What I Learned from Listening to the First Half of the Top 40

Every Sunday morning I turn the FM radio onto my local country station for background while I get ready for my walks and workouts that take up my weekend mornings.  I learned something from those first two hours of the Country Top 40.

Some real hard working artists make up the hits between 40 and 20. Oh, sure, everybody can probably hum a few bars from just about any of the top 20.  But listening to those 20 songs not yet there (or on their way back down) has become an insightful exercise. And not just because of the music itself.  There are lessons here.

  • It might be the first time you’ve heard the artist.
  • They may never get beyond those 20 rankings.
  • Some are on the way back down from either the top 10 or from as high as they get.
  • Then there are those who leap from this second tier of the rankings to the top 20 almost overnight.

Whatever the reason, these folks have worked hard to get where they are.  And while they may not go very high (“one-hit” wonders, it is quite an accomplsihment to make a national radio show no matter for how long.

So it is with networking.  When you walk into the typical networking event, there’s a strata of who’s in the room.  Take a look around and see:

  • First-timers and novices.  Maybe their first event or their first time at this event.
  • Some that are trying this “networking thing” for the first (and maybe last) time.
  • There are a number of long-timers in the room, too.  Some are past their prime and struggling with waht to be doing; others that are willing to share their knowledge with the younger attendees.
  • And then there are the shooting stars–the people who know the room before they arrive and either come back in command of the room or move on to the next, more-influential event.

Assessing a room and a network is an ongoing process.  Like those musical artists working the rankings, so should we be assessing the scene and improving our skills–honing our networking abilities.  If one method or approach doesn’t make the grade, then try the next one.  Keep moving and keep performing. And also be prepared to know your place in the top 40.


*Thanks to Bob Kingsley and the CT40 Countdown for the inspiration for this post

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