Book Review: The Financial Times Guide to Business Networking

How to exploit the combined power of online and offline networking  for business success is what this book is all about.

It has four parts.
Part 1 : The Joined Up Approach to Business Networking – what networking is and what isn’t; the four ingredients for success of   joined up networking; behaviors and attitudes that define the great networkers.
Part 2: Online and Face-to-Face Networking Options Explored – different types of networking options, their pros and cons and maximizing the networking effectiveness in each of these options; where and when to use these options; how to use blogs to increasing your networking impact.
Part 3: Essential Networking Skills for the Joined Up Networker – making a great first impression; effectively working a room; creating a connection and starting a positive relationship; turning your network into your own online community; networking across cultural barrier.
Part 4: Putting Your Joined Up Approach to Networking into Action – setting networking goals; measuring progress of networking activities; deciding who you need to recruit into your network; making the most of the time and resources available for networking.
Each of the sixteen chapters in this book has exercises for practicing what one has learned and links and references to further resources.

I am not a great fan of “How to”  books.  But since this book has been published as a part of  Financial Times Guides series my expectation was it will better than most the run-of-the-mill guidebooks. Well it was, but only a shade better.

The book is well structured (though somewhat repetitive) and well written, however it did not provide me any new insight into the art and science of networking.

Most of the concepts and techniques discussed in the book are common sense which most of the experienced professionals will be aware of. Whether they apply them or not, is a different story ! This book does not really make a strong enough business case for such professionals to motivate them to network better.

But I found a couple of concepts  interesting  and well presented viz; Measuring the Opportunity Score; Sorting your contact list into A-Listers, B-Listers and C-Listers ; Think, Feel, Know styles of responses from people.

While there is nothing much in this book for an experienced professional , it may serve as a good introduction to business networking for those who are beginning their career.

Publication Details:
Author : Heather Townsend ; Published:2011; Publisher: Pearson Education Ltd. ; Paperback: 224 pages.

Some Takeaways:

    • Opportunity =  Credibility X (Personal Brand + Visibility + Social Capital)
    • Classify your contacts into following three categories :
      • A-listers: contacts well connected to your target market and likely to help you immediately achieve your business or career goals.
      • B-listers: contacts you enjoyed meeting but unlikely to immediately help you  achieve your business or career goals.
      • C-listers: contacts you met but are very unlikely to help you achieve your business or career goals.
    • Focus on building relationships with A-Listers; Stay in touch with B-Listers;
    • People generally send three types of signals on how they preferred to be communicated with:
      • Think -  factual, methodical, logical
      • Feel -  empathetic, sensitive, communication through stories
      • Know – Instinctive, quick decisions


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