The art of networking is something that readers ask me about all the time. Usually, the question comes in the form of “how do I network to find a job?” That’s just one aspect of networking. In this article, you will find a wealth of material to aid you in building networking skills.
Get started with these networking books. I have read (or I’m working through!) all of these titles and have learned from all of them.
1. Networking With the Affluent by Thomas Stanley
After seeing this book recommended by several authors, I started to read it. It is excellent even though it was published in the 1990s. The book is directed at sales and marketing professionals yet it can be used by others if you apply some imagination. This book’s unique insight is to propose ways to add value to your network. One example – enhance revenue! Before trying to sell someone, first provide introductions to customers for them. What an excellent idea.
2. Never Eat Alone, Expanded and Updated: And Other Secrets to Success, One Relationship at a Time by Keith Ferrazzi and Tahl Raz
If you are only willing to read one book on networking, it has to be this book. Informed by Ferrazi’s experience at Deloitte, Starwood Hotels and other research, there is much to be learned here. A great insight from the book is to develop a relationship action plan in order to meet your goals. I have read the book in print and listened to it twice via Audible.com. It’s that good.
3. Who’s Got Your Back: The Breakthrough Program to Build Deep, Trusting Relationships That Create Success–and Won’t Let You Fail by Keith Ferrazi
Do you have a small group of friends who can give you advice, support and accountability? That’s the central premise of this book. The book goes into practical suggestions on how to organize such a group and make it work effectively. After you start to master the basics of networking, “Who’s Got Your Back” will take you to the next level.
4. Little Black Book of Connections: 6.5 Assets for Networking Your Way to Rich Relationships by Jeffrey Gitomer
Aimed at sales professionals, this short book is a fun approach to networking. There are lists, bullet points and other devices to make the book for easy reading. If you are looking for a quick introduction to networking, this is helpful. If you are not involved in sales, you will have more work to translate this book to your context.
5. How to Work a Room, 25th Anniversary Edition: The Ultimate Guide to Making Lasting Connections–In Person and Online by Susan RoAne
I discovered this book a few months ago when the author appeared on a podcast interview. What a great find. Making connections in person at events is one of the best ways to build your network. This book is filled with encouragement and great tips. You will find tips on questions to ask, conversation ideas and examples showing the power of events.
Networking Articles: Scripts, Cold Emails and Success Stories
Use the following articles to address specific networking problems. In some cases, all you need is a script. These resources will point you in the right direction.
6. All You Need to Know About High Level Networking: An Interview With Geoff Woods
Published earlier this year, Geoff Woods has reinvented his career from medical device sales to entrepreneurship. How? He changed his peer group, he went to the right conferences and started a podcast. What’s the key lesson I learned from him? Check out the answer to question 5.
7. Ramit’s definitive guide to building your network (with scripts)
Author of “I Will Teach You To Be Rich,” Ramit Sethi offers actual scripts you can use in networking. Not sure what to write in an email to that impressive person? Start with these scripts. A key insight from this material? If you receive a piece of advice from a mentor or VIP, put it into action! Then send the person a follow up message describing your experience. That’s what Ramit calls “closing the loop.” Michael Ellsberg advocates for a similar practice in his book “The Education of Millionaires.”
8. 6 Steps to Writing Great Cold Emails
Cold calls have a bad reputation. Are “cold emails” any better? It all depends on your approach including your research and how much you think about the other person. In this article, entrepreneur Noah Kagan describes a cold email that he received that worked on him. Key insight here: “make it easy to say yes.” Ask a simple question or make a basic request – that’s how you start the connection.
9. How to Get Busy Influencers to Share Your Stuff
Some people are more influential than others. That’s why so many authors used to work hard to get onto Oprah’s TV show. Getting an endorsement from one influential person is a powerful way to advance your career or your company. How do you actually do that? In this article, author Tim Ferriss deconstructs a successful email pitch he received. Similar to the Noah Kagan article above, a key practice is to make it easy. If you want people to write a Tweet about you? Provide example Tweets to them so they can copy and paste. The article includes links to other helpful resources.
10. How I Hustled to Get the Perfect Job: From Tradecraft to Zumper
I read this article a few weeks ago and WOW. Ina Herlihy has dedication and gives you the details on how her job hunt. What’s her secret? Keep trying! Want to work at a company? Ask multiple people! Go to an event where you will see people from the company. Ina Herlihy also invested in herself by participating in an educational program called Tradecraft. Even if you’re not in Silicon Valley (I’m not), there is plenty of insight and inspiration to be drawn from this article.
11. Why You Need to Take 50 Coffee Meetings
When I interviewed Donald Asher last year, he encouraged readers to “take the call and take the meeting.” That’s an important attitude if you want to win in networking. In this article, Mark Suster shares his experience on networking broadly. Mark Suster has built several successful companies so there is much we can learn from him.
- The math on this approach is compelling. My standard order at Starbucks – a tall medium – comes to $2 in Canada. If I implemented this strategy, the cost would be around $200 per year (assuming I pay for the other person and they have a similar order). That’s an incredible value to be earned on a small investment.
12. How Do You Get a Job Doing Marketing for a Start up?
Many people will tell you that applying to a job posting is one of the most difficult ways to get a great job. So what should you do instead? Brandon Croke offers his perspective on breaking into marketing. There is great tactical advice here such as the importance of learning high demand skills like copywriting. How Brandon Croke add to the conversation? He points out there is a big difference between a marketer who says “I can write write” and one who states “My copy delivers results because of this revenue (or this analytics data).
