Networking for People Who Hate Networking

Devora Zack, “Networking for People Who Hate Networking: A Field Guide for Introverts, the Overwhelmed, and the Underconnected”


The book dismantles stereotypes about the people who hate networking. It’s not that they are shy or unsociable. It’s just that they tend to focus on a few things rather than broadly on everything. That’s why they have decided that networking, with all its small talk, is not for them. Well, this is where they are wrong. If you are one of these people, in the book you will find a lot of advice and methods of “nontypical networking”, the one that can be fully used by introverts. And these methods can be practiced in all kinds of situations, not just special networking events. After all, according to the author’s shrewd remark, life is just one big networking opportunity.

Top 10 lessons from this book:

1. Be loyal to yourself.

Don’t cheat on yourself for the sake of “rules of effective networking”. If you’re a better listener than a speaker – listen. If you’re more comfortable with one-on-one conversations than talking to a whole group of people, then talk in private. Make your “weaknesses” your strengths.

2. Better fewer, but better.

Be selective. It’s better to visit fewer events with more interest and pleasure than to get exhausted from attending every possible meeting.

3. Plan your first impression.

You will not get a second chance to make the first impression. Therefore, always bring “the best version of yourself” to an event because you never know who you will meet there.

4. Volunteer.

If you don’t like networking events because you don’t know what to talk about with strangers, show your value “on the ground”. Offer help. Lend someone a pen or help them pour some coffee. Thus you will gain the image of someone irreplaceable.

5. Come to an event in advance.

It’s better to enter the room when there are fewer people. It makes networking more comfortable and cozier. And most likely the people who will arrive after you will be the first to start a conversation with you.

6. Bring a friend or a colleague.

First, it’s less scary when you are together. Second, mutual support will help both of you achieve your networking goals faster and easier.

7. Set achievable goals.

Talk to 2 or 3 people” instead of “meet 20 company CEOs”. The more attainable your goal is, the more probable its accomplishment.

8. Be a good listener.

People love talking about themselves and that’s a fact. By listening to them carefully and showing your genuine interest, you will produce a better impression than by talking about yourself.

9. Write down the results of your connection.

Don’t count only on your memory. You can make a few notes right on the name card of your new connection: the event at which you’ve met, personal information (family, hobbies, etc.), the summary of your meeting and how you plan to develop your connection.

10. Don’t forget to get in touch with your new connection within 48 hours.

Call or send a message to this person within the first 2 days after the meeting, or he or she will forget about you. Remember: networking without a followup is not networking.

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