by Rick Frishman & Jill Lublin
Today, we are beginning to see a resurgence in networking. In many ways it seems so ‘old school’ to folks. After all, we have the internet now, job boards, email, social networking, blogs, and a billion other ways to avoid talking with one another directly. So why should we do what our ‘Dad’ did, picking up a phone, or UGH, getting in the car and driving to meet with people at some drab event?
The reality is that people, in my opinion, are slowly starting to realize that nothing can trump an established personal relationship with another person. In times of need, who are you going to count on more? The g’zillion Twitter followers you have? Or, Sue, who you’ve come to know at the local coffee shop? The internet is indeed a productivity multiplier for the networker, the likes of which we’ve never seen before. But even so, again, in my opinion, it represents but one facet of how we should develop our networks.
Like so many things, once something becomes important to you (e.g. networking) you start to, some pun intended<g>, ‘magically’ discover things that would’ve been invisible before. So, it was in the interest of learning more about networking that led me to find Networking Magic. Indeed, in the interest of ‘networking,’ I found it entertaining to find I personally knew one of the authors’ many contributors. My, it is a small world after all…
Networking Magic, published in 2004, remains fairly current. The only area it tends to show it’s age is when discussing the internet. References to ‘300 million’ people actively using the internet, discussion groups, and the lack of social networking are specific examples. At it’s core, the discussion of how to network is largely independent of the mediums used (e.g. phone, email, in-person, social networks, etc.). So the book’s value remains intact.
An aside, I do find it interesting just how easily some material can date itself. Some books, like others in my reading list, were written decades in the past. Yet, they seem as though they were finished just yesterday.
Some networking books take an academic, life experience, or ‘what you should know,’ approach to covering the topic. In Networking Magic, Rick & Jill take a practitioners approach. They identify nearly a dozen specific networking topics, such as setting your priorities, evaluating networking groups, and hosting dinner events. Each of these key topics are discussed in depth, specific real life examples are given by their contributors, and closing discussions on how they can work for you.
I particularly appreciated the practitioner approach in this book. It seemed to flow in the truest of networking forms: the authors seem to genuinely want to help the reader. After all, networking is about relationships, about giving without expecting to receive, and it was nice to read a book that seemed to ‘walk’ it’s own talk, per se.
My recommendation: If you’re new to networking, this is a good book to help you learn the bases. It is not constrained to the beginning networker though. I consider myself somewhere in-the-middle if you will and found it offered good refreshers, some new ideas, and helped pull things together nicely. Even if you’re a master networker, the book is useful not only in ideas you might not already have, but in the list of sources they cite.