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Posted June 26, 2009
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Good solid book on the subject for the beginner
Years ago when I first started to realize how important it was to be connected I just went at it willy nilly - trying to meet everyone. Now I see that there is much more to it than that. You should set out to do networking with a plan. You should know not just the why, but the how to go about it and realize how to focus on getting people into your circle who can help you to move forward.
Ivan Misner and Michelle Donovan should almost call this book Networking 101, but I would imagine that this title has been taken already. Instead they named it The 29% Solution: 52 Weekly Networking Success Strategies after the successful participant of the famous Six Degrees of Separation experiment many years ago. Ivan Misner is world famous for being the founder if the global business networking group Business Networking International, or BNI as it is commonly known. He also has a doctorate and has been a professor of Business Administration in southern California for a number of years, so he writes from authority. And although this is her first book, Michelle Donovan is known in business circles as "The Referability Expert" and has been in the networking business for some time in the western Pennsylvania area so she is no stranger to the networking game herself.
My first comment of the review has to do with the fact that Misner and Donovan start from the premise that the reader knows absolutely zilch about business networking so they set out to give the reader the advice and tools that will be needed to get off the ground and get within the 29% networking group. For instance they made sure that you know there is a very big distinction between a contact and a connection and why this distinction should be meaningful to you. In this sense of taking the beginner by the hand I believe the book really does a great job. For some of us who have been at the networking game for some time lots of the material could be second nature, but there was still some advantage to going through this. The authors offer more than advice but they also offer their vast experience. All of the information I saw that they put out is very practical and would be the same kind of information that I would offer myself to wall flowers who need help.
On top of this there were tips in there that many of us more experienced networkers could use and incorporate into our own business practices - so that alone would be worth the price of the book for the non-beginners. The book had a very holistic view of the nature of constantly working at expanding one's circles and I can't see anything wrong with that.
Before I finish with this I will say that I did appreciate that the authors did not take this subject as a one way street. In order to properly network, they assert, you need to put in to the network as well, otherwise it is like trying to drive a car with no gas. There was a great example in the book about periodically just letting people know that you can help them with other contacts even when this had no relation to you. They showed in one case how this really turned the flow on for one networker with inquiries starting to flood inbound as well. Now that's what I like to see! Why, because the authors were very correct in this assessment: This is how networking really works!
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