Whilst this is not a new book, it is certainly one to read if you are interested in improving the effectiveness of your networking.
Work the Pond is very readable and meets the needs of readers of all ages, careers and industries – the section on the ‘science of networking’ is a book from which everyone can learn something.
For me, this book continues to be one of the books that I pick up repeatedly. I think that anyone can pick up this book, go through it and feel they have learned something from it – even long time networkers like me!
I like Work The Pond! because it is full of practical, little reminders of what we should all be doing everyday to keep our network robust and fresh and useful.
The authors, Rezac, Thomson and Hallgren-Rezac, describe seven simple steps of networking that anyone can start applying immediately.
Seven Simple Steps of Networking:
N: Never leave home without one’s business cards
E: Establish, exchange, engage, – simple techniques that really work
T: Travel in pairs – how to have more fun networking (although I prefer to go alone)
W: “Work the pond” – practice Positive Networking and use time wisely
O: Opportunity is everywhere – discover “small-world” connections
R: Repeat, repeat, repeat – the more networking one does, the better one gets
K: Keep it going – the art of follow-up and relationship-building
Some of the maxims that I try hard to embrace include:
Maxim 1: “Discovering what you can do for someone else is the secret of positive networking”
This paradigm shift in thinking has given me a boost of confidence in networking events. I am more proactive in initiating conversations with the purpose of discovering how I can help someone.
Maxim 2: “Have a minimum of seven cards with you at all times. You can never carry too many cards, only too few.”
Pass your business card out to seven individuals each week and you will meet 28 new people in one month. In four months that is 112 new people that you have connected with. Keep in mind while networking the six degrees of separation and its power to connect all six billion people on the planet with fewer than six handshakes.
A WORD OF CAUTION: The only thing I urge you to do differently from this advice is to select the people with whom you want to network carefully. If there aren’t seven suitable network contacts beware of just trying to hit your quota just for the sake of it!
Maxim 3: “Establish, Extend, Exchange and Engage.”
Establish eye contact and smile, be the first to extend your hand of friendship, be the catalyst; be the first to give out a card and make sure you get one in return, and engage in conversation – it doesn’t matter if you start with the weather, your story, what you do or a comment about the event – just smile and engage!
Maxim 4: “Opportunities to expand your network are everywhere. Recognise them, maximize them or create your own.”
You don’t have to attend formal networking events to network. You can do it anywhere – at school, in the supermarket, anywhere you might meet contacts who might need what you can provide. I recently networked with a stall holder at a craft fayre and introduced Simon, the owner of the business to the GrowthAccelerator – I didn’t directly benefit, but it felt great and showed Simon the value of networking.
By keeping the seven networking steps in mind, when I am at a networking event, I aim to give my business cards to seven people from differing professional backgrounds. It is like a domino effect because as soon as I start to give out my card, others follow suit and start to give out theirs.
Maxim 5: “To be a good networker, you need to be good at follow-up. Following-up is all about discovering what you can do for someone else, and doing. That’s how you develop and form relationships.”
The is called “Work the Pond” and so that’s what I do. Since I first read the book, I try to find time most weeks to go to one event and pass out my business card – I think being nosey and interested in finding out what other people do helps me enormously – so be curious!
Will the book work for you? You will not know unless you get it, read it and try it!