Book Review – Successful Networking In 7 Simple Steps By Clare Dignall

7 stepsSuccessful Networking In 7 Simple Steps by Clare Dignall is a straightforward book that does exactly what its title says. In 7 short chapters it presents some key information about how to improve our network capabilities. The book has just 144 pages so you won’t get bored with unnecessary content. It is also a very structured book. Each chapter opens with a quote, five ways to succeed and five ways to fail in relation to the topic being discussed. Each chapter of the book is labelled as one of the seven steps and ends with a summary table for you to write down what you will take away from the chapter. Following is a brief description of each step.

Step 1 – Creating networking opportunities
What is my purpose for networking? What is my existing network and how do I exploit them? How do I create new networks? These are questions answered in this chapter. You will also learn about getting ready for networking events, how to plan your networking and how to avoid hiccups on the day (of the networking event).

Step 2 – Network effectively online
This is a chapter really useful for current times. It answers the key question of how to network effectively online. It starts out defining what online networking is and then deals with how to make social media work. It also includes lessons on building an online brand, social media etiquette and social media law.

Step 3 – Secure an invitation
What do you when you get invitations to networking events? Prioritising, researching and getting advance information are some of the tips given to answer the question. Dressing appropriately, meeting and greeting people and how to deal with networking nerves are also discussed.

Step 4 – Be the best conversationalist
This is my favourite out of the seven steps. It starts out with a ten-question quiz related to active listening. There are interesting sections on the different types of listeners and using FACE, which is a framework for applying active listening. You will also learn about getting to know people, voice, vocabulary and body language.

Step 5 – Survive difficult moments
How do you deal with challenging moments during networking such as spilling food or drink on someone, being late or forgetting your business cards is discussed. You will also learn about:

  • How to handle difficult conversations
  • Using conversation icebreakers appropriately
  • Cultural etiquettes do and don’ts

Step 6 – Work the room
Want to learn how to get warmed up for the networking occasion? Then this is the chapter for you. it contains tips on how to walk through the room and getting into and out of conversations. There’s more, what do you do when unexpected things happen? How do you maximize exposure at seated events? What about introducing someone else? These questions are answered. The chapter ends reminding us that the end of a networking event is just the start because, we don’t attend networking events to close deals, so we have to be in contact with people after the event, neither will every contact at the event become valuable.

Step 7 – Follow up on leads
This last chapter focuses on a very important aspect of networking that often gets lost; what to do in order to continue the connection after the events. Taking actions such as swapping business cards, using handwritten notes, recording information while it’s fresh and creating a follow up plan are discussed. You will also learn about how to ask for introductions, nurturing your network and also managing your network by deciding who to promote, demote and let go.

This is a very informative book about networking and I do recommend it. It’s easy to read, action oriented and has lots of tips to make you a better networker. After reading it you will feel better prepared for the world of networking.

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