Monday, March 07, 2011

Networking for Introverts

Devora Zack claims that one of the most important airplane flights of her life occurred while she was an MBA student at Cornell and flew to NYC for a job interview.

The whole time, she was sitting next to the Dean of Cornell University and hadn’t recognized him, thus squandering a potentially valuable networking opportunity.

Her lesson?

You never know to whom you are sitting next to on a plane trip.

And that’s why I received a copy of Devora’s new book: Networking for People Who Hate Networking: A Field Guide for Introverts, the Overwhelmed, and the Underconnected

You see, about 7 years ago, I was the one sitting next to Devora on a plane trip from Albany to DC. We struck up a conversation and though I have only seen her once since then, we’ve stayed in touch.

So, perhaps I was the 2nd most important flight of her life? Winking smile

This book isn’t for me at all, but that’s not to say I didn’t find it extremely interesting or valuable.

First off, when I share posts or ideas or teach courses on a Global MicroBrand, I often make the mistake of assuming that people can do things the way I do.


Second, I know there is a demand for this book. As Chris Hagner asked me (and to which I blogged), “do you need to be an extrovert to successfully use social media?”

I answered no, then, and after reading Devora’s book, still answer no.

What makes this book so valuable for people who consider themselves introverts is how Devora (who claims she’s an introvert-though I’m skeptical, but I’ll take her word for it)

  1. gives such useful, relevant, and helpful prescriptive guidance for the introvert to that you can redefine what networking is
  2. helps us all recognize that life is a constant networking opportunity, but not necessarily a networking event, and…
  3. BEST OF ALL, understand how through “networking,” an Introvert can actually leverage his strengths.

For me, the “platinum” rule (which replaces the Golden Rule) was a key insight:

“Don’t treat people how you want to be treated. Treat them how THEY want to be treated.”

Written in a very conversational, frank, and humorous style, I think this book is perfect for people who are paralyzed with fear at the idea of having to go to any type of networking event and for Introverts to see that networking is not a four-letter word.

If you know an Introvert who struggles with networking, this would be a good gift for them as well.


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