13. 4 Things Networking Can Help You Do (Besides Get a Job)
Many people think the only purpose of networking is to find jobs. That’s just not true. Lily Zhang shows four our “use cases” where it makes sense to network. For example, gathering intelligence on an industry (I would add that it makes sense to start with some reading of your own first so that you can ask good questions) and learning from mistakes others have made. Want more examples? Click through and read the article.
14. 5 Email Templates That Make Following Up With Anyone Way Less Awkward
Staying in touch with your network matters. Just think of how many people you met at events last year – how many of them are you still in touch with today? This article includes scripts that you copy and paste into your email service.
15. 7 Networking Mistakes Even Harvard MBAs Make
Learning what NOT to do is also helpful. Joel Comm’s advice includes going to events (online networking helps but it is not the whole game).
Networking Podcasts, Videos & Courses
I love to read and make it a daily practice. What if you prefer to learn from other types of media? I’ve got you covered with this section.
16. How to Connect with Powerful and Influential People
In this video, author Michael Ellsberg explains his approach to connecting with people. He brings a member of the audience on stage to demonstrate his approach. For more on Ellsberg’s approach, read his book “The Education of Millionaires.”
17. Susan Cain: Networking For Introverts
Most of the time, I see myself as an introvert (i.e. I recharge through alone time). If you see yourself as introvert, the benefits of networking are still available to you. In this interview, author Susan Cain offers advice for introverts seeking to connect.
18. How to Build a World-Class Network in Record Time
In this episode of the Tim Ferriss show, you will learn about Tim’s approach to networking. Before he became an entrepreneur and best selling author, Ferriss built his networks by volunteering at associations, focused networking at conferences and other means. This resource is most helpful to those seeking to maximize the value of participating in a conference.
19. Staying In Touch – Examples
An excellent Manager Tools podcast that provides templates you can use to stay in touch. Meeting new people is important. Yet, the “fortune is in the follow up.” Use this resource to maintain and grow your relationships.
20. How To Use The Holidays As A Networking Opportunity
In this Fast Company article, you will learn the mindset and tactics needed to achieve success during the holidays. I’m writing this entry right before the Canada Day holiday so the topic is on my mind. A key insight from the article: “Ever look at a business card and think, “How the heck do I know him?”.. Consider doing what [Dorie] Clark does: “Don’t forget to write identifying notes on the back of people’s business cards, or enter their information into your database as soon as possible,” she suggests. “Because if you leave it until the new year, you’re likely to forget who was who.”
21. Your #1 Relationship Building Strategy
In this episode of the Mentee Podcast, Geoff Woods shares his strategy for conferences. Based on Geoff’s teaching, I have made two key changes in my approach to events and conferences. I aim to sit near the front and I work to ask a good question. How? I have a notebook with me during the presentation and write down a few possible questions. By being one of the few people to ask a question to the presenter, everyone in the room notices you and you have the opportunity to connect with the speaker after the session.
22. Productive Networking Dinners with Dorie Clark
Serving as the host of an event is one of the best ways to build your network of relationships. How do you put that idea into action? Listen to this podcast where author and consultant Dorie Clark shares her approach to networking dinners. Read “Mastermind Dinners: Build Lifelong Relationships by Connecting Experts, Influencers, and Linchpins” by Jayson Gaignard for additional insight including step by step directions if you are interested in pursuing this strategy.
23. How to Build a Millionaire’s Network with Keith Ferrazzi
Another resource with Keith Ferrazi? Yes! I’m enthused about sharing his material with readers because he has achieved outstanding results in networking in several industries. The podcast has some great material on developing relationships with mentors.
24. How To Grow Your Business With Associations: 5 Benefits You Need To Know
I wrote this article last year to promote the value of associations. Taking an active role in associations, often through writing and serving as a volunteer, is one the best networking strategies. The best point of leverage is to become a leader in the association. Becoming a leader often takes time yet it is worth it.
25. A Complete Guide to Building Your Network by Keith Ferrazzi
In this Udemy video course, Keith presents short video lessons on various aspects of networking. Much of the material is based on “Never Eat Alone.” Is it worth it to buy the course if you have the book? I would say yes for two reasons. First, you may find video easier to use than books. Second, the course includes files and templates that assist you in networking activities.
The right tool for the job makes a major difference. Use these tools to support your networking efforts.
An essential resource that needs to be part of your toolkit. Here are two tips to get you started: add a professional head shot to your profile and participate in groups related to your interests. There is much more to be said on LinkedIn as a career research tool. Perhaps I will do another article exploring LinkedIn in greater depth.
Conferences are excellent network events yet they have some drawbacks. Travel costs alone make conferences difficult for many people. What’s the alternative if you are interested in live events? Meetup.com is a helpful service that I have used over the past few years. If your first experience at a given Meetup disappoints, suspend your judgement until you have attended two or three more events. In my experience, technology related interests are well represented on Meetup. If you are interested in technology or entrepreneurship, Meetup is likely to be a great resource for you.
28. Use Cards & Stamps
Buy blank cards and stamps! Use them to send thank you notes. Or postcards. In a digital world, sending a traditional letter is one way to stand out. That said, the possibility of a Canada Post strike in 2016 does pose challenges. That’s why the “tools” section of this article has multiple tools.
At a certain point, you may realize that managing your network is difficult or overwhelming. In that case, consider using a “CRM” (customer relationship management) tool to keep track. I have not used this resource myself but it does come recommended by networking expert John Corcoran.
Relationships take time to develop. You may want to meet for coffee tomorrow but your friend is busy. Will you remember to stay in touch? This tool helps to solve that problem.