The cicada: networking at 120 dB

If you live in Southwestern Virginia or West Virginia, I bet you haven’t missed a networking party that is going on right now.


This is a Magicicada from Virginia. Courtesy: B. Alcorn

If you live in Southwestern Virginia or West Virginia, I bet you haven’t missed a networking party that is going on right now. It goes on day and night. Sometimes it even sounds like it is coming from inside your head! It is the chorus of the Magicicada. This is the 17-year, Brood I cicada, also known as the Blue Ridge cicada. 

Why are they “singing”? Well, you know why! It’s always the same thing. They are trying to find a mate, of course. They have several different sounds to accomplish this. Really—I don’t think they are doing this just to annoy human beings, but who really knows for sure? They really are networking to meet their spouse. I bet they are saying things like, “So you like to eat oak leaves? I know the perfect cicada for you. She’s wonderful! She’s got the most intense red eyes. You’ve got to meet her. Let me give her a call and introduce you two. Unfortunately she is a little hard of hearing, so this may take a couple of hours...”

Like all great networkers, the cicadas network together to be more effective and create more “buzz” in the community. Did you know that they can reach 120 dB together? Talk about getting your message out there! Having a concise and simple message, sharing it with your networking strategic partners, and then having them share it, can be quite effective.

Did you know that the cicadas form broods (groups), to not only get their message out together and louder, but also to make it more difficult for birds to locate them and make a meal out of them? Their chatter actually makes it harder for birds to communicate and hone in on them. I’ve always thought that networking with a team is a great way to beat the negative chatter that the occasional unscrupulous competitor creates in the community in an attempt to work against you. While you can’t control all of the word-of-mouth messages out there, you can create such a positive buzz about your business through your network, that it becomes the dominate message. 

And what about persistence in networking your message, you may ask? Anyone where I live can tell you—these cicadas are indeed persistent with their networking message, and they repeat it, and repeat it, and repeat it… Once you have found your song, maybe this is a question you have taught your networking strategic partners so they can qualify a great referral for you, be sure to repeatedly get that message out there. I bet it is the lonely cicada that spoke his message only once and expected that to be enough! It takes time and repetition to get your positive message out there. Keep broadcasting your message, once is not enough.

So next time the cicadas are keeping you up at night, remember that they are just enthusiastic teachers—of great networking! Make that very enthusiastic.

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