Strategic Connections: The New Face of Networking in a Collaborative World


Today’s organizations are collaborative. With old command-and-control methods replaced by openness and transparency, networking has become an essential professional skill—expected of everyone, at every level.

Unveiling eight indispensable competencies for the new Network-Oriented Workforce, Strategic Connections provides practical advice for building better, more productive business relationships. Readers will discover how to:

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Strategic Connections: The New Face of Networking in a Collaborative World

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Today’s organizations are collaborative. With old command-and-control methods replaced by openness and transparency, networking has become an essential professional skill—expected of everyone, at every level.

Unveiling eight indispensable competencies for the new Network-Oriented Workforce, Strategic Connections provides practical advice for building better, more productive business relationships. Readers will discover how to:

Commit to a positive, proactive networking mindset • Align networking activities with individual and organizational objectives • Leverage their contacts by organizing them into strategic groups • Earn trust—a prerequisite for collaboration • Boost their social acumen and increase their likeability • Master conversational skills and deepen interactions • Employ storytelling to make communications memorable • Use networking to deliver value to the company

Thanks to technology, new contacts are only a click away. But the level of connection and collaboration required for real success demands advanced face-to-face relationship-building skills. This book gives you the tools you need to meet goals, execute strategies, foster innovation, and make yourself invaluable to your organization.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780814434963
  • Publisher: AMACOM Books
  • Publication date: 1/7/2015
  • Pages: 256
  • Sales rank: 1,411,935
  • Product dimensions: 6.30 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

ANNE BABER and LYNNE WAYMON cofounded Contacts Count, an international training firm, 24 years ago. They are the authors of Make Your Contacts Count. ANDRÉ ALPHONSO manages Contacts Count in Australia and India. JIM WYLDE is a Principal Consultant and Certified Trainer with the firm.

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Read an Excerpt


The Overwhelming Case for Face to Face

Here's the challenge: Network with a new purpose, collaborate in ways you never have before, and impact your organization. A new paradigm is emerging, a paradigm we call the Network-Oriented Workplace.

In the new workplace, whether you're a CEO or an employee, you have a new role to play--and new opportunities for contributing to your organization's success. Strategic Connections shows you how to commit to this new networker identity.

But, to become a player in the new environment, you'll need more than the mindset. You'll need to master advanced face-to-face skills. What's the value of face to face? Trust. Without trust, the collaboration needed to excel in today's environment is very unlikely.

We know something about this topic. Since 1990, we've been talking about, thinking about, and training people in face-to-face networking. A wide variety of corporate, academic, and government organizations have been not only our clients, but also our proving ground for the state-of-the-art tools and techniques presented in this, our eighth, book.

The Way to Collaboration

Figure P--1, The Big Picture, depicts the only route to collaboration. There are no shortcuts. Start reading at the bottom and work your way up. Equipped with The 8 Competencies for the Network-Oriented Workplace (see Figure P--2), you can move along to teach your contacts, both inside and outside the organization, to trust you. With trust, you can advance to relationships that are more productive and useful. As these relationships progress, your networks are energized. With your networking contacts, you connect, converse, and ultimately collaborate. (Many leaders assume--and it's a huge misconception--that most people instinctively know how to take these steps and that there are no skills that can speed you onward. Those assumptions simply are not true.)

Chapters 1 through 8 are devoted to helping you acquire each of these competencies, and each chapter is filled with examples, tips, tools, strategies, and stories to help you learn. Mastering these skills will assure that you're able to use networking to make the strategic connections you need to achieve your goals at work, in your career, and for the wider organization.

Make an Impact

In the new Network-Oriented Workplace, you direct your networking efforts to impact the big organizational issues.

• Your collaboration impacts strategy execution, speeding responsiveness and improving productivity.

• Your collaboration impacts innovation, prompting more risk taking, thinking outside the box, and experimenting.

• Your collaboration impacts engagement, raising satisfaction and eliciting your best.

• Your collaboration impacts competitiveness, streamlining processes, bringing in the business, and keeping and expanding the current client base.

This book is your guide for creating your success, as well as contributing to the success of your organization, by developing the networking skills that drive 21st-century collaborative workplaces.

--Anne Baber, Lynne Waymon,

André Alphonso, and Jim Wylde

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Table of Contents


Preface: The Compelling Case for Face to Face IX

The Way to Collaboration IX

Make an Impact XI

Introduction: The Eight Must-Have Skills for Strategic Connections 1

What's the Back Story? 2

Why Put Face to Face Out Front? 4

What Are the Benefits? 5

How to Use This Book 9

1 Commit to a New Networker Identity / 10

Strategic Connections: Explore Opportunities 10

Analyze Your Attitudes 11

The Nine Biggest Misconceptions About Networking 12

The Definition of Networking 15

Become a Strategic Networker 16

Activate Your Networker Identity 17

Manage Your Mindset 19

2 Take a Strategic Approach / 26

Strategic Connections: Raise Rainmakers 26

Networking in the Collaborative Culture 27

Put Some Purpose in Your Small Talk 33

Connect at ChoicePoints 38

Connect in Groups 43

Make the Most of Your Memberships 51

Choose Your Goal 54

3 Envision Your Ideal Network / 61

Strategic Connections: Link Up HR Leaders 61

The Four Nets 62

Developing Your Nets 73

Your KeyNets 75

4 Develop Trusting Relationships / 83

Strategic Connections: Reach Out in the Community 83

Teach People to Trust You 84

Move Through the Six Stages of Trust 88

Renew Dormant Ties 93

Analyze Your Contacts 94

Next Steps: Consider the Risk and Value 97

Frequently Asked Questions 105

5 Increase Your Social Acumen / 108

Strategic Connections: Make Memberships Worthwhile 108

What Is Social Acumen? 109

The Name Exchange 109

Join Groups Comfortably 116

11 Tips for Avoiding Awkward Moments 119

End with the Future in Mind 123

The Likeability Link 128

6 Deepen Interactions / 133

Strategic Connections: Support Women's Leadership 133

Why People Don't Talk 134

Talk: Get into Dialogues That Build and Sustain Relationships 135

Question: Ask Questions That Make People Stop and Think 141

Listen: Pay Attention to the Three

Things That Are Important 145

Give: Offer Resources and Ideas That Signal

You Want to Connect and Collaborate 148

Reconnect: Follow Through and Stay

in Touch in Ways That Build Trust 152

7 Communicate Expertise / 157

Strategic Connections: Tell the Story 157

Answering "What Do You Do?" 158

Frequently Asked Questions 165

Why Storytelling Works 170

Frequently Asked Questions 176

8 Create New Value / 179

Strategic Connections: Respond to Marketplace Changes 179

Clarifying Collaboration 181

Acting on the Three Principles 183

Build Trust Online 196

Mentor and Model 200

9 How to Develop and Support

Your Network-Oriented Workplace / 203

And the Word Is . . . 204

The Need for a Network-Oriented Workplace 205

What's Your Organization's Networker Identity? 209

Create Connections 213

Spark Conversation 217

Foster Collaboration 221

Suggested Reading 231

Index 233

About the Authors 239

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