That’s why it’s time to reclaim networking. It doesn’t have to be the province of users and takers; instead, as Forbes and Harvard Business Review contributor Dorie Clark makes clear in this short and actionable guide, networking done right is nothing like the stereotype. It’s not about making shallow, insincere connections and filling your wallet with business cards. Instead, the real goal is to turn brief encounters into mutually-beneficial and lasting friendships—in both your personal and professional life.
Drawing on wisdom from her own experience and from experts like psychologist Robert Cialdini, marketer Michael Katz, and authors Judy Robinett and Keith Ferrazzi, Clark provides valuable insight on how to be a good networker, including concrete tips on how to:
- Turn initial small talk into meaningful exchanges
- Unlock the power of social media as a networking tool
- Transform casual online contacts into real-world connections
- Make the most of conferences
- Set a schedule for keeping in regular touch with your network
- Repair and strengthen troubled relationships
- Create your own events and become a connector
Whether you’re an introvert or extrovert, and whether you currently relish or loathe making new connections, Clark will teach you the strategies you need to make networking fun, joyful, and enriching.
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About the Author
Read an Excerpt
You make hard choices every day. With your in-box overflowing, who do you say yes to? Which networking coffees, or dinner invitations, or informational interviews do you choose? Who are you willing to introduce to potential clients, or hiring managers? Who will you extend yourself for?
I’m willing to bet it’s almost never a stranger.
In a world where so many people are clamoring for our attention, we prioritize our friends, our trusted colleagues, and the people they refer to us.
It was less than two months to my book launch, and I was stretched thin, turning down almost every nonessential obligation. But when my friend Robin asked if I’d meet with her mentee, I said yes—because it was Robin asking. When my friend Issamar wanted an introduction to a magazine editor, I made it happen, even though it meant taking the time to comb through his submission and offer feedback to ensure his pitch fit the publication. And when my friend Peter had a book published, I preordered a copy, wrote an Amazon review, and invited him to a dinner where he connected with a prominent podcaster. That’s what you do for your network, and what a robust network can do for you.
You may notice, too, that I referred to everyone as my friend. That doesn’t mean we hang out all the time, or that we’ve known each other for decades. But it does mean that I genuinely like and respect them, and value them as people, not as job titles or for the transactional benefits of what they can get me. For me, networking is one of the great joys in my life, because it allows me to meet the best and most interesting people I know.
But for many professionals, it’s a distressing prospect. Some are overwhelmed at the work it requires. Introverts fear the social time they must invest. Still others dislike even the word “networking.” It’s too sullied, they say—redolent of sleazy operators and Machiavellian maneuverings. As Harvard Business School professor Francesca Gino and her colleagues describe, networking can even make people feel dirty.
The networking that she studied was “networking with the goal of advancement”—that is, networking because you want something from someone. It’s no sin to network because you’d like to meet potential clients or grow your business; in fact, that’s often the only way to do it. But the “instrumental” view that some hold—seeing people as a means to an end—is damaging. This distorted image stops the best people from networking, because they don’t want to treat others that way, and it encourages the worst to act in an obnoxious manner because they think that’s what they’re supposed to be doing.
This book advances a very different view of networking—that the real goal, whether you’re meeting at a conference or online, is to turn a brief encounter into a real, long-lasting, and mutually beneficial relationship. You can’t swap business cards at a cattle-call function and book a multimillion-dollar contract a few days later. For any meaningful business transaction, trust—built up over time—is the essential ingredient. It’s premature and distasteful to focus on the end goal of wresting dollars from someone. Instead, with networking, the journey is the destination.