. Above all, be interested in ideas and others, not just yourself.