Networking: Always best to do it well
Review of: A Progress Agent's Guide to Cracking the Networking Code:
4 Steps to Priceless Business Relationships
By: Dean Lindsay
World Gumbo Publishing, 2005, 145 pages
Review by: Jason Hayes, M.E.Des., Communications Director, American Coal Council
Originally web-published: Sat, 2009-04-04 22:49
I've got a headache ... I'm too tired ... bad hair day ... no one will want to talk to me ... I made a fool of myself last time ... the floor's crooked ... Jupiter isn't in Venus' house ... Ever had anything like that run through your head as you walked into a conference and thought of networking?
Ever thought that you had the whole networking thing wired and that you owned the room as you handed out business cards left and right?
Ever recognized that you needed to network, but weren't sure if there was more to it than than “1) smile, 2) firm hand shake, 3) name tag on the right lapel?”
Ever wondered if networking had something more to it than being that pushy, obnoxious guy who drones on and on and on about his life, dreams, and business prospects?
Well, guess what. You aren't alone.
But never fear; in “Cracking the Networking Code,” Dean Lindsay has given you the low down on networking. It isn't as easy as flipping a switch or brushing your teeth; you will have to work at it a bit. But, it is easier than writing a thesis or giving a presentation to a large group – and many of you have already done one or both of those. So, what are you waiting for?
You too can learn to Crack the Networking Code.
First things first, Dean's style of writing is quick, fluid, and to the point. No showy grandstanding, or unintelligible words (unless they're defined right there, in the book) that make it a tough slog to get through. Dean offers up straightforward information and loads of personal anecdotes to help you become more effective at networking.
Given its length and Dean's writing style, you can easily read through the book in one or two short sittings. But don't let it's size or brevity hold you back. Dean has packed a lot of useful information, helpful how to's, and simple instructions into his pages, so the book will serve most people as a useful reference long after they've finished reading it.
Dean's work is also refreshing in that he's not pretending like he's unearthed some never-before-seen treasure. He admits that a lot of his advice is common sense. But he also asks, how many of us take common sense to the next level of making it “common practice?”
In “Cracking the Networking Code” Dean provides a simple, but effective, framework for an essentail business activity. There's no getting around it, almost everybody has to develop business relationships as part of their employment. One of the most effective means of doing that is developing a large network of colleagues on whom you can rely for information, advice, helpful hints, (and let's admit it) personal advancement. Dean makes it clear, however, that effective networking can't happen if you're only in it for yourself. He demonstrates that there has to be give before there's any expectation of take in the relationship. Dean explains that networking is an essential part of getting to know people, connecting with them, helping them to progress in their lives, and having them want the same for you.
As one might expect from a motivational speaker, Dean has a firm grasp of acronyms and alliteration and he uses them to good effect in this book. The title of the book is just one example.
The “CODE” in networking code stands for,
C: Creating Personal Curb Appeal – feeling and acting like a success as well as demonstrating a serious desire to help others.
O: Open Face-to-Face Relationships – knowing your networking options and then putting them into practice.
D: Deliver Solid First Impressions – all about making a first impression a good impression.
E: Earn Trust – following up and keeping in touch. You earn someone's trust by showing them you're interested in helping them progress.
Dean elaborates on each of those throughout the book and also explains other key concepts like his trademarked "6 Ps of Progress" and why progress is more important than change. But, I'm not going to go through all of his lists and ideas now; I don't want to steal Dean's thunder in this review. You'll need to dig into “Cracking the Networking CODE” yourself to see what other hints and guides Dean offers.
Cracking the Networking Code is one of those books that everyone who wants to be effective in business networking will want to read and have on their shelf.