I have just finished reading Neil Munz-Jones’ excellent book The Reluctant Networker which is very readable and packed with good advice and helpful anecdotes. I highly recommend this book.
I am without doubt a Reluctant Networker.
Even though my current career choice as an interim manager depends heavily on networking for winning work, I show 2 traits which Neil highlights – firstly, I am poor at maintaining my networking whilst on an assignment and I have to ramp it up at the end of a contract; secondly, I am reluctant to use the phone preferring email for making contact followed by face-to-face meetings.
Having completed the book, I have resolved (once again) to retain a focus on networking whether on assignment or looking for the next one and I will relife an old target of one call per day. I also recognise that during calls, I need to be more proactive in sharing what I am working on and what I am learning. I also need to build a habit of asking how I might help the person to whom I am speaking.
I have already looked at the categories of people with whom I look to network. Neil proposes 4 groups – decision-makers, good networkers, business friends and former colleagues. I have always had a category of decision-makers – those with a need and a budget. These are the ideal targets for new work.
I have retained a category of those who give a route to decision-makers – agencies / providers and also those who work less formally by passing on opportunities which they find. This latter group is especially important as I am finding that my number of decision-makers is falling.
Neil describes how people with whom we network open up their networks to us. He highlights that good networkers not only do this but they themselves are good role models from whom we can learn. Based on this advice, I have segregated out those from whom I can learn about networking and who are naturally willing to introduce me to the people they know. A further target for me is to continue to explore how LinkedIn might help me improve my networking – a subject with which Neil deals very thoroughly.
Hartswood Management Ltd
Removing the roadblocks to delivering real improvement