July 18, 2012 1 Comment
You may not have notice but summer is here! Well in Belgium, summer was here, between June 27th and June 28th. After the closing seminar I had a look at the list of interesting books mentionned during the different classes and told myself that I will read them all during this summer! So let’s start with the first one: Let’s Connect!: A Practical Guide for Highly Effective Professional Networking from Jan Vermeiren.
Jan Vermeiren is a networking coach. He wrote several books on networking. He was also invited by Vlerick to talk at the closing seminar mentioned above. I am not sure we (MBA students) were the right audience for him, mainly because we already all have a LinkedIn account (and approximately know how to use it) and we already know how to party and network (that was also how Vlerick was selling this Part-Time MBA). However if you listened carefully to his talk, you aleady know more or less the content of this book.
The book is divided in 7 chapters, going from the basics of networking (say hello, thank you and bye – I exagerate a little bit, sorry) to how to network during events and online. I found the beginning of the book very slow, with long explanations about SMART objectives, the 6 degrees of separation (cleverly renamed “proximity”), the taker/giver mentality, the Golden Triangle of Networking, etc. Then the book brings you through your networking profile, the networking mindset to have at events, the point-and-click details of Plaxo/LinkedIn toolbars in Outlook and ends with how to stay in touch with you network.
Stated like that it seems I didn’t like the book. In fact I realized that I had wrong expectations. I though I would learn how to leverage the network and connections I already have. I read some interesting tips and tricks about this. But the book mainly goes about actually how to make these connections and how to build your network – making the assumption networking is completely new to you.
Don’t get me wrong: this book has some value and give some valuable advices (even if they seem obvious to some/many of us). If you are an introvert you’ll find potentially interesting advices on how to “break the ice” at meetings for instance. If you are an extrovert you’ll learn how not to “hard sell” everything and anything.
Just don’t read this book from beginning to the end: read random parts of it when you have 5-10 minutes to kill and you’ll remember (and maybe learn) some advices on networking.
Jan Vermeiren’s website also offers a free e-book in PDF on “How to REALLY use LinkedIn” (there is a registration form but you are allowed to fill in anything as long as the last string looks like an e-mail address). Many elements from the book are also in this e-book (or vice-versa). This e-book is a bit like a user manual for LinkedIn for power users mixed with some Q&A. Again I think LinkedIn users will benefit from the book by reading random parts from time to time and not necessarily from page 1 to 233.
In conclusion, this is a good book if you start networking (and still a interesting reminder if you are already networking).