Author: Diane Darling
Reviewer: Goke Ilesanmi
Networking is very important in whatever we do. Whether you want to get sales leads, find a new job, have new friends, enhance your career or get referrals, networking is one of your success tools.
Diane Darling, the author of this text entitled “The Networking Survival Guide” is the founder and chief executive officer of Effective Networking, Inc., a Boston-based company that educates people on how to network.
Darling says this text is here to help you build your networking skills, gain confidence in your networking abilities and make good things happen in your business, career and life. She stresses that whether you are planning a career change, raising funds for a new business venture, adding to your client base, or simply expanding your business and personal contacts, you will learn how to make networking your most direct path to success.
The text is divided into 18 chapters. Chapter one constitutes the introduction. Here, this author says networking is the art of building and sustaining mutually-beneficial relationships. According to her, from your first conversation in the morning until your last conversation at night, you are networking. In Darling’s words, “Many people don’t realise they are networking when that is exactly what they are doing. If you have lunch with someone a few times a year to stay in touch, that’s networking.”
The author says you need other people in your life and they need you too. “It is unrealistic and impractical to do everything by yourself. You need others to help you get things done, both in business and personally,” she expatiates.
This author explains that some of the reasons why people network are business development or sales; raising business capital; getting a job, assistance with career management, or a job transition, etc.
According to Darling, this book is written from the business perspective, rather than the social or personal. She says most of the examples will involve business professionals seeking to expand their network. Darling adds that these principles can also be applied to those who are seeking to network for any of the other reasons.
“For example, you want to start a business and need working capital. You want to network to people who can help you. Or if you are job hunting, you want to expand your network to learn about companies and where you can make a contribution,” educates the author.
Chapter two is based on the subject matter of what networking is and what it is not. Darling says creating a new network in an unfamiliar community can be taxing. According to her, networking is sometimes confused with schmoozing.
She explains that schmoozing has the connotation that you are getting something from someone with no benefit to the other person. Darling says it is a take situation, adding that going back to the dictionary, there are several definitions of schmoozing and it is about conversation.
In her words, “There is also a definition, ‘to gain an advantage or make a social connection’. That’s how most people feel when someone is schmoozing them. It’s also why many of us don’t like to go to networking events. We don’t want to be part of that group. Those people often come across as social climbers.”
In chapters three to nine, Darling discusses concepts such as getting started to create a plan; preparing for networking; networking accessories; body language, voice and words; conversations; places to network and best practices.
Chapter ten is based on the thematic focus of best practices when it is face to face. Here, this author says from walking in the door to walking out, this chapter provides step-by-step guide to successfully navigate a networking event. According to Darling, wear something that makes you feel confident and will make it easier for someone to describe you.
“Men can wear a tie with a nice design, and women can wear a suit in a colour other than navy, brown, or black. Before you head to an event, conference, or meeting, you need to pack your Networking Survival Kit. The purpose is to have everything you need for networking in one place. When you head out the door, you can grab the kit and everything is stocked and ready to go,” guides this author.
In chapters 11 to 17, Darling analytically X-rays concepts such as follow-up techniques; best practices when not face to face; how to maintain and grow your network; ethics; what to do if you do not feel like networking; gender, race, culture and other networking factors; and evil network.
Chapter 18, the last chapter of this text, constitutes the summary of the text. This chapter contains resource guide; notes; bibliography and index.
The contents of this text are rich and reflect deep research. As regards style, this text is outstanding. The language maintains appreciable simplicity. Darling makes abundant use of graphical embroidery to visually reinforce the understanding of readers.
This author also includes a summary section in every chapter to achieve recapitulation and enhance readers’ understanding. He uses classical/literary allusions for conceptual amplification and to broaden readers’ mind.
However, in terms of positioning, chapter 12 should have come to chapter 11 for proximity of contrast with chapter ten or to achieve immediate conceptual counterbalance.
In a nutshell, this text is highly recommended to those who want to enhance their business, career, etc., through effective networking skills. It is intellectually illuminating.
GOKE ILESANMI (FIIM, FIMC, CMC), CEO of Gokmar Communication Consulting, is an International Platinum Columnist, Professional Public Speaker, Career Mgt Coach and Certified Mgt Consultant. He is also a Book Reviewer, Biographer and Editorial Consultant.
